Photos above © Bill Ivester 2006. Setlist and comment submitted by Michael Stapleton:
An excellent show. A very tight band. The performance was characterized by "restrained intensity." Bruce's voice sounded great, from a clear falsetto on Beautiful Creatures to gravelly on Slow Down Fast. His playing was excellent, as usual.
Julie Wolf's playing and spare vocal harmonies perfectly complemented Bruce's voice and the arrangements. Unfortunately, much of her work--except accordion and keyboard bass--was buried in the mix. Gary Craig made use of his entire kit, plus numerous bells, shakers, and such. Typical of the percussionists who have worked with Bruce, he set a great groove. He did the work of two players throughout. On The End Of All Rivers and Slow Down Fast the band really cooked. Bruce's instrumentals were up to his usual virtuosic standards. The night's best solo work was in Slow Down Fast where Bruce and Julie each took extended freeform breaks. The intensity of these arrangements was balanced by Beautiful Creatures and by Lovers In A Dangerous Time and Dust And Diesel which were taken at a more leisurely pace than on their Stealing Fire incarnations.
Throughout the evening, Bruce let his music and lyrics speak for themselves. There was one notable exception, however. After Lovers In A Dangerous Time, Bruce spoke for a moment about Comair flight 5191, which had crashed on takeoff in Lexington the previous day. All but one of the 50 people on board lost their lives. He noted that Lexington is a small town and that nearly everyone present would be likely to have lost a friend or a loved one in the crash--or at least know someone who had suffered a loss. About those who perished, he said despite their suffering, "They're out of the fight now. It's painful, but you can be grateful." He went on to say that the audience probably didn't come to hear him talk about that, but with some things it's better to acknowledge them than to remain silent.
Photo right from Rachel Richardson, who adds:
Brandon and I headed to Lexington Monday to see Bruce in concert at the
Theatre. The theatre was one of the lavish, olde-world
type, with ornate gilding and pendulous chandeliers. I
love old theatres like this; the walls mutter to
themselves like old women in the park.
Since we arrived two hours early, the theatre was deserted save for some aging hippies buying Bruce tickets off the concession girl who dually served up popcorn and box office sales.
I heard the beginning strains to Open and peeked through a door. What did my wondering eyes behold but Bruce Cockburn, live, scarcely 50 feet away from me.
I shut the door and motioned wildly to Brandon gasping something like “OHMYGODitsBRUCEinthereYES_RIGHT_THERE.”
Bruce’s show, as usual, was rockin’. I had hoped Bruce would speak more of his trip to Iraq but all he said before he played This Is Baghdad was that his first encounter with the third world was in Central America in the 80s and that this song was about a different time and a different place.
After the show Brandon and I skedaddled backstage and I hoped there wouldn’t be an army of Bruce fans already awaiting him. Only myself and some other girl, a brunette clutching a marker and her Life Short Call Now CD jacket, patiently waited in the balmy August heat while the road crew guys tried to pawn off six boxes of Krispy Kreme donuts on us.
After about 45 minutes, Bruce emerged, looking a bit peaked and like he really just wanted to board the bus, have a beer with the crew, and eat a donut. But he stopped to chat and I finally was able to tell him what I couldn't tell him when I met him in 2003 (I was too nervous to sound intelligible!).
“Your music got me through some very difficult times in my life and it has made me more socially-conscious and overall a better person. Thank you.”
Brandon was waiting in the shadows with the camera and snapped our photo. Bruce signed my ticket and said he
was glad I responded to the music as I did. I told him he ought to come to Cincinnati and he said he would like to sometime. Cincinnatians can only hope.
We bid adieu and he turned towards the bus. I exhaled, and with a big, silly grin on my face, linked arms with Brandon and walked to the car.