John Prine in Rockford, IL & Green Bay, WI
By: Reeda Buresh, aka PMS*red aka Prine Shrine Webmistress
My notes and never ending ramblings on these two shows begin - HERE
Weidner Center, UWGB
Green Bay WI
May 18, 2002
By: Patti [email protected]
Green Bay was definitely worth the trip. Saw our Wonderful Webmistress Reeda and her entourage before the show, including that nice guy, Crusher, from Lake Marie.
Todd Snider was great, as always. It is so easy to see why he and John Prine hooked up. Good storytelling in their songs, a mix of nostalgia and a sense of humor. At intermission, in between the two singers, I was lucky enough to have Todd autograph his new CD for me. He is so humble! When I told him thanks for the autograph, he said thanks for WANTING it!
John was Prime Prine, for sure. I especially enjoyed listening to old songs like The Late John Garfield Blues, and a few other changes in the show from when I saw him in Knoxville in March.
Tickets go on sale for Minnesota tomorrow! Hope to see you all August 24th! love & hard socks...Patti
HAPPY TO BASK IN PRINE'S GLORY
By: By Kendra Meinert [email protected]
Pre show interview
If you go
. Who: John Prine, with Todd Snider
. When: 8 p.m. Saturday
. Tickets: $34, $29; (920) 465-2217 or (800) 328-8587
John Prine isn't doing interviews, which works out well for opening act Todd Snider, who is more than happy to talk about his musical idol.
"He's my hero - one of them,'' Snider says by phone from Nashville, Tenn. "To say he's the best is relative, but he's definitely my favorite songwriter. I don't think he sounds like anyone or anyone sounds like him. He has his own style.''
An Oregon native who headed for Texas after high school to bask in the music of Joe Ely, Guy Clark and Jerry Jeff Walker, Snider eventually landed in Memphis, Tenn., where he first met Prine. Snider had become a fixture in the city by playing every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night. A singer/songwriter as at ease writing witty lyrics as singing a tender ballad, Snider says he was known back then as "kind of a John Prine wanna-be guy.''
Prine was in Memphis recording demos for "The Missing Years,'' the 1991 album that went on to win a Grammy Award. Snider landed himself a three-day stint as a runner at the studio, dashing out to get Prine cigarettes or drive him to and from his hotel.
It was a dream gig for Snider - except for one minor detail.
"The rule was don't bug him,'' Snider says. "So I was almost in heaven, because I wanted to bug him. I wanted to ask him about all the words and stuff.''
But Prine did turn up at one of Snider's shows, and the struggling musician got to know Prine's managers at the studio. After Snider snagged his first record deal two years later - with MCA for "Songs For the Daily Planet'' - he popped into the Prine-founded Oh Boy Records in Nashville while on tour and asked if they'd manage him. They agreed.
He followed up his debut with two more MCA releases, "Step Right Up'' and "Viva Satellite,'' before he eventually was dropped from the label.
Not surprising, Snider took his guitar and headed to Oh Boy, a label that he says is more about the music and less about the drama. He released "Happy To Be Here'' in 2000. His follow-up, "New Connection,'' was released Tuesday. It's a collection of 12 tracks written or co-written by Snider and a cover of Prine's "A Crooked Piece of Time,'' with guest vocals by the original artist.
It was a thrill to have the 30-year veteran sing on his album. Snyder says he's never met anyone quite like Prine.
"He just has no star-type pretension at all, even when he's tired,'' Snider says. "I've opened for John a million times, and I've just never seen the guy get his feathers ruffled.''
Snider recalls the time he and Prine and their touring musicians had just got off a 12-hour flight to Amsterdam. After 90 minutes on the road, the driver who had picked them up at the airport realized he had taken a wrong turn - the last hour and a half was for nothing.
"The kid wanted to hang himself. Everyone in the car wanted to kill him. But John didn't give a s--. He just enjoyed the ride.''
Snider's enjoying his own ride of late. An established and respected musician on the underground folk scene, he plays more than 200 dates a year. After opening shows for Prine this month, his summer includes gigs at outdoor bluegrass and folk festivals and sporadic support slots for Dwight Yoakam and Asleep at the Wheel.
Happy just to have critics compare him to Prine or recommend his albums to Prine fans, Snider doesn't get hung up on missing out on massive mainstream success.
"I knew what kind of music I played when I got into this whole record thing. I had studied a certain kind of music and learned how to play it,'' he says. "There's not one program director in the world that I begrudge for not playing my music. I know it doesn't sound like anything else on the radio.''
PRIME PRINE DELIGHTS WEIDNER CROWD
By: By Kendra Meinert
Concert review - John Prine: 4 stars
Between the two of them, John Prine and Todd Snider effortlessly laid
out 32 songs in a loose, easygoing two hours and 45 minutes Saturday at
the Weidner Center.
It was a lengthy and striking showcase of the powerful simplicity of
good music. Just a singer/songwriter, his guitar and his words delivered
from an uncluttered stage to 1,700 attentive fans who hung on every
opening chord and punctuated the moments of silence with shouts for their
It was Prine's only Wisconsin stop on his current tour, and license
plates in the parking lot from Michigan, Iowa and Illinois spoke to the
55-year-old's drawing power three decades into his career.
Those same diehards who knew the words to "Illegal Smile'' and
begged for "Lake Marie'' also knew enough not to miss the opening
set by Prine's protégé.
Snider introduced himself with the same kind of quirky wit and honesty
in his songs: "I'm Todd Snider . I've been driving around for like
15 years making this s- up and singing it.''
With a stage presence that's an odd but charming contradiction of
laid back and nervous, Snider instantly connected with a 40-minute set so
good it could've gone an hour with no complaints.
From the beauty of "Anywhere'' to the cleverness of "Statistician's
Blues'' - "They say 64 percent of all statistics are made up right
there on the spot/84.4 percent of the people believe 'em whether they're
accurate statistics or not'' - to the playful fun of the non-Garth
Brooks "Beer Run,'' Snider's standing ovation and big greeting at
a post-set autograph session were much deserved.
Prine - noticeably heavier since his last Weidner visit in 1996 but
with his sly grin as infectious as ever - opened his two-hour-plus set
with excellent backing from two musicians on upright bass/guitar and
They cooked on the upbeat "Whistle and Fish,'' beautifully
waltzed on "The Late John Garfield Blues,'' gave the Soggy Bottom
Boys a run for their money on a Carter Family cover and nearly overpowered
Prine's voice with a three-guitar take on "Picture Show.''
But the heart of Prine's set came when Prine was at the heart of it.
Mid-show, the musicians disappeared and it was just one of America's
best singer/songwriters in the spotlight.
The stripped-down style let the show become all about that voice and
those words with narratives like "Jesus The Missing Years'' and "Sam
The set drew heavily from Prine's 2000 release "Souvenirs,''
acoustic versions of 15 of his songs - many of them from his first three
While nobody does sad and lonely better than Prine on "Hello in There''
and "Angel from Montgomery,'' the crowd also heard a souped-up,
swaggering "Ain't Hurtin' Nobody'' and a full-on "Lake Marie.''
The older Prine gets, the more emotion in his voice. The older the
songs get, the more poignant their messages. The older the fans get, the
more they appreciate both.
Great John Prine concert in a modern performing arts center with state of the art acoustics! This was the John Prine show I have always wanted to
see. (I first went to see John back in '74 or '75 at Boston's Symphony Hall where he performed with an electric guitar and a rock style backup band). Large doses of just Prine and his guitar. He played tunes from through-out his career.
Oh Boy recording artist, Todd Snider, was the opening act. He played a couple of songs including Class of 85 and Beer Run. I felt the highlight of his performance was a very funny song in the Woody Guthrie/Bob Dylan talking blues style about a folk group moving to
Seattle to become a grunge band in order to make big money.
Of course the real excitement started when John Prine came out to play. John Prine day in Green Bay is the equivalent of Christmas for many people or so it seems. I was sitting up in the mezzanine and tried to write the setlist down on a piece of paper but it was so dark that I quit after the first six songs. Here they are: 1) Spanish Pipedream 2) Six
O'clock News 3) Souvenirs 4) Fish & Whistle 5) Grandpa Was A Carpenter and 6) The Late John Garfield Blues.
After that he played (I am not sure of the correct order): Angel From Montgomery (for Bonnie
Raitt, John said he did that song in Austin on Thursday for her TV show), That's The Way The World Goes Round (with an added big
enchilada verse), The Sins of Memphisto, Bottomless Lake, In Spite of Ourselves, Picture Show, The Other Side of Town, All The Best, Bear Creek, Jesus: The Missing Years, and the last song was Lake Marie. I may have missed one or two.
For an encore he came back out to thunderous applause and did: Ain't Hurtin Nobody, Killing The Blues (dedicated to the concert promoter), Illegal Smile, Sam Stone, and Paradise.
What more could you ask for? Well maybe, People Putting People Down? No that would be greedy. But I do wish more John Prine fans would keep track of setlists and post them so we all could see what he's playing these days. Just a Green Bay Christmas wish I guess.