Prine show diary:
The Prine & DeMent set in Whitewater WI
He introduced "Crazy as a Loon" about a man who has trouble that follows him where ever he goes, and it never occurs to him that he's the one causing it. I love the melody especially when John ends it with a loon call. Yep, he made bird sounds right there at the end of the song on the end of the stage - it caught me in a kind of "what in the hell was that" moment ... ahhh, always a surprise at a Prine concert.
Three were highlights upon highlights - next up was Dear Abby, and in the second verse, he just sang siiiiii-iiiiigned... paused for a moment, grinned, played a little more, then explained that he'd paused because in anticipation of the next verse because it was true... "no, it's not", he chuckled.
Dave and Jason left the stage and John began his famous solo set of Sam Stone, he called out his favorite girl singer to join him and they proceeded to sing "Milwaukee Here I Come" both were shuffling around the stage, sort of dancing and a lot of grinning, Iris DeMent and John Prine just plain enjoy singing together. Iris can harmonize so well with John - it's kind of a shame that she has her own career, because I think she is his best singing partner to date - they need to do an album together.
Prine talked about his album "In Spite of Ourselves" and what a good time it was touring for it, how when he and Iris toured for that album they saw a lot of dogs...she giggled, he giggled (maybe because there was a snow dog show at the Young Library while they were preparing for the show). He went on to tell the story of Bobby Braddock's song "Jet Set" and how he nearly drove off the rode the first time he had heard weenies and martinis rhymed in a song. Then the Prine and DeMent delighted us with their version.
John told us about his acting career and how it consisted of 2 movies where he played the Brother-in-law with low self esteem in both movies. So if you are looking for someone to play that part in your movie, I'm the guy. He continued talking about "Daddy and Them" and how this song was written for the credits, how he played Andy Griffith's son and how that meant he was Opie's step brother - he had us all laughing by the time he and Iris sang their famous duet of "In Spite of Ourselves" - which John noted that he and Iris are now famous because of that song and it is the hit of weddings and for pissing of the in-laws. What fun, the song and story had everyone laughing throughout, Iris's cheeks didn't even turn bright red when she sang the line about sniffin' undies.
I can't remember when Dave and Jason returned or when Iris left... but I know the boys were present for a rousing "Bear Creek" - again, it was like a new song, the sound was so wonderful - I especially love when John sings on this... the whew's and highs... are infectious, really would love to jump out of my seat and go on up to bear creek too.
He talked about his wife Fiona and how she's a Donegal Ireland girl -"she's in China right now, and asked me if I wanted to go" he made a face as if to say, do I look crazy? " I'd rather be in Arkansas fishing - it doesn't take as long to get there" then he sang her love song "She Is My Everything"
Next up was rocker "I Ain't Hurtin' Nobody" done in a sort of punkish way... I mean, he walked around the stage playing as if to say, I ain't hurtin nobody and if you think I am, then come on over here and I'll hurt you. Can't put my finger on it, but it was great, tough, and there was no arguing about it.
"This is for Reeda Buresh" he began to sing "Hello In There" squeeze of the knee from the husband and such an honor. I figured there was a subliminal message in it to show that he is checking into the shrine... he's such a clever fellow and I melted into my seat. Once I came back to reality, I do remember Dave and Jason returning to the stage at the end of this song.
Uh oh... they started into "Lake Marie" I knew the show was nearly over, because when he hits that "Ooooh Baby we gotta go now" part, he means it. They played like their pants were on fire. John definitely has some new strings on that guitar of his, because he played it like he was on a mission to get the killer. Just banged on his guitar like there was no tomorrow, It was a story, It was a song, it was the best damn version of Lake Marie I had heard in a long time. He strutted from side to side - shook a leg til I was afraid he was going to shake it off - and woke up little Susie and his brown eyed girl to boot. With the end of the song, he saluted the balcony, introduced Dave and Jason again and they walked off to loud applause and whistles that didn't stop until they came back for an encore.
Iris came back out to sing a haunting version of Unwed Fathers and then he called to his little brother Billy to join them. John's eyes just sparkle when his brothers join him on stage, both of his eyes were sparkling tonight and Billy did an impressive verse of Paradise in a proud hoarse tone, keeping time with his feet and making a statement with the lines. this was his song too. I know I have seen Billy on stage with John before, but tonight, I could hear him and was amused and amazed.
What a great show... I wish I had some more adjectives to use for a John Prine concert, because they are never alike. Tonight the songs flowed from one to another, not too slow or too fast. Everyone's spirits were high and the well didn't run dry.
AFTER THE SHOW
After a bit of waiting a few of us were ushered down to see John. Dave Jacques was ready with his beautiful baby bump pictures, excited to become a Father around Mother's day and Jason was looking forward to his house concert in Madison the next day, which, had been rescheduled because the weather had dropped to 8 below zero and the wind chill was -40. Better to be safe than sorry. Either everyone was clicking photographs or showing off their photos - Kathy had lots of pictures of bears and deer in her front yard. I stayed back to wait my turn patiently and he caught my eye "Reeda, get on over here...of course I stopped, dropped and rolled on over to a welcoming hug. I didn't bring my bag of Prine stuff in with me and really wasn't going to run out in that weather after it, I apologized for being a slacker and he seemed a little relieved. We pretty much just made small talk - again, me with my purse full of Sharpies ready for the writing. I showed him the old illegal smile tee shirt I had worn and the necklaces that "Crabby Char" was handing out free to Prine fans. He went gaga over necklaces, and she just beamed (nanner nanner nanner Char, told you so). Char had enough necklaces left to give to him, Iris had joined us by then and "oooh, can I have one" came out of her mouth... John offered his, I offered mine... but I think Charlene was able to accommodate Iris too. You can tell that no matter how big John's britches get, he's got his belt cinched and is genuinely moved by the talent and kindness of his fans. Kathy47 brought her delicacies and they were all hungry to eat and began munching on her treats. They like it when Kathy comes to the shows. John asked if I was being good (not getting frisked by security or forced to do stupid human tricks) - I asked him what did he suppose it was that caused him to flub up on occasion like that... he chuckled, looked me straight in the eye and answered "because I thought you liked it when I flubbed" - always ready with just the right answer.
What a magical night, what a great concert... the greatest so far of my 33 times seeing him.... I know, I will say that the next one is the greatest too and even though I know it will begin with Spanish Pipedream and end with Paradise - there is a method and magic and an order to John's shows, making each and every one of them different in their own way and always better than the one before...setting some kind of mood.
I couldn't think of a better way to spend a miserable frozen night - I'm still warm from this one. Please keep bringing your sunshine to the midwest and feed our daisies... we love you here.
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