I promised a report on the live Bruce Cockburn show in Seattle on Wednesday, so here it is at last.

Bruce played an intimate set in the beautiful Nordstrom Recital Hall, a smaller venue adjoining Benaroya Hall in downtown Seattle. He was meditative, less talkative than usual (probably because this is the tour promoting his instrumental collection Speechless.) But his guitar playing was as transporting and gorgeous as ever. When he sang, the songs focused on travel, vehicles, change, violence, and a yearning for the coming day when he will shuffle off this mortal coil.

After performing two new songs about his visit to Baghdad and his frustrations with Dubya, someone shouted, “Play a happy song!” Everyone laughed, and then he smirked and replied, “I’ll play one of the party songs I’m known for…” Hilarious.

Here’s a run-down of the set-list:

Rouler Sa Bosse
Going to the Country
Silver Wheels
Mighty Trucks of Midnight (Second only to “Lord of the Starfields” as my favorite song of his, and it sounded GREAT.)
King Kong Goes to Tallahassee
Wondering Where the Lions Are
If a Tree Falls
Elegy (A glorious, soulful instrumental that would have been right at home on Bill Frisell’s Ghost Town.)
Wait No More
Water into Wine
All the Ways I Want You
Put It In Your Heart
This is Baghdad (A broad-stroke, simplistic summation of the Iraq War as AMERICA BAD AND EVIL/IRAQIS SCARED AND VULNERABLE. He probably could have written this after reading any Bush-bashing editorial; not sure why he had to go to Baghdad to find these lyrics.)
Tell the Universe (Or better, TELL THE UNIVERSE DUBYA IS A BASTARD.)
After the Rain
Last Night of the World
The End of All Rivers (One of the highlights, an energetic instrumental fed through an echo box that created a spellbinding loop, so it sounded like three dueling guitars.)
Messenger Wind
If I Had a Rocket Launcher
Pacing the Cage (Exquisite, brought tears to many eyes, mine included.)
Mistress of Storms
Mystery (A delightful new folky singalong-style song. “I was built on a Friday and you can’t fix me/ you can’t fix me/ you can’t fix me.”)

You can see recent photos and other information about recent shows at CockburnProject.net.

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