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John Prine Concert Tour and Reviews 2007

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John Prine at the State Theater, Kalamazoo, MI - February 10, 2007
Opener: Maura O'Connell and John Mock    Band: Jason Wilber & Dave Jacques

By: Mark Wedel
Full review here:
   Prine moves State Theatre crowd with beloved classics
   Monday, February 12, 2007
   He looks like a retired truck driver, his voice is strained and plain, he plays guitar all right but tends to strum as if grating cheese against his stomach, and has written some of the best songs of the past nearly 40 years.
   That would certainly be the opinion of the nearly full State Theatre crowd Saturday night, which welcomed John Prine back like he was a cross between a slightly eccentric uncle and Woody Guthrie.
   The crowd was laughing, crying and singing along to all the classics Prine could fit into his set. He stuck in some songs from his 2006 Grammy winning ``Fair & Square'' (2005, Oh Boy Records), and a few other odds and ends.
   Prine kept the show going until nearly 11:30 p.m. He was helped along by bassist Dave Jacques and guitarist Jason Wilber, who gave a nice classic country feel to Prine's songs.
   Prine didn't talk much. He did ``Your Flag Decal Won't Get You Into Heaven Anymore,'' explaining that he wrote the anti-war song in 1968 and put it away in 1975. He began playing it again a couple of years ago, ``by special request from the president of the United States. ... It wasn't a formal request, but he was askin' for it,'' Prine said.
   He played ``Storm Windows,'' a song of cold and drifting snow, telling the crowd that he saves it for shows in frigid weather. He lives in Nashville, but was born and raised in Chicago, ``so I know what it's like where it's ... cold out.''
   He is a Midwesterner with a dash of Tennessee and Kentucky, just a regular guy, and that's what makes his songs -- especially the sad ones -- so hard-hitting. He croaks out something silly like ``Dear Abby'' and then hits with ``Sam Stone,'' Prine's 1971 song of a Vietnam vet becoming a junkie and dying alone. It's as personal a story as one from your neighbor telling you his kid's come back damaged from the war.
   Compare Prine with his opener Maura O'Connell. She's from Ireland, but has lived in the U.S. since the 1980s. O'Connell has a big, belting, strong and pure folk-singer's voice. She could be singing meaningful or weak lyrics, and the listener might not even notice, since she's giving the words as much glory as she can.
   You might not expect glory coming from Prine. Prine's voice has always been what one might call distinctive, like a rough plank of unfinished wood. Since he fought off throat cancer in 1998, Prine has to strain and fight off a hoarseness as he did at the State. --
   But that just added to the poignancy of songs like ``Souvenirs,'' where his plain voice sang plain words, ``I hate graveyards and old pawn shops, for they always bring me tears. I can't forgive the way they robbed me of my childhood souvenirs.''
   Prine did other classics, ``Spanish Pipe Dream,'' ``Grandpa Was a Carpenter,'' ``Fish and Whistle,'' ``Angel From Montgomery'' and others. Fans shouted out their favorites between songs. ``I know 'em all,'' Prine replied with a grin. O'Connell joined him on stage to do ``the girl parts'' in songs like ``In Spite of Ourselves,'' a silly but sweet song of aging, cantankerous lovers.
   New songs included a funny account of various cities driving a man ``Crazy as a Loon,'' the upbeat country of ``Glory of True Love,'' and his valentine to his wife, ``She Is My Everything.'' Prine rocked out with his band on the rockabilly ``Bear Creek Blues,'' doing a little Elvis dance with his guitar.
   An epic, gothic ``Lake Marie'' had the crowd on their feet demanding an encore. Prine obliged and wrapped up the night with ``Paradise,'' another sad song of nostalgia and loss -- in this case the Prine family's old Kentucky home town and beautiful surrounding countryside destroyed by strip mining.
   Out in the lobby at the end, a young woman was nearly in tears, explaining to the guy she was with that she had waited ``so long to hear him to do that song.'' Maybe she was upset that he didn't do her song, or maybe she was moved that he did do it; it was hard to tell.


By: Perpetually Pregnant

The State Theater in Kalamazoo is a beautiful concert venue. Although we live only an hour away and go to a fair number of concerts, we had never been there until last night. I am no where near the music enthusiast that my husband is- he's terribly insulted when I put both his television and music habits in the category of "will watch/listen to anything." I like to gaze at the television screen when I say this, and mumble in pretend awe, "...oooh! the screen is moving! there's something on the screen and its moving and I can watch..." Really I just do this to push his buttons. I completely understand that movies and music are two things he really enjoys, which is why I can't understand his confusion over my enthusiasm for shoes and purses.


By: Karen Blumenshine

Saw him last night in Kalamazoo. He played for about 2 1/4 hours. I didn't stop crying all night. I hope you all get to see him with Maura O'Connell. Her voice blends with his just perfect. She is a natural and their rendition of Angel from Montgomery was wonderful. He did most of my favorites and only missed a few. I wish he would come around again. He has never been to Grand Rapids, (that I know of) I wish he would play here.


John Prine at the Ann Arbor Folk Festival, Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, MI - January 27, 2007
Opener: festival    Band: Jason Wilber & Dave Jacques

<snip> Speaking of links and history, John Prine, who performed at the first Folk Festival in 1977, was in fine form Saturday night, charging though classics such as "Spanish Pipedream,'' "Fish and Whistle'' and "Souvenirs.'' His set - and the Folk Festival - concluded with a stirring group performance of Prine's environmental classic "Paradise,'' marred by mics that weren't turned up. Prine - his voice grittier than ever - seemed comfortable in his role as one of folk's elder statesmen, and his toothy grin was as infectious as ever. <snip> Full review here:


By: John S McSlattery
John was in great form last night, playing both old and new songs. He brought out the entire lineup for his last son to sing and play along, and receiving an enormously loud and exuberant standing ovation. It was a fantastic show, Prine shined and shouldn't stay away so long


By: Nehkeya Clifton
Amazing! The most entertaining concert I have ever attended! All performers were great but Paul Thorn, Jeff Daniels, and of course John Prine were shinning stars!! Truly one of the greatest nights of my life!!


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