Prine show diary:
Little monkey's a gatherin' for some Prine stories
Renewed Venue with a Prine show that renews the soul!
It had been 9 months since we'd seen John Prine and were due to deliver this starving baby at the Paramount Theatre Cedar Rapids in just a few hours. The excitement was building in me as I thought to myself... "How is he going to top the last one?"
and contacted Rumbleshorts (from Minnesota) and Crabby Char (from Wisconsin). We arranged to meet at the Dublin City Pub which was just around the corner from the Paramount theatres.
The pub was filling up and it was the place to be. The Iowa game was blaring on the huge TV's - the patrons were blaring too. It was a looooong wait for drinks and food, seemed like Dublin City was short staffed, but that didn't put a damper on our excitement. Before long we were joined by our daughter Lydia and her "boo" Andy, Lyla LuluWalls, Baby Ruth and her friend and we shared our table with several new Prine fan friends biding their time.
We walked the block to the Paramount with full bellies and wandered inside this stunningly beautiful venue. The Paramount was nearly 100 years old and at some point in it's life was doomed to be demolished. The floods of 2008 buried it's lower floors in mucky sludge. You never would have known it - I was taken back to Vaudeville times - a perfect setting for a cozy John Prine concert!
First on stage was Peter Case... who knew that he was such a raging talent about to blow us away? This eclectic looking man in the newsboy cap entertained us like nobodies business. He did an 8 song set that included his song that was used in the True Blood series called "Two Angels". He "abluesed" his guitar and harmonica and sang with such a fever we became instant fans.
1. You Can Put Down Your Guitar
6. Broke Down Aunt Jemima
7. We'll All Meet Again at the End of the Long Good Time
8. First Flight
Peter left the stage to a rousing applause.
Intermission time, folks are scurrying around. I stayed and stared at the the walls and ceiling from my seat- chatted a bit with fellow Iowan and huge Prine fan Mike Maynes. The empty seats began to fill as the lights flickered their signals - for a good 10 minutes all the late comers came in the dark causing Prine's opening song to be a bit hidden behind up-and-down bodies ... I guess it's better to be late to a Prine show than to never have gotten to see him live.....it just sucks for the people who are on time.
John was introduced and the whooping and hollering began as more fans rushed to their seats amid ushers flashlights. Dave Jacques, John Prine and Jason Wilber blew his level headed dancer all over the stage as the audience went wild... just long enough so that they didn't miss too many of the words. There was a hush until they all "found Jesus on their own".
More exuberent hollerings of "Hallelujah" "We love you John" "This guy's a god" Yeah, it was a religious experience...
The sound was exceptional.. I clearly could hear the beautiful harmonies of Jacques and Wilber, their instrumentals were like new and so stupendous. John travelled the stage from side to side and up front giving everyone a good view and checking out whatever he checks out from the very front of the stage. He had happy feet and once went back to dance the cha-cha with the tall speakers. He joked and told stories we had never heard, quipped during songs and his enjoyment was so infectious it didn't matter that the ladies infernal cell phone was obnoxious or the guy in front of me could not keep still... it didn't matter at all.
It was fun watching the crew run around the stage and plug things in or move wires around....everyone got in on the show and it just couldn't have been better. He sang them all like there was no tomorrow, unfortunately at the point where they walk off stage and we clap for more, there was a tomorrow.... Due to curfews John and the band sort of did a pirouette and stayed on stage whle Eric and Faddy hurried to get Peter Case set up... and BAM.... we were in Paradise then BAM BAM BAM the lights went up and the show was over. I felt a little disoriented, I wanted more - how selfish, because what we got that night just couldn't have gotten any better.
The Set List
2. Crooked Piece of Time
3. Humidity Built the Snowman
4. Your Flag Decal Won't Get You Into Heaven Anymore
5. Six o'Clock News (A woman yelled "Love you Jason" and John stopped what he was doing and gave Jason a look of disbelief and laughed - it was hilarious.
7. Grandpa Was a Carpenter
8. Taking a Walk
9. There She Goes
10. Christmas in Prison
11. Fish and Whistle
at this point the wires on stage were getting wonky and the handsome crew tried to re-attach and remove them all while trying to be invisible.... John just joked it away.
12. You Got Gold
13. Glory of True Love
Jason had some hellacious solos so at the end of the song John remarked that Jason played all the good parts and "I taught him everything he knows"
14. Angel From Montgomery
15. Donald and Lydia - solo
16. Space Monkey - solo
He told a great story about pineapple wallpaper, broken cuckoo clock that went uckoo and how he and Peter Case wrote this song.
17. Dear Abby
18. Sam Stone
19. That's Alright By Me
20. Saddle in the Rain
21. Hello In There
22. Lake Marie
He danced all around the stage and went to the back and danced the cha cha cha with the speaker behind Jason Wilber.... it was wonderful and yes, Mr Prine can shake a leg or two!!
23. Paradise - joined by Peter Case.
Seriously, I think that only fault you could find with this concert is that danged curfew....John was so utterly fabulous and feeling so good that it infected us all - we were in another time and having so much fun that he literally had to be stopped by his road manager who was pointing at his watch and waving the men to not leave the stage. Oh how I would love the day when John can get on stage and play until he is done playing.... to hours on end, any song he feels like, however he feels like doing it. Just talking about how spot on this show was makes me all giddy, it truly was the best of Prine times! The guy in front of me would say the same thing, he was so excited, not so much in an obnoxious way, he would yell "Hallelujah" "This man is a god" "You still got it John" "That's some good stuff" "That's Powerful" he was so happy to be there.
Some of the photos that weren't exceptionally horrible......
Lights go on and our little pack of Prine Shriners gathered to share our delight and details of this show until the clean-up crew said that we had to leave.
Fortunately I had talked to John earlier and we were able to see him after the show. As we waited we learned more about the fantastic Paramount theatre from it's proud staff members. Time passed quickly and we were ushered back to a beautiful cozy room lined with couches, overstuffed chairs, food, drinks, fridge it was quite the relaxing set-up for an American treasure....
Crabby Char got her big fat love hug and a leg forever autographed in a dark thick Sharpie - she was going to have it tattooed the very next day. I said something about not having the guts to do that and John said with a quick witted grin and twinkle in his eye - "She's dedicated" Now she will be forever inked and recorded in the Tattoo section of the Priine shrine!!
We all talked about his recent appearance on the Colbert Report - and how much fun they all had doing it. John was so good and so funny on the show, I just assumed that he was well practiced or that they did the interview in several takes. OH NO, NOT SO - John did it cold, one take, silly me for thinking that this quick thinking wry wordster needed to practice. Yes, he did it cold.....Johnny on the spot. He was tickled at the fact that Colbert was such a huge fan and that he joined John on "Paradise" - It was such a fun experience and they all enjoyed themselves.
We talked of the Prine shrine and this is when I found out that he wasn't much on Facebook and preferred to stay in contact with his fans through "his site" meaning the Prine shrine (blush). So with that in mind, click on over to the Fan Forums section, sign up and let everyone know what you are thinking about John Prine.
He spoke of plans to write songs this month during his break between shows. Let's all be excited and hope that his muses amuse him and those thoughts that have been caught in the spaces he walks around in his head get recorded! He had texted me earlier in the day, wanting to know what I might want to hear at the show- I always try for something I've never heard him play or that he never hardly ever plays in public.... he usually chuckles at my stump-the-band attempts and sings them. I think I can say that I did just that this time because he apologized for not playing a one of them. It's not just the song, you know, the song has to fit with the one before it and after it. He just doesn't sing a song to be singing it. He has a plan and it has to fit --- sigh, we non-musicians just don't realize what really goes on when one famous-movie-star-actor-producer-grammy winning-singer-songwriter-poet crafts a set list.
Sitting backstage waiting ever so patiently for me to shut up......
Sooo, it was over. John sends much appreciation and thanks to his fans for coming out to his shows, he also said that he misses the interaction in the Prine shrine. So those of you who are addicted to Facebook, please remember that if you want him to know ... use the forums in the Prine shrine and he will see it. Yes, that came straight from the songwriter's mouth.
Many thanks to Fiona, Mitchell, that tall webmister of mine and everyone that made this fabulous show even more fabulouser.... "Boo" - your Prine cherry was popped and I hope you enjoyed it. Love you Lydia.
and mostly Thank you my friend Johnny P for everything and for thinking about trying to sing songs you don't sing...I guess I can say "Gotcha!" but somehow, it doesn't feel triumphant :) !!
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