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Saturday August 15, 2009 John Prine at Ottawa, ON -National Arts Centre - with Carrie Rodriguez -Back-up Band Jason Wilber and Dave Jacques - sold out

By: Allan Wigney
That review in full and photo is here ->
   It was, in effect, the unofficial kickoff to this year's Ottawa Folk Festival.
   No lawnchair required.
   Dutifully working his way through a lengthy, career-spanning set on Saturday night, John Prine delivered three chords and the power of the word to a rapt National Arts Centre audience, effortlessly confirming once more the singer-songwriter is to contemporary America what Guthrie, Steinbeck and Twain were to previous generations.
   Travelling light, with trusty guitar and trusted sidemen Jason Wilber (guitar, mandolin) and Dave Jacques (bass), Prine primed the crowd for next week's festival, while giving that lineup a nigh-on-impossible act to follow.
   And if the effects of age and a battle with throat cancer occasionally showed in slurred words from the raspy-voiced veteran, few in the audience minded, or noticed. Most were too busy singing lyrics they had long committed to heart.
   And from the moment the man in black strutted onstage like the champion he is, the audience belonged to Prine.
   After all, a brush with mortality or two has served only to add more poignancy to lyrics such as those at the heart of Please Don't Bury Me ("Throw my brain in a hurricane / The blind can have my eyes / And the deaf can take both my ears / If they don't mind the size"). And poignancy has always suited this storyteller well.
   And that voice continues to draw new life from songs as old as Prine's 1971 debut album, a slice of folk-music perfection that continues to be mined for as much as a third of a typical setlist.
   On Saturday, those early songs included the opener Spanish Pipedream, whose recipe for true happiness -- "Blow up your TV" -- remains timely. That characteristically tragicomic slice of Middle America was followed by additional Prine staples -- among them, Angel From Montgomery, Souvenirs and Storm Windows. Each bittersweet narrative has survived the years as defiantly as its creator, and has lost none of its power to cause many a frustrated poet to mutter, "I wish I had said that!" <*> The affable entertainer commands the stage with the additional advantage of never displaying the slightest reluctance to resurrect songs considered "topical" decades ago. But then, tales such as that of Sam Stone, the broken war-veteran unable to adjust to a return to "normal" life, shall forever be topical.
   More's the pity.
   Prine, meanwhile, humbly ignored the gushing audience's repeated confessions of love and admiration, preferring to let the songs do the talking. And those songs spoke to all of a world where comedy and tragedy coexist on a daily basis.
   That reality also served opening act Carrie Rodriguez well in Seven Angels on a Bicycle, a highlight of a brief set that gave her time to play a series of instruments and to offer the crowd a crash-course in her music. <*> And if her songs appeared lightweight in the wake of Saturday's headliner, it is hardly a criticism.
   For if John Prine is a tough act to follow, he is no less tough to precede

By: kate
enchanting, entertaining,not to be missed

By: Allan Wigney

Full Story here: here
Prine & prejudice
John Prine sings poignant stories of real people, real America, warts and all
      Published: Thursday, August 13, 2009 - - - -
      John Prine
      When: 8 p.m., Saturday
      Where: Southam Hall, National Arts Centre
   He emerged nearly 40 years ago as a fully formed chronicler of our times, the singing postman from Chicago who had kept his talent a secret from friends and co-workers he recalls as "the type of guys who used to hang out after a dance and see if they could beat up the band in the parking lot."
   A 1971 debut album found the latest "New Dylan" turning heads through poignant portraits of the likes of Sam Stone, the Vietnam vet whose personal deterioration was played out as a metaphor for a nation that had lost its way. There was empathy for an old woman longing for rescue by an Angel From Montgomery. Dreamers Donald and Lydia were poetically feted. God-fearing Americans were counselled Your Flag Decal Won't Get You Into Heaven Anymore. - - - - The ensuing years saw John Prine continue to roll down that lost highway, sharing stories of misfits seeking answers to life's riddles from Dear Abby and Hare Krishna. Real people, real America, vividly presented warts and all.
    So Prine the intrepid reporter was surprised at the sight of paying customers walking out of his shows in protest over the following couplet: "Some cowboy from Texas / Starts his own war in Iraq." The lyric, from Some Humans Ain't Human, a world-weary song from Prine's 2005 release Fair & Square, hardly struck its author as out of character.
   "I thought, 'What do they think my old songs were about? Who do they think they're dealing with here?'" a bemused if still perplexed Prine reflects. "The reason I don't write many political songs anymore is I don't feel like preaching to the converted. When I was first starting out I'd be opening for different people and people would come to check me out, and they could always walk out. They could have been surprised by something like Your Flag Decal Won't Get You Into Heaven Anymore. Now, I can't understand why anybody who's been coming to see me for years would be surprised about Some Humans Ain't Human. It's just stating the obvious: George Bush is an idiot and Dick Cheney is a scary monster. What's the big surprise there?" - - - - Yet, as he reflects on the controversy, the poet normally prone to bittersweet understatement concedes one point to critics of Some Humans Ain't Human.
   "Now that it's done and dusted," he muses, "I have, for my money, written better songs that would fall into the 'protest' category. After about a year, that song already sounded old to me. And I think it's because I was so specific."
   "I am surprised at the power of my early songs to last as long as they have -- that people asked for Your Flag Decal Won't Get You Into Heaven Anymore 20 years after I'd retired it. I don't think Some Humans Ain't Human is timeless unless you change some of the lyrics. And I just never got into that. I write a song and if it stands up, it stands up. If it doesn't, I've got plenty of 'em."
    And though the pace of Prine originals has slowed in recent years -- a reality the artist attributes to "having more time to goof off" now that he answers to his own Oh Boy Records label -- those characters continue to reside in the hearts and minds of listeners in search of intelligent commentary on contemporary life.
    Bush and Cheney, notwithstanding. - - - - Prine, meanwhile, continues to keep an eye on politics, as evidenced by a mid-interview tangential discussion of America's unending quest for health-care reform -- a subject close to the heart of the artist who 11 years ago underwent surgery for throat cancer. (Several months and a health-insurance-tempered "million-dollar-plus" bill later, Prine resumed touring.)
   "That's the terrible thing about doing an interview with me," Prine notes with a laugh. "You get me started on something.
   "And in my head I say I don't really care about politics."
    John Prine would never deny, however, that he cares about people. The people that populate his songs. The people that come to his shows -- and that know who they're dealing with. And whether audience or subject, Prine continues to embrace those people by masterfully straddling the line between comedy and tragedy.
    "If you want somebody to listen to you," Prine explains, "you try and take into consideration who you're talking to. And there's no better way to get somebody to at least see you have a different side to present, than humour. I learned that with bullies at school. If you could get somebody to laugh, it was hard for him to punch you. So you had to think up something humorous in a hurry. It worked then; it works now."
    Well, most of the time.
   "It's always better to say something in a song and let the audience have room to draw their own conclusion," Prine concludes. "Let them be part of the joke. And if they still go, 'Well, I can't stand for this,' that's OK."
     After all, John Prine has plenty of other songs.


Friday August 14, 2009 John Prine at Toronto, ON - Massey Hall - with Carrie Rodriguez -Back-up Band Jason Wilber and Dave Jacques - sold out

By: SanoDano
Since picking up an acoustic guitar at the tender age of fifty, I haven't really paid much attention to John Prine. Growing up listening to the likes of Bruce Cockburn, David Wiffen, David Bradstreet, Ray Materick, Murray MacLaughlin, etc. I am gobsmacked that I have'nt made friends with this trubadour earlier in each of our lives. What an absolute blast to have had a chance to see this legend in person with his wonderful and trusted guns, bassist David Jacques and on the telecaster - Jason Wilbur. As I marvelled on the ease of which Prine and company pounded a fair share of tunes from Fair and Square, it was clear that there is a body of work to which I have just begun to love. Disappointing was not to hear "Some Human's Ain't Humans" and my favourite "Crazy As a Loon" however they would have required a steel guitar on set. I was again blown away by the shear number of different shouts of requests coming from the boulsterous T.O. crowd for long time favourites to which Prine replied, "I know them all. Three encores included a duets with opener Carrie Rodriguez - most noteably "In Spite of Ourselves ". I was whistlin' the whole way home, I am a John Prine fan!

By: Crabby Char

  Well, It's come and gone and I have that post Prine show afterglow going. Norm gave me a call when he arrived, and I met him in the lobby. He had his lovely wife Lynda, and daughter Rachel with him. Norm and Rachel had matching Prine shirts on, so they were easy to pick out in the lobby. We went to the ticket office to pick up their tickets. I ended up in the eighth row on the main floor, they were one row behind me.

  I sat next to a sweet couple on my left - Shelly was her name and her husband. A nice young man on my right named Jules was also writing down the set list as I was, as he was going to write a review and put it on his website.

  Carrie Rodriguez opened, and she looks like a million bucks and sang some fiesty songs and played guitar and fiddle. I would go see her again.

  A quick intermission, then John and band came rolling on out to thuderous applause and everybody was on their feet to greet him. Big smiles all the way around. John was beaming!

  You could tell all of Massey Hall was lovin' John Prine!
Here is the set list:

 1. Spanish Pipedream
  2. Crooked Piece of Time
  3. You're Flag Decal Won't Get You Into Heaven Anymore
  4. Six O'Clock News - He stopped and talked a bit. He said that this was the first stop on the Canadian tour - that they were working  their way over to the Maritimes - I think that's what he said - and that they were going to take their time getting there!

  5. Souvenirs
  6. Grandpa Was A Carpenter
  7. Fish And Whistle
  8. Glory Of True Love
  9. Takin' A Walk
10. Angel From Montgomery


11. Long Monday
12. Donald & Lydia
13. Dear Abby
14. Let's Talk Dirty In Hawaiian
15. Sam Stone

The band rejoins.

16. Bear Creek
17. That's Alright By Me
18. She Is My Everything
19. Hello In There
20. Lake Marie

 Encore with Carrie Rodriguez

21. In Spite Of Ourselves
22. Paradise (?)

   This Canadian crowd was super sweet to John and the band, although you could tell some had had a Molson or two too many!

Jason and Carrie Rodriguez came out into the lobby after it was mostly emptied out, so I was able to say hello to them. She is really beautiful up close!

  Interesting miscellaneous facts -

- John was wearing a white dress shirt unbuttoned at the top - no tie. He did unbutton his coat after "It's Alright By Me", but he did not take it off.

- Massey Hall has a capacity of 2750 and was sold out!
- I was at such an angle and the speakers were in the way, I didn't get a good look, but during the end of Lake Marie, when he gets his foot going back and forth real good, I think he was wearing dress shoes. Not the boots we saw him wearing in Milwaukee. I could be wrong.
- The Toronto Sun review was spot on. There were a few pockets of over exuberance in the crowd. Just too much alcohol. There was even a fight that broke out after the show outside the theater. I have never seen a fight break out after a John Prine show. Seemed to start with a misunderstanding and blow up to a heated argument with shoving. It was weird.

- I went over and saw all the people hanging out by the stage door with various things for John to sign. From the concert ticket of that night, to an old songbook to a used "Bruised Orange" album cover.

By: Ima Prinefan
   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
   Read the rest at - Krewe Chief's Toronto Concert Blog - here

By: Jason MacNeil
full review - here
   Longtime singer-songwriter John Prine came to prominence in the early '70s with a string of albums containing some humorous numbers alongside more thoughtful, reflective political-leaning tunes. >>>>> Now some 38 years after his solo self-titled debut hit the record shelves, Prine's material has sort of come full circle with the way and wars of the world. >>>>> At least those were the two main threads throughout his two-hour show Friday night at a sold-out Massey Hall.
   With no new album to tour behind, Prine and his seasoned two-man supporting cast is doing an extensive Canadian tour this summer, heading out to the Maritimes before traveling west. And if this was any measuring stick, fans have quite a bit to look forward to.
   From the opening notes of Spanish Pipedream to In Spite Of Ourselves (a duet with opener Carrie Rodriguez in the encore), Prine slowly but surely warmed himself up with slice-of-life narratives such as Crooked Piece Of Time and Your Flag Decal Won't Get You Into Heaven Anymore, the latter showcasing his gifted storytelling techniques.
   Prine won't be mistaken for having vast vocal prowess anytime soon, yet it's his simple, pedestrian paced nuggets that have kept him going this long. This was especially evident during Six O'Clock News and Souvenirs, both immediately recognized by fans from Prine's opening strums.
   The singer, 62, also wove a few stories between songs, mentioning how Fish And Whistle almost never got written. But after losing an argument that the 1978 album Bruised Orange needed one more song, Prine said he set off to write the worst song in the world. Judging by the loud fan reaction, the objective failed miserably.
   Letting many of the shouted requests fall by the wayside, the artist demonstrated his stellar lyrical style on the lovely Taking A Walk prior to the oft-covered nugget Angel From Montgomery had most singing along softly.
   And whether the content was light or heavy, most of the audience was quite attentive and silent (the four female fools behind me notwithstanding). The swaying and funny Dear Abby led into the comical Let's Talk Dirty In Hawaiian. Prine mentioned how he ran into two members of Hank Snow's band Thursday in Nashville who told him they covered that wild Waikiki number.
   That vibe quickly turned once the somber Sam Stone began, a track concerning a Vietnam veteran and his fatal drug addiction. The haunting nature was heightened with a bow being played on the upright bass during the homestretch of what was probably the show's highlight.
   But Prine also didn't embarrass himself in the least with the electrified Bear Creek, a blues-meets-rockabilly effort resembling something from Sun Studios in the '50s.
    "You know them all!" Prine finally quipped to those still shouting for requests before the tender, thoughtful Hello In There gave way to the lengthy and fully fleshed out Lake Marie which finished the main set. a


By: Bev
Really lenjoyed our time. We sat in the second balcony top row had great people beside us. John Prine gave us a great two hours of entertainment both fun and a few sadder songs which found to be heart rendering. A few noisy people were yelling out DURING a song which we didn't approve of- think alcohol was a factor. Wish Massey Hall would suspend alcohol during performances. John Prine was easy going and made our evening one we will remember with much fondness. Really glad my husband got the tickets.

By: Krista
The whole show was [email protected]#%^ amazing!!! Unforgettable!!! I'd go anytime he was around. I actually called friends in New Brunswick so that they could go when he was there on the 24 of August, said they couldn't miss it, and they went. Sooooo great.



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