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Sat, Feb 23, 2008 - Palace Theatre, Columbus, OH with guest Maura O'Connell;
back up band: Jason Wilber, Dave Jacques

By: Bob J. from Centerburg, Ohio

I have been listening to John Prine Music since his 1st Vinyl Album in 1971, my high school graduation year. I have always enjoyed his music especially the words of his songs, but never got to see him perform till last Saturday night. He put on one great show, despite having a cold. His Irish cold medicine seemed to work great because we were treated to a great 2 1/2 hour show. I was amazed and pleased that he included so many great songs off the first album: Hello in There, Sam Stone, Angel From Montgomery (duet with Maura O'Connell), Donald & Lydia, and Paradise (encore song). I especially enjoyed all of the stories that John told between the songs, they were great. In addition to John being great that night, he also had two guys backing him up that were exceptional (The bass player & The electric guitar/mandolin player, sorry I don't have their names). The other thing that made the evening great was that in better seats on the main floor I knew my 28 year old son was also seeing John for the first time.

By: Fred Bennington

What can be said about John Prine that has not already been said? I've been a fan since the early 80's and he continues to get even better - if that is possible. I've seen him four times in the last two years and this was simply an amazing performance. He did hits from the early years up to and including songs from his "Fair and Square" album. I bought tickets for this concert for my wife and myself in January and we drove 175 miles to Columbus. Hope he gets back in this area (within 250 miles soon). God willing, I will be there! Keep it up, John!

By: Curtis Schieber (for the Columbus Dispatch)

Sunday, February 24, 2008 3:53 AM
Full article here
   For a guy with about half a voice, singer-songwriter John Prine told some tall tales in a two-hour performance last night in the Palace Theatre.
   Prine battled with a delivery already diminished by a bout with cancer a few years back but also burdened last night by the cold he was "either going into or coming out of."
   Still, the characters in his songs lived richly detailed lives, and the stories very nearly had the emotional and cultural resonance of his best recordings. The singer gave life to their curiosity, melancholy and humor like a pro.
  Prine's work always has been about the songs, after all. Last night, individual lines from two or three of them delineated the generous human boundaries of his writing.
   The most gawd-awful sad included "To believe in this livin'/Is just a hard way to go," from Angel From Montgomery; the most flip included, "Woke up this morning/Put on my slippers/Walked in the kitchen and died," from Please Don't Bury Me, and the most hilarious lay somewhere in the rambling, surreal tale of The Missing Years.
   But Prine did more than just run extremes. His presence and delivery brought home not only the ache of Hello In There -- wherein with his near-whispered vocal he sounded like one of the song's lonely old people -- but the sentimental dementia of Linda Goes To Mars and the mature introspection of Taking A Walk.
   With the help of opener Maura O'Connell, he outlined his trademark recipe for marital longevity on the duet In Spite of Ourselves, the story of two crotchety people who can't live together or apart.
   Unsurprisingly, the songs presented alone -- accompanied by the same acoustic guitar on which he composed the devastating
   Souvenirs nearly four decades ago -- worked the best, allowing the nakedness of the singer's voice to explore the emotional territory in the stories.
   Conversely, the electrified selections were compromised by a muddy mix and buried vocals.
   In her short set, O'Connell fought a lesser cold, which more severely compromised her intonation but only rarely her delivery.
   With songs such as Gerry O'Beirne's Western Highway, she offered a warm introduction to the master storyteller.

By: The Elfin Blog -

  Last night my wife and I, along with my father-in-law, saw John Prine perform at Columbus’ Palace Theatre. I had never seen John Prine and when I found out he was coming to Columbus, I jumped at the chance to see him. Prine, who is a life-worn 61 years old, put on a fantastic show at the Palace last night. He played a stream of hits, from up-tempo fun songs like In Spite of Ourselves, to the heart wrenching Hello In There. His voice was strong and emotive, despite being hindered by a nasty cold. The old guy played for two and a half hours straight without a break, and still saved his energy for the final numbers. If you’ve never heard any John Prine, run out and pick up his greatest hits double-album, or the most recent Fair & Square. You won’t be disappointed.
   Read the full blog and comments here: here

John Prine at the Taft Theatre, Cincinnati, OH February 22, 2008 with guest Maura O'Connell and back up band Dave Jacques and Jason Wilber.


By: Chris Varias
Full review here
   If you happened to call the Taft Theatre box office a few hours before the John Prine concert Friday night, you might have heard a recording indicating that the show would not be cancelled, despite a couple inches of snow that Cincinnatians referred to a storm.
   This was not a huge surprise, at least looking at it from the point of view of the headliner, who made a living delivering the mail in Chicago 40 or so years ago, before he became a folk-rock cult hero.
   “Carrying the mail in the ice and snow,” Prine explained to the crowd, “will drive you to songwriting.”
  So those ticket-holders who, courageously, got in their cars, activated their wipers and drove downtown were rewarded with a live retrospective of Prine’s career, ranging from the longtime favorites he wrote while walking a mail route to the new ones penned after coming out the winning end of a battle with throat cancer 10 years ago.
  It didn’t matter if it was a sing-along like “Fish and Whistle,” “Souvenirs” or “Dear Abby” or one of the several songs he performed from his most recent CD of new material, “Fair and Square,” which won the contemporary-folk album Grammy in 2006. Just about all of the 24 tunes came forth like a mellow classic, due in part to a voice made deeper and raspier by the illness, and due also to guitarist Jason Wilber and bassist David Jacques. They have been Prine’s two-man backup on his last several tours, providing steady and nuanced accompaniment.
  All together it worked very well. At 61, Prine more than ever looked and sounded the part of an American-music master, a mixture of Merle Haggard and Bob Dylan but a singer-songwriter possessing voice and a way with a metaphor all his own.
  And though his performance was understated through the two-hour set, the near-sellout house was as wild as a Prine crowd gets. It’s as if there’s some sort of inverse relationship at hand: The quieter he gets, the more they drink. Few things are more poignant than hearing someone’s beer bottle fall to the ground as Prine sings the sad ones about heroin addiction and elderly neglect.
  Opening act Maura O’Connell gave the crowd more to holler about when she returned to the stage for three duets with Prine. The Irish-born folksinger handled Iris DeMent’s part in Prine’s antagonistic love song “In Spite of Ourselves,” which he said has become a popular tune for people to play at weddings, “in order to (tick) off their future in-laws.”
  She also took a verse in Prine’s ultimate female-voice composition, “Angel From Montgomery,” and one in “Long Monday” from “Fair and Square.” Prine’s version of that song, as well as renditions of “Glory of True Love,” “Crazy as a Loon,” and “She is My Everything,” helped to state the case that “Fair and Square” measures up to his more time-tested albums.
  Prine addressed the subject of the weather by playing the title track of his 1980 album, “Storm Windows,” calling it one of his “ice and snow songs.” It was among the strongest performances of the night, and it made at least one listener crave the full-band version on the record, if only to hear Angelo Varias play the drums.




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