1 March 2004 - The beginning of 2004 saw Bruce touring with Julie Wolf (keyboards-accordian), minus Ben Riley (drums-percussion) and Steve Lucas (bass). Although Julie had toured with the full band for most of the past year, the Canadian dates were the first 'Bruce and Julie duo' dates. This part of the tour has received much attention, as many of us were able to see the show with full band in the early part of the tour and now again. This article will pull together reports from three shows, 21 February through 23 February. Photos were all taken at the Mateel Community Center and are either by Kim Sallaway, www.KimbaCan.com or by myself, Bobbi Wisby.
21 February 2004 - Layne Russell sent in this report from the Paradise Performing Arts Center show. February 21 setlist
The Paradise Performing Arts Center is a beautiful theater with excellent acoustics and a very slanted floor so that everyone can see no matter where seated. There was an intimate quality and Bruce seemed very relaxed. Julie added so much with the beauty and sensitivity of her vocals and keyboard playing. There was so much warmth, in so many ways. We were happy to be in the fourth row in the center.
The show in Paradise was wonderful. Full, long, rich sets and two encores (a total of five encore songs), plus he talked to us quite a bit. Bruce responded to some audience questions at various times, and spoke quite a bit about his being in Iraq and what Iraqis (of many walks of life, he said) told him regarding the reason the US is in Iraq, etc. . . . at the end of which there was a pause, then he told us (in light of the coming election), "Throw the son of a bitch out." He was definitely talking to the appropriate crowd. The first song was Lord of the Starfields . . . and the audience was his.
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21 February 2004 - This is the third time Bruce has come to play in our tiny town (Redway) located on the north coast of California at the Mateel Community Center. It's a long way from anywhere to get here. I arrived at the Mateel at 2pm to check in with Dave Myers and Agnes Patak from KMUD radio, who was putting on this show and see how everything was shaping up. The bus was arriving and Bruce rode up on his bike, having rode the 2 miles between Garberville and Redway. It was a misty/light rain kind of day. The bus, although it had been to the Mateel in the past, was having a bit of trouble getting up the steep, rutted, curved driveway into the Mateel parking lot without bottoming out or having tree limbs knock the satellite off the roof. Bruce and I walked and talked a bit.
The Mateel had a full crew doing the stage set-up, load-in and making dinner for the masses yet to arrive. I had the opportunity to talk with Julie Wolf, what a fun person she is, not to mention of course how talented she is. I ended up liking her additions to Bruce's sound more after this show, than I had after the first time I heard them together at the Mystic.
As the bus was unloading I thought it was a good time to ask Bruce to sign some photos I had taken of him at the Mystic show. I gave him some other shots from that show, but didn't have another copy of the one he was signing, so I went home and printed it up for him with a few other shots as well. At least it felt good to actually be giving something back.
It was time for soundcheck, and Bruce gave me and several others permission to shoot as many pictures as we'd like. Sound check was: Everywhere Dance, My Beat, Wait No More, Mighty Trucks of Midnight, Live On My Mind and the beginnings of All Our Dark Tomorrows.
The doors opened at 6pm for a mexican dinner the KMUD crew were preparing, longs lines, lots of friends, time to socialize as we waited for the show. There are no chairs in place in front of the stage, usually a lot of folks just stand, but there were chairs to be had and my favorite spot is next to the soundboard upstairs on the balcony. We had perfect seats, unobstructed views and great sound.
This was a wonderful show, it bit more subdued than I thought it would be, but by the end I had melted into the railing. There was a real mix in the setlist, many love songs, Live On My Mind, Wait No More, After the Rain and the incredible vocals of Julie singing All the Ways I Want You.
There was plenty to get fired up about as well, with one of my all time favorites Call It Democracy, Postcards From Cambodia, and the new Tell The Universe. Bruce spoke to us about Iraq, how there is no rebuilding going on there, and how so many of the masses get their 'news' from the same lame sources like CNN and FOX, and are really uninformed about what really is going on. Of course the Mateel crowd totally agreed with him on this, after all the majority was over 50, aging hippies and back-to-the-landers who embrace Bruce's sentiments on this and other things, as well as being better informed, with many thanks to that going to KMUD radio. ~bobbi wisby
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23 February 2004 -
This report comes from Hal, on the 23 February Eugene, Oregon show, which originally was posted to the Humans group. I must admit, I found myself agreeing with his take on the show quite often, so asked his permission to reprint in part here.
I hate to have to descend from this land of bliss and ecstasy, but I swear every BC concert I've been too is nothing short of a spiritual experience, if there's anything I know of such stuff. But no I can't recite set lists or stuff like that, but I could probably articulate pages on damn near every note of every song of the whole evening. But some of the things I noted uniquely to the rest:
He started with Lord of the Starfields, which is one of my favorites. And then .... which is one of my favorites, and then ... which is one of my absolute favorites, and then .... which was even better .... and so the evening went.
I confess to really liking the drum and bass, but hey, this was just a totally different experience, worse because of what it wasn't, better because of what it was. I enjoyed Julie more as the show went on, especially the second set, and the two seemed very comfortable in their rapport which set it's own tone somehow. And I swear, except for the guy who played accordian for the Cowboy Junkies, that Julie is the only person who knows how to play a great accordian. I generally hate the accordian, except as an instrument unto itself, never in a band, but I TOTALLY loved what she brought into Bruce's song with the ways she played that thing. Her vocal on All the Ways was really nice, but honestly I liked Bruce's guitar on the song better, but between the two it seemed like a totally different song, and I loved it's uniqueness.
After the Rain was played note for note from what it was in the 70's, but was so much more here. Call It Democracy - nothing could be better ! (Except for whatever song followed it. Well wait it was Trickle Down - good, very good, but not AS good IMHO.) And Celestial Horses, which I generally regard as really good, but not totally connected with, was very full and rich - tonight I just lost myself in that song, which he closed with.
He did not play You've Never Seen Everything, which I feel mixed about as I do about the song. I really dislike that song, yet I also really love that song. But it does demand so much from an audience. He did sing (which I felt like was "instead of" YNSE) the Whole Night Sky with it's lyric "They turned they're backs, I made it too hard ...." I think YNSE is a pretty tough song to take if you're not a hardcore Bruce fan, or of similar sentiments, and for your average "lets go to some concert tonight" type attender, it would wipe them out. So I was kinda glad it wasn't there, but was kinda disappointed at it's absence as well. Go figure!
And I was thrilled with this Eugene crowd - this was a crowd TOTALLY here for Bruce and Julie. I'm tired of the venue - flat floor, folding chairs, but I felt a sense of community that I haven't felt around here in a decade, and it was wonderful to see a crowd that was REALLY into Bruce - I'd begun to lose faith in this "alternative culture" capital. Much better crowd than in the summer, maybe because it was a smaller venue, but I hope that's not the reason.
Thanks for letting me share. This concert 'll get me through the rest of the winter. ~Hal