Wednesday, July 16, 2003
Bruce Cockburn at the Birchmere, Alexandria VA 7-15-03
Tried and Tested
Lovers in a Dangerous Time
Mighty Trucks of Midnight
New lyrics - "Vietnam was yesterday, Kabul and Bagdad was today" and Commies
Are now bad guys
Bruce invited the audience to sing along on this one, but I don't notice enthusiastic audience participation. However there is applause.
Afterward someone yells out what about weapons of mass destruction. Bruce says you can abbreviate that WMD. It sort of puts it on the same plane as WD40, or just W…you just never know what will come out of this town, do you.
Wait No More
Postcards from Cambodia
Bone in my Ear - - Asked what he is playing (it looks like a small green ukulele) Bruce says he plays an South American Charango, and xplains that traditionally they are made of armadillo shell. Someone reminds him he has one like that and he says yes he does, but this one is a solid body electric one made in Toronto.
All Our Dark Tomorrows - electronic birds add an eerie sound that continue for a minute after the vocals and instruments stop.
Pacing the Cage
You've Never Seen Everything
If I Had A Rocket Launcher
To Raise the Morning Star
some in the crowd gave this a standing ovation. The guy next to me says "that was fantastic"
Last Night of the World
Whole Night Sky
Call It Democracy
Let the Bad Air Out
I had no ticket, the Birchmere show in Alexandria Va is sold out, but I drive 1 ½ hours hoping to get in. My brother's advice on getting a ticket outside a large rock concert doesn't apply here. The Birchmere has general admission. It also has a line ticket ritual - even with a ticket in hand you wait in line to get a line number to be first (or 2nd or 3rd etc) in to choose a seat. The line for a line number started at 2:30 pm for a 7:30 pm show. When I arrive at 4pm the line is the length of the warehouse sized building.
I find someone else who needs a ticket and his advice is to ask the box office if they have any (even though Ticketmaster has zero). We get in line, go in at 5 pm and the box office has a few tickets. He and I get in! (And an hour later another man who happens to sit beside me also tries the box office and they still have a ticket.)
While waiting for the box office (and line number distribution) to begin at 5 pm, we discuss our fall back strategies if we don't get a Birchmere ticket. We are both considering going to Philadelphia to the Keswick in October. He tells me once he saw Bruce here, and went to New York the next day to see him. I sit with people who also saw Bruce Cockburn in New York. I have gone as far as Harrisburg, Pa. !
In the lobby, I greet Pat Klink, a member of a singer-songweriter trio, We're About Nine. When I am seated, I tell people I sit with about my blog on concerts (http://folkfan.blogspot.com). We chat about other acts we like and I learn the man across from me likes the Kennedys. I tell him We're About Nine opened for the Kennedys, that I recently wrote about We're about Nine in my blog, and I point out Pat in his seat across the room.
The people I couple I sit across from have also seen Bruce in NY and other places. She is from the city of Quebec, and her slight but lovely accent is because French is her first language. She very much hopes Bruce will sing Stolen Lands. She heard him sing it here last year and wants to hear it again. He doesn't sing it. Luckily she just bought a CD that has it.
Bruce talks very little about the songs. The songs speak for themselves in this show.
I wonder about this crowd. Who would come to hear songs like these? Are they all very dedicated fans like the ones I have met? Who comes to a concert where so many songs are about our times using themes like greed and "dark finance", idiotic or corrupt leaders, and violence - a la Tried and Tested, Mighty Trucks of Midnight, Burn (updated by minor minor changes to the lyrics), Postcards from Cambodia, All Our Dark Tomorrows, Trickle Down, Call It Democracy, Night Train (with its absence of vision), You've Never Seen Everything, If I Had A Rocket Launcher, and Let the Bad Air Out. These are more than half the songs this evening.
There are songs about dealing with dark situations created by these leaders like Lovers in a Dangerous Time, Pacing the Cage (sometimes the best map will not guide you), The Whole Night Sky.
Consolation songs are of birth (Messanger Wind - but am I ready to be born?) death (Celestial Horses well for me has death imagery but also transformation and the ecstasy of being here now), Wait no More "One day we'll wake to remember how lovely we are" , and Open. These songs hint at how the inner "opening' is related to the outer world, and this is explicit in Last Night of the World "I've seen the flame of hope among the hopeless, And that was truly the biggest heartbreak of all".
At the break I ask friends for comment about this show. All they can say is "the old lyrics are still relevant" and "these lyrics are the Bible".
I have wondered recently where our prophets are. In Old Testament days the Jewish people had prophets who told rulers and peoples what was wrong in society with honesty and perhaps divinely inspired exposes. I don't see any politicians being prophetic. I do hear that kind of honesty in this music.
There is the raw beauty of the music too. I find a perfect seat. There is a slight raised level on the back half of the audience floor. Separating the back upper half which is maybe 12 to 18 inches higher, from the front seating section is a wooden backing topped with a railing about waist height. On the lower level in front are bench type seats. But I sat at a table in the middle on the upper level, right next to the wooden half wall and railing. I find when I lean into it with my knees and hands and arms - I can feel the vibrations of the drums. If I were deaf, touching this wood, I would feel the entire rhythm of the concert. I am even more in the moment and with the beat.
The music is exquisite. The man beside me wants to meet whoever did the arrangements.
I am awed by the number of instruments the four musicians play. It's Steve Lucas on bass, Ben Riley on drums and the incredible Julie Wolf on keyboard and backup vocals and accordion. I love to see her take up the accordion, and her vocals add so much.
Julie's keyboarding is highlighted during Mighty Truck of Midnight and the crowd roars with appreciation.
The electronic music - the birds in All Our Dark Tomorrows, and other electronic additions to a few other songs add to the rich rich musical texture.
I was afraid with the band I would not hear the songs as well as I did when Bruce was here solo last year. Actually I "heard" much better and in a new way. The new CD came alive for me, and I will appreciate it much more now that I have heard the songs live. I was going to say I would enjoy it more - but when I listen to the words of some of these songs - enjoy is not the right word.
Tuesday, July 15, 2003
7-12-2003 – Dawson House Concert in Potomac, Md
As we enter the Dawson House Concert, the host Gene is trying to tune in a tape of a TV show of one of his past house concerts from a Montgomery County local TV channel.
While the host is trying to watch a tape of one of his past shows, tonight we are here to see is a live concert.
I think Gene does not find show, I am not sure. But see the schedule at the end of this post - Gene sent this out yesterday to let all of know when it is on, on local stations in nearby counties.
I tell several people that I hear the Baltimore Sun article on the Panzer House concert probably will be in the Sun on Thurs. 7-17-03. Newspaper and now local TV are really picking up on the House Concert phenomena! We meet several couples here who attending a house concert for the first time, having read about the Dawson’s in the local Gazette.
We came to see Rick and Audrey, who we have seen many times before, and chat with them as they are setting up in the living room. We have heard that Dulcie Taylor is good too, but are seeing her for the first time tonight.
I ask Gene and Sue about their upcoming daughter’s wedding, which preempts any house concert in Sept. (But two concerts in July and one in August – all with wonderful performers. A lot to do while planning a wedding! You folks are great!)
Opening first is Tom Forsey, a singer-songwriter, discovered by the Dawsons at the song-circle following their April concert. Gene introduces Tom as one who creates vivid pictures of characters, has raspy vocals and a world-weary tone. All this is evident in his justice seeking song from his soon to be released 3rd CD. The song is titled:
When the Anchor Takes Them Down
Two in A Million - is a song that is an unique mix of gratitude and independence
Clear Out of Here – a song all commuters can relate to.
Rick and Audrey are next accompanied by Dayana Yochim, a treasure of a cello player (She is the second cello player in the Dawson’s living room. The first was Fred Lieder who accompanied Lisa Moscatiello.) The cello adds so much, is it a new trend in singer-songwriter music? I first saw Dayana with Rick and Audrey at Margie’s Baltimore House concert in the winter and love what Dayana adds to this group. Rick and Audrey play many instruments themselves. They didn’t bring all with them, but Audrey did put on a set of ankle bells. Oh “folk” music is getting more exciting! This music is playful. joyful, harmonious – fun. Their set includes:
Open the Gate Love – the only song I have heard inspired by a Commodore 64 computer game, a song of fantasy, with fairy tale qualities – charming.
Denmark Ain’t so Far from Here
Audrey’s song about falling in love on a boat trip
Shining, Shine Shining
And I am smiling, smiling smiling. Their set is too short. When can I hear them again? Oh at the Year of the Rabbit in Bowie Md on 8/1 and at the Takoma Park Folk Festival, on 9/7/. And if I can sell the Bruce Springsteen ticket I foolishly bought not remembering Peter Mayer was going to be at the House in the Woods barn concert on 9/13, I could see them open for Peter Mayer. And Sat, 9/19 Opening for Billy Jonas! At the 333 Coffeehouse –Annapolis, MD. And of course online, from their Washington Post MP3 page - http://mp3.washingtonpost.com/bands/rick_audrey.shtml.
The main act is Dulcie Taylor accompanied by John Landau and Robert Schonberger– Impressively Dulcie just opened for John Gorka at the Ramshead -– these first songs are off her current CD’s:
I Don’t Know Anymore
It Ain’t Love
Goodnight ‘Til Then
Spirit of Love
The songs after the break are from the new CD she is working on -
The Other Side of the Bed
Out of my Blood
Pillow like a Stone
Easy for You
Love Like Yours and Mine
Too far to Fall
An audience member, Jean (who overcame a great deal to make it tonight) had urged Gene for months to book Rick and Audrey and Dulcie Taylor. Gene gives her for credit for making great recommendations! At the break, Jean praises Dulcie. I am not sure I can quote her exactly, but basically that her songs are so sweet, they touch everyone. She should be world renown. She has such a way with words…you see a new thought (a new way of seeing things).
Karen (a Mack Bailey fan) introduces me to a duo, Bumpkin Pie, whom she and others here have seen at the open mike at the Jammin Java and elsewhere. Bumpkin Pie’s Michael Dunkley is a great Dulcie Taylor fan. He says she has a nice balance of southern compassion with just a touch of mischief; her songs are about real life, and she has a wonderful spirit.
For several songs Dulcie played a lovely lap dulcimer and sings with her lyrical Southern accent. I think her songs speak clearly and directly to the audience. To me, her songs have a country music sound, somewhat like what I might hear on the radio. My husband and the audience love it.
I am impressed with her presence; these are my impressions only - I see her as the kind of Southern woman who knows who she is. And it is like her aura is both unassuming and one of quality – as though at some level she doesn’t need to prove anything. Her art just is, it flows through her and she is the quality that transmits it.
There is a song circle after this concert but we couldn’t stay this time. We don’t know how late the music continued. Thanks Gene and Susan for great hospitality (gourmet snacks), and an abundance of music – more than we could sample given our schedule the next day.
COFFEEHOUSE TV SCHEDULE
Mark Cohen, Host of the Coffeehouse TV program aired on various cable TV channels produced a house concert special on the emerging popularity of house concerts that airs now through the end of August. Featured venues are: Dawsonconcerts, North Potomac, MD, Weil Sing, Takoma Park, MD, Holden's Lair, Baltimore, MD. Following is the airing schedule for The Coffee House:
District of Columbia Channel 5 (Comcast); 10 (Starpower): Sundays, July 20, and August 3, 17, and 31, at 6:30 p.m.
Anne Arundel County Channel 99: Sundays at 9 p.m.
Baltimore City Channel 42/5: Saturdays at noon and 6 p.m.; Mondays, 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.; Thursdays, 4 p.m. and 10 p.m. (or call 410-951-4200 for any change in scheduling)
Carroll County Channel 19: Thursdays at 3 p.m.
Harford County Channel 3 (Comcast 7): Mondays at 8:30 p.m.; Wednesdays at 4 p.m.
Howard County Channel 71: Thursdays at 11 a.m., 4 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Montgomery County Channel 13: Tuesdays, 10 a.m. and 8 p.m.; Thursdays, 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.; Saturdays at 7 p.m.; and Sundays at 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. (beginning mmediately)
Montgomery County - Channel 21: Wednesdays at 11:30 p.m.; Thursdays, 4:30 p.m.; Saturdays at 8 p.m.; and Sundays at 11 a.m. (beginning Wednesday, July 16)
Prince George's County - Channel 76: Mondays, July 21 & 28, and August 18 & 25, at 10:30 p.m.; Tuesdays, July 22 & 24, and August 19 & 26 at 6 p.m.; and
Thursdays, July 24 & 31, and August 21 & 28 at 6 p.m.
Virginia Arlington Channel 33: Wednesdays at noon; Sundays at 10:30 p.m.
Virginia - Fairfax County Channel 10: Thursdays, July 24 & August 28 at 11:00 p.m.; Fridays, July 25 & August 29 at 10:30 p.m.