"SOLD OUT" BECOMES BY-WORD
Arriving about noon, the temperature in this way-up-there city was already at 80 degrees. This was a surprise, because only hours earlier on the road temperatures had been in the low 50's.
The Guthrie Theater was soon located, not too far from the Interstates....course....in Minneapolis there is NO place very far from an interstate. Homeless can stay out of the sun by just hanging around the city. Overhead is nothing but curving concrete, it seems, and all going somewhere else.
Guthrie had some production the evening before set around a castle, a huge entrance, and lots of furniture. It is almost "in the round" in that the pie-shape goes about half a pie, with the seats rising sharply. The performers and their stage protrudes into the half-circle, and thus the viewers on the side get an entirely different view of the stage and the production.
Crews at midday were working in unison to move the entire set into the huge backroom storage area, pushing it carefull through corridors and finally packing it away so tonight's show could be set up.
Parking in downtown Minneapolis is highly limited. I talked to the guard at an insurance lot next door, and he says he opens it up for Guthrie parking at night, when he has to go home. He was extremely friendly and helpful in offering me advice on where to park at mid-day. My walk was less than two blocks, thanks to him.
Guthrie appears to be a modern theater, designed to shock, perhaps, with the vast glass sections seen from the street. I look forward to hearing the acoustics and watching the show from the different angles promised by the Guthrie's layout.
Throngs of people were awaiting the opening of the double sets of doors to gain entrance to the beautiful Guthrie Theater in downtown Minneapolis Monday night.
RB Morris, buoyed by his successes at each concert, had given another good show that left its mark in the minds of the hundreds of Prine fans in attendance. The applause he received was genuine and deserved: a few more minutes allowed him at the end would have permitted him an encore, as the crowd was incessant in their praise. RB again hit the mark.
John and his musicians consisting of Jason Wilbur and David Jacques, bass and lead respectively, were greeted by thunderous applause. The cheering continued....and continued. John was visibly impressed. Normally he launches directly into "Blow Up Your TV" immediately, and leaves greetings and amenities for the next song. Here, it could not go unremarked. John stepped up to the microphone, grinned, and blurted out "Thanks!" Then they lit off, full speed, into the number.
After the greetings for RB and the thunderous applause at John's appearance on stage, I was set for a wild night from the fans. Remarkably, they sat in their seats and listened: they heard, they understood, they laughed, and at least one fan later told me she cried....on "You've Got Gold." John simply mesmerized this anxious audience: or is the right word hypnotized?
There was definitely some trance over the proceedings. Jason's work, while lacking the spotlight that would be most appropriate during his riffs, was still noted by the appreciative crowd. On more than one occasion the music needed an extra measure or two to allow the clapping for his efforts to die down. The band was welcome, and they could feel the vibrations from the crowd.
"Lake Marie" proved to be a good closing number, as the fans finally stood up, applauding. Realizing that the night's songs were rapidly coming to a close, they cheered and clamored for more. John left the stage: sometimes he adds another before leaving for the encore, but this was the ideal point on Monday night.
Four encore songs were done, with a standing crowd on "Paradise," and frequent applause mid-song for both Jason and RB. A surprise pulled out just for this crowd was "Sabu Visits The Twin Cities."
The crowd held applause for the most part until the line, "from the jungles of East St. Paul!" Then it hit home to them and they clapped their approval for being included in Prine's world.
This show, the third in three nights, caused no visible strain from the pressures of travel and stress of deadlines. A smooth, sound-worthy concert was presented. The crowd was reluctant to leave at the end of the evening: indeed, seemed ready for the evening to begin...
GUTHRIE THEATER: AFTER THE BALL
Guthrie theater turned out to be a vessel for listening, as acoustics were perfect. The shows watched were both visible and audible virtually everywhere within the intimate setting.
Built in 1963, the theater has been maintained to the point of perfection, and was spotless, both in the theater and out in the spacious all-white lobby.
Running into Ben Lewis and his sister just before showtime was an unexpected treat, and I was able to talk with Mr. Lewis more than I ever had in the past.
We waited in the outside lobby for our time with John, and everyone was in good spirits and still elated by the fine show seen just moments earlier.
When John, only a short time after the show, invited everyone back, we walked the long hallways back to a huge "prop" room, filled with all styles of old sofas and chairs. It was spacious enough that he had virtually everyone waiting come back at once, and we all milled about, talking with each other while waiting.
Jason, David, and RB came in and were welcomed by the fans, and a lot of autograph signing took place. Even Eric came by, and his fatigue from the past three or four days was clear in his tired eyes. He remained in good spirits, however, vowing to make the 525-mile trip to Traverse City in one shot on the next day.
Concert: Guthrie Theater, Minneapolis, MN
JOHN PRINE SET LIST,
©1996-2016 John Prine Shrine