John Prine is one our best, most engaging, storytellers. While his story is often told it doesn't wear thin.
Thoroughly enjoyed his 2004 Convocation Hall concert, even though it was a year before I started taping...maybe BECAUSE. Massey Hall is another animal though, a premier venue, historic and elegant, though somewhat less than in her glory days. Downtown early for dinner we saw that outside the gates, the trucks were unloading, roadies sweating it out. The weather was hot, nearly 90 degrees...a good night for a kick-back and enjoy concert.
But tonight I'm hampered by a couple talkative, loud clapping, inappropriate singing, drunks. Which brings me to the biggest disappointment of this year's concert schedule...Massey Hall has a 'stadium license'... you can take your beer and liqour to your seats. Wish that was all that people did. If you come in packing two, grab another two at intermission, leave just before Sam Stone for another two...well, you just know there's gotta be a piss-break in there somewhere. Note to audience: The part of the song where the money goes into the hole in the arm is NOT cause for celebration.
Opening act Carrie Rodriguez brings some Brooklyn moxie to the stage with her solo set. Takes a bit of gumption to stand alone with a fiddle on the Massey Hall stage. The dress didn't hurt though. I was 50/50 on this artist. Loved her when she was raw and skanky...not so much when she slipped into diva-mode. She won the audience over and got a well-deserved encore.
Now you'll have to excuse the guy sitting to my right, his head was exploding and I was praying the pieces wouldn't fall on me. Seems a John Prine concert is akin to a religious experience with him. Not the Catholic kind where everyone's quietly nodding off in the pew but the Baptist kind where every call demands a response. There were so many things wrong with this guy, not the least of which he thought, for reasons unbeknowsnt to be, that I wanted to talk. It's not like I give off friendly vibes when I'm running tape. He also felt compelled to provide harmony on most songs, sometimes accompanied with ill-timed clapping.
Prine was in good humour and good form. The set list was a bracket of his career...heavy on the first record and heavy on the award winning 2005 release Fair and Square. The stuff in between didn't suck either.
Here's the set list and some sound samples:
1. Spanish Pipedream (Blow Up Your TV) (John Prine)
2. Crooked Piece of Time (Bruised Orange)
3. Your Flag Decal Won't Get You Into Heaven Anymore (John Prine)
4. Six O'Clock News (John Prine)
5. Souvenirs (Prine/Goodman) (Diamonds in the Rough)
6. Grandpa Was A Carpenter (Sweet Revenge)
7. Fish and Whistle (Bruised Orange)
8. Glory of True Love (Prine/Cook) (Fair and Square)
9. Taking A Walk (Prine/MacLauglin) (Fair and Square)
10. Angel from Montgomery (John Prine)
11. Long Monday (Prine/Sykes) (Fair and Square)
(moved away from the motherfuckers talking all through the show)
12. Donald and Lydia (John Prine)
13. Dear Abby (Sweet Revenge)
14. Let's Talk Dirty in Hawaiian (German Afternoons)
1. Sam Stone (John Prine)
2. Bear Creek Blues (A.P Carter) (Fair and Square)
3. That’s Alright By Me (Prine/MacLauglin) (Fair and Square)
4. She Is My Everything (Fair and Square)
5. Hello In There (John Prine)
6. Lake Marie (Lost Dogs and Mixed Blessings)
7. In Spite of Ourselves (duet with Carrie Rodriguez) (In Spite of Ourselves)
8. Muhlenberg County (John Prine)