John Prine at The Alabama Theatre, Birmingham, AL on Friday December 14, 2007 with opener Jason Wilber. Back up band: Jason Wilber and Dave Jacques
By: Keith Nutt
I took my wife to the show to celebrate our 34th anniversary. We both discovered John together so i thought it was great he was doing a show on that night. I am not one to keep a set list. I just like to sit back and enjoy. John did sing a few songs that he doesn;t usually do in his show. It was another great performance by him. For the encore he started with I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa, moved on to Christmas in Prison, and of course finished with Paradise. We both had a good time. Thanks to a special someone we had backstage passes waiting on us at will call. It was the first time I had a chance to really talk with him. He is really a nice man. Since Donnie Fritts was there, our time with John was cut short, but it was great anyway. Thank you John for a special memory.
By: BOB SIMS
posted Sunday, December 16, 2007 in the Birmingham News - here:
John Prine leads one big sing-along at the Alabama Theatre
From the moment John Prine takes the stage, the same delightful puzzle emerges as in every past performance.
Is this show uplifting, inspiring and entertaining because the lyrics make complex poetry of the simplest things in life? Or is it just pure contact joy to see Prine - and lead guitarist Jason Wilber and bassist Dave Jacques - so energized through the fan connection?
In a 25-song set and three encores, Prine and company played the favorites, and the crowd. A continuous sing-along began with the first strum and sometimes brought inspired rowdiness from the mix in the nearly full Alabama Theatre that included everyone from teens to 60-something cave hippies.
Illegal Smile," for instance, an anthem to getting high on something other than life, is so well-known that Prine fell silent and allowed the room to finish robustly: "You may see me tonight, with an illegal smile, it don't cost very much, but it lasts a long while ..."
There was a respectful murmuring of the lyrics to the "Oldest Baby in the World," a song put together, Prine says, at a kitchen table with Florence's Donnie Fritts, who was in the audience.
Before he coasted into "Sam Stone," the tragic ballad of a drug-addled Vietnam vet who dies alone, Prine lamented it's the type of tune that unfortunately never goes out of style. The hundreds-strong chorus knew every word.
The night was a perfect mix of material across 20 releases dating to 1971. And Prine and company were lifted up by every song, including his signature closer, "Lake Marie," where again, the throng of voices together made the barbecuing sausages "sssssizzle" in the middle of this powerful love-and-blood ballad.
But the finale was not enough. An encore was robust and surprising, too. Prine will finish this tour tonight in Nashville and says from the heart that he wishes Christmas would last six months.
And in the tastefully holiday-bedecked and comfy confines of the beautiful Alabama Theatre, Prine needs no songsheet to belt out three more numbers, beginning with "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus."
And for the only time Friday night, he knows the lyrics better than the throng.
John Prine at the Saenger Theater-Mobile, AL Aug 25, 2007 With Support Iris DeMent. band: Dave Jacques and Jason Wilber
What a show ! I've been to 10+ John Prine concerts and as always he performed well beyond the call. He played hard and the rapport with the audience was only as he is capable of. This one was truelly special for me as I had been through one of the toughest weeks of my life & as always, like and old friend (in my mind he is) John gave me the boost I needed.He is a treasure and my collection of his recordings is one of my greatest treasures. I was even lucky enough to shake his hand prior to the show in a hotel lobby ( a sureal experience for me).Thanks John, your efforts have made the world better.
One of the best of John Prine's that I've been to for various reasons. My wife and I finally got to meet John and had pictures made with he, Jason and David! Bad news is I've taken my guitar strap around the south for 18 years to get him to sign it and on the night I meet him--I left it at home. I think it was my lucky 13th show- to top it off.
It was good to hear Iris again. I didn't know she had a Gospel album out but I'll have to buy it.
I've never been to a bad one--at least not because of John or the band. I figured downtown Mobile's Beerfest may make for a rough night but there were not any more than the usual shouts out for requests and singing along. I wish people would refrain from the sing-a-longs untill Illegal Smile like in the old days.
No matter how times change, hearing people sing along with Sam Stone is not cool.
Overall, a great show by an extremely talented group of entertainers. Simply the best performer/poet/entertainer that I know of with some of the best pickers in the country with him.
By: Stephen Centanni
Any John Prine fan not in attendance at his recent performance at the Saenger should hate themselves. It’s always a pleasant surprise when an artist with an extensive repertoire pulls out their standard favorites. He regaled the crowd with songs of heartbroken swingers (performed with Iris DeMent and reformed strippers), and there were many illegal smiles singing along with this legendary musician.
The only complaint anyone had about the show was that the Saenger closed their bars just as Prine kicked off his set. With Beerfest in full effect outside the Saenger, the lack of alcohol during an artist such as Prine was a buzz kill, but Prine’s performance outshined this small complication. - more
Just wonderful all the way around. He's timeless and brilliant. I've listened to his take on the states of our unions my whole life and he's been right on it, steady on.
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