Monday, April 19, 2010

Bruce Cockburn at the Coach House

It is almost always a fun time when we go to the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano. The crowds are almost always polite and they seat you for dinner next to total strangers who often become your best friends (at least for the evening). So it was Friday night, where we met a friendly couple from San Diego who were not only seeing Bruce for the first time, but where at the Coach House for the first time. I explained their dining choices (beef okay, chicken dry, ranch dressing is the only choice - although they now have Caesar) and we then spend the next hour and half talking music. A very familiar story, as was much of Bruce Cockburn's show. But not as familiar as you might think.

The stage was flanked by two huge wind chime like devices that we later found out Bruce could control with his foot. Actually, control isn't a good work, since he just pumped his foot and the metal clanger (or whatever it was called) seemed to hit the bars randomly. There was no opening act and Bruce came out and started right in on some of the crowd's favorites. After about a half hour, he switched gears and started playing new music. Some of the new songs were instrumentals (this is where he used the chimes) on guitar or Charango in one case. There was a wonderfully weird song about Richard Nixon (sort of) and a few others that I can't remember now. But I enjoyed them all. His first set lasted about an hour. After the break, he came back and continued to mix old with new songs. I have always enjoyed the solo Bruce over the band Bruce because of his amazing guitar playing. Although I liked his instrumentals, I felt that they take away from the pace and the power of the show. Bruce Cockburn has lots to say about this world, and he can't really say it with an instrumental. Still, the two plus hours he played were excellent and we had a great time.

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