Bruce Charmed Me Last Night
I watched a couple of hundred people fall in love with Bruce Cockburn last night at Variety Playhouse … and I left with a bit of a crush myself. His voice is still strong and clear, his lyrics beautiful, his personality darling. And, damn, he’s beautiful with that white head of hair.
The crowd was interesting. More white coifs than I’ve seen in a while — but a lot of twenty- and thirtysomethings, too. I sat two rows behind a fiftyish dad and his two teenaged sons (sporting beautiful, brightly hued heads). Before the show each read (New Yorker for the dad, sci-fi for sons). Once Bruce came out, all three were head-bopping and singing along.
Daddy-O wrote a wonderful post about Cockburn and the show, so I’m not going to attempt to top it. Read his account, then come back and tell me if you’re jealous that you weren’t with me last night.
I was mesmerized for two hours. I was familiar with about a third of the songs he performed, but that doesn’t matter when you’re listening to someone like Bruce Cockburn. His third song was “Wondering Where the Lions Are” and, with a little encouragement from Bruce we all sang along. I enjoyed what he performed from the new album and bought a copy during intermission; it’s quite good, and includes guests such as Ani DiFranco and Ron Sexsmith.
My favorite part of the evening, though, wasn’t a song — but his explanation why he got distracted toward the end of one song. He explained that singing “bed banging against the wall” (or something like that) reminded him of the first time his parents were sure he was having sex … when he was fifty. He and his partner were visiting his parents, and slept on an old, crickety iron bed. [Fill in your own blanks here.] At breakfast the next morning his mother his mother was too embarrassed to look at him … but his father looked at him with envy. A great story that added intimacy to the room, to make you feel as if you were hanging with a friend, not listening to a performer.
August began with Tom Waits and ended with Bruce Cockburn. Not a bad month, not a bad month at all. Wait until you see what September holds for me.
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