GENERAL INFORMATIONDATE: 28 March 2008
Submitted by Larry McDowell
After a long night of great music at the Swallow Hill Folk and Roots Festival in Denver, Bruce Cockburn was the last to play. We had quite a long wait after Nanci Griffith's set, probably about 45 minutes. Good thing the emcees Harry Tuft, Mollie O'Brien and Rich Moore had quite a few songs in the repertoire to keep us entertained. But we were ready for Bruce and he was finally on stage, just him 3 guitars and a mic.
The show started off a bit tough because the mix was a bit hot and Bruce even mentioned it and asked for the mix to be turned down a bit. A few songs in, the mix was pretty much dialed in and we were on our way. As always, Bruce's playing was spot on and that thumb never quits. Had some great solos on Stolen Land and If A Tree Falls and surprised me with Kit Carson and The Trouble With Normal. Ended the night with Rouler Sa Bosse and Tie Me At The Crossroads.
Great show by Bruce, one of the better shows that I have seen him do. The only thing that was different about Bruce this time was that he didn't really converse with the crowd all that much. He would respond to some of the comments the audience made but wouldn't offer anything on his own like he usually does. So sometimes there was an awkward silence when he was tuning or switching guitars. Maybe because of the long delay before he went on, bad day, etc. Who knows? Either way, his performance was awesome and he never fails to deliver.
And Audrey submitted the following:
I had a chance to make the Denver gig. (Bruce chooses gigs where there are relevant universities for my work.) Anyhow, it was a complete disaster. After keeping everyone on a tight schedule, there were "technical difficulties" before Bruce's set, which involved a whole bunch of fiddling and the hosts having to figure out songs to sings to fill the time. Neither Leslie nor Bob were there to figure things out. Bruce seemed totally defeated. The fiddling took probably about 1/2 hr at least of Bruce's set time and there was curfew which didn't get extended. So no talking, no engaging the audience. Just play the songs. I think he cut some out too. After so many acts, the audience seemed quite flat (as in a pancake, not out of tune). The crowd never really got going, and Bruce plays off the crowd's energy.
As it turns out, it wasn’t their stage crew. Bruce’s own in-ear monitors stopped working just before he was supposed to go on stage. They did finally work, and they couldn't extend his set time because if they went over their curfew it would have cost them several thousands dollars in both rental and crew overtime. And they didn't have the cash for that.
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