John Prine VIRGINIA Concert Reviews
Trap - Filene Center, Vienna, VA
August 27, 2004 -- support: Kris Kristofferson
surprise guest: Maura O'Connell
Protest chorus has familiar ring
Published August 31, 2004
Everything old is new again, the saying goes, and old songwriters who made their mark protesting Vietnam are finding new currency in their greatest hits from the '70s.
Witness Kris Kristofferson, Air Force brat, Rhodes scholar, helicopter pilot, movie star, songwriter. Mr. Kristofferson is briefly touring (six appearances within as many weeks), and opened Friday night at Wolf Trap for fellow '70s songwriting icon John Prine.
He followed that with an appearance Saturday at the Philadelphia Folk Festival, and he has two September dates scheduled for the Midwest.
Both men had songs famously covered by women. Mr. Prine's "Angel From Montgomery" was a signature and breakaway hit for Bonnie Raitt. Mr. Kristofferson's "Me and Bobby McGee" became a musical memorial for Janis Joplin, although Roger Miller took the song, co-written by Mr. Kristofferson and Fred Foster, into the Top 20 on the country charts in 1969.
Mr. Kristofferson and Mr. Prine are probably best known, however, for their biting social commentary.
Mr. Prine drew cheers from a full house at the Filene Center when he introduced "Your Flag Decal Won't Get You Into Heaven Anymore," saying he was performing the tune "by special request of our president.
"It seems he was getting nostalgic for his draft-dodging days," Mr. Prine added, as many in the crowd rose to their feet and applauded.
More political barbs followed. Later in the program, Mr. Prine sang a new song, "Some Humans Ain't Human," written just 10 days earlier, which includes the lyrics "some [jerk] from Texas starts his own war in Iraq."
As with "Decal," the line drew cheers and Mr. Prine said he planned to record it this week for a new CD expected early next year (Fortunately, for him, there was no mass exodus of patrons like the one that befell Linda Ronstadt in Las Vegas recently when she dedicated "Desperado" to "Fahrenheit 9/11" filmmaker Michael Moore).
Aside from that new entry, though, Mr. Prine's show was virtually the same one he gave April 1 at the District's Warner Theatre - right down to the song order and patter between the tunes.
This time he brought out singer Maura O'Connell as a surprise guest, trading verses with her on "Angel From Montgomery."
Similarly, Mr. Kristofferson's opening set remained true to his dark themes of the past 35 years.
Accompanied only by himself fingerpicking a brown sunburst Gibson guitar and occasionally playing a racked harmonica, Mr. Kristofferson, 68, ran through 15 songs in 51 minutes.
Six of the tunes came from his 1970 eponymous first LP: "Darby's Castle," "Best of All Possible Worlds" and "Casey's Last Ride," along with several other standards that he wrote, including "Me and Bobby McGee," "Help Me Make it Through the Night," and "Sunday Morning Coming Down" - 1970's country music song of the year for the late Johnny Cash.
Mr. Kristofferson (who will be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame during "The 38th Annual CMA Awards" airing Nov. 9 on CBS) ended just about every song by saying "thank you," through the microphone just before playing the final chords, failing to let the spell he was weaving with his words fully settle into his listeners.
Although he seemed to be enjoying himself, his performance lacked any visible energy - and the drone of Mr. Prine's fans socializing on the lawn didn't help.
About halfway through his program, Mr. Kristofferson introduced "The Circle," one of two new compositions he performed from his album, "Broken Freedom Song: Live in San Francisco." The song was recorded in 2002 and issued on Mr. Prine's "Oh Boy" label.
He said "The Circle" was inspired by the U.S. bombing of Baghdad by President Clinton which killed Iraqi artist Layla al-Attar. It ended with the lyrics repeating, "I want nothing but the end of the war," a refrain that drew some cheers and one loud "boo" from the upper loge seats.
Settling into his anti-war theme, Mr. Kristofferson sang "Anthem '84," one of three songs he performed from his 1986 "Repossessed" album, an allegorical anti-war song written "as a love song from a soldier to an old girlfriend," he said.
Mr. Kristofferson concluded his performance with "The Silver Tongued Devil and I," the title of his 1971 album, and a selection from his 1990 LP, "Third World Warrior."
At the end of the night, Mr. Prine called him back to the stage to sing along on "The Great Compromise," Mr. Prine's Vietnam-era allegory, and "Paradise," perhaps Mr. Prine's most-covered song.
For raspy songwriters not known for their singing prowess, the two traded verses and harmonized surprisingly well on the choruses.
Protest chorus has familiar ring
PERFORMING ARTS published: Monday, August 30, 2004; Page C05
John Prine showed his political colors at Wolf Trap.
John Prine and Kris Kristofferson
Protest singing has become something of a lost art, but two
great American songwriters and old friends (not to mention Army veterans),
did their best to revive the genre at Wolf Trap Friday night. On a perfect
summer evening, John Prine and Kris Kristofferson's performances pretty
much dashed any chance that they'll be invited to the White House this
year. Kristofferson was up first and played a solo acoustic set. The
silver-maned outlaw's voice is a little rusty, and he laughingly admitted
that his guitar playing is nothing to crow about. Still, he seemed to
relish playing his best-known songs, like "Me and Bobby McGee"
and "Sunday Morning Coming Down." Most of his 45-minute set,
however, was dominated by his political material, including "They
Killed Him" and "Anthem 84," which he ended by playing taps
on his harmonica. He also played a new song, "In the News," a
gloomy cataloguing of American societal ills that ended with the line
"I want nothing but the ending of the war."
Prine, with help from bassist David Jacques and guitarist Jason
Wilber, started off with the cheery "Spanish Pipedream," but it
didn't take him long to join the political fray. He reprised "Your
Flag Decal Won't Get You Into Heaven Anymore," a witty song he wrote
during the Vietnam War. He brought it back, he said, because of "a
special request by our president. It seems like he was getting nostalgic
for his draft-dodger days." Later, on a new song, "Some Humans
Ain't Human," he referred to the president as "an [expletive]
from Texas." Whew! These guys didn't hold back and, judging from
crowd response, they were in friendly territory.
Prine had a few nonpolitical gems up his sleeve as well, of course.
He and his band mates kicked it into gear for a fiery version of the
Carter Family's "Bear Creek Blues," and Irish singer Maura
O'Connell joined him for a soulful, stirring version of "Angel From
Kristofferson returned to join Prine at the end of the show and,
well, the pair couldn't help themselves. They played another of Prine's
Vietnam-era songs, "The Great Compromise," which now seemed
targeted at current administration policies. Protest singing, it seems, is
not dead yet.
Tennessean music writer Peter Cooper
Just call him a Prine time Bush-whacker
Add esteemed, Nashville-based singer-songwriter John Prine to the list of artists who are letting their political opinions be known this election year. ,
During a Friday night show at Wolf Trap in Vienna, Va., Prine sang a song he said was finished only 10 days ago.
The song - called Some Humans Ain't Human - begins with a typical Prine blend of humor and humanity.
''Some humans ain't human/ Some people ain't kind/ Look inside their hearts/ And here's what you'll find/ A few frozen pizzas/ Some ice cubes with hair/ Some broken Popsicles/ You don't want to go there.''
But the 6,500 people in attendance at the D.C.-area event (Vienna is a suburb of Washington) roared loudest after some lines near song's end, as Prine sang of things that seem to derail even happy feelings:
''Or you're feelin' your freedom/ And the world's off your back/ When some (expletive) from Texas/ Starts his own war in Iraq.''
Well folks, this posting is coming to you straight from cloud
nine, where I have been since last night after seeing John Prine and Kris
Kristofferson at Wolftrap last night. They were both at the top of their
game. (as usual) but they were just both so happy to playing together
again. Lotta smilin going on there... I saw the show at the Warner t
heatre not too long ago so I kinda figured I would hear pretty much the
same set list ,and the same stories between songs,(not that I wouldn't
want to hear them all again) but it was different and spontaneous and
fan-freaking-tastic and I am so happy I got to be there. John told a story
about playin for Kris for the first time. And playing at a club with David
Allen Coe. Said it was just after he got out of prison (for murder) So he
told people to clap along, which only got a half hearted reaction from the
audience. So Coe stopped playing and said "God dammit I said clap
along!" So everybody in the place clapped started clappin for all
they were worth. Before Fish and Whistle, he told a story about spending
the summer in Ireland, in a little town two blocks long, but they have
nine pubs there. So thats the biggest worry you have is which pub you will
go to that night. So he said his friend was going to take him fishing,
cause he never caught an Irish fish... Nothing was bitin so it turned into
a drinking contest instead. And he said " I was winning too, right
before I fell asleep." There's a new song maybe called Some humans
aren't human. Really good song. About people that are unkind and hateful
to others. Chorus is something like Some people make fun of your family,
your house and your clothes But they don't know their own asses From their
elbows.... And he DID mention the new cd this time! Said it would be out
early part of next year. YEE HA!!! Ok i've taken enuf time here. But I
hadda let it out before I would bust!
I think that the fact that JP chose the wolftrap venue, around the
corner from Washington, D.C. to let this one fly,it would likely have been
a well thought out decision to make a stand in the place where the stand
would count the most. Those that are with him will only get stronger for
validation of their beliefs by hearing them through the words of our
chosen "prophet" of sorts. Those that were here for a novelty or
a song or two that they happened to like, will turn their backs and run
for the hills. Its a choice of every artist, musical or visual, to please
their audience or to stand true to what you know in your heart is right.
But I believe it is the obligation of every artist who has the ability of
reaching the masses with their craft to speak for all of those who can't.
John Prine truly does, and he helped teach me those values because I have
lived by his words since I was fifteen years old. (I'm 46 now)e rin
I used to always wear my John Prine Flying Dog hat when I went running. Since last Friday I've switched to wearing my "W - 2004" hat and have no plans to change back either.
"Some Humans Ain't Human" is an exquisite commentary on the mixed up priorities of many people
Have seen John Prine in concert almost every year since the 70's. He's a gifted songwriter/story-teller, love the twists of his lyrics & tales - don't we all?! A terrific performer who establishes great rapport with his audience and he did not disappoint us in this concert. Another wonderful performance!
I'm not a Kristofferson fan but was pleasantly surprised when I heard him. Didn't realize how political some of his songs were and his voice may have actually improved. But I would have preferred him to have played a much shorter set so we could have had MORE of Prine.
Regarding the politics expressed by both Kris & John, whether you agree with everything they said or not, they cannot be denied their right to say it. And the crowd reaction was overwhelming supportive.
Another terrific performance by JP. May there be many many more!!
This EXCELLENT concert far exceeded my high expectations! The songs were great and the were stories amusing and enlightening. Kris and John gave a great show, and seemed to be truly enjoying themselves...especially John, who exuded joi throughout the evening. Maura O'Connell's voice on Angel From Montgomery was astounding! John's mostly acoustic guitar playing was lovely, and when he rocked out, he tore it up....literally, ripping a string off the guitar.
The complaints some have raised about the political nature of the show are absurd. Folk musicians have ALWAYS had important (and usually accurate!) things to say. What...you want to go hear
Dylan/Seeger/Guthrie/Baez/Kristofferson/Prine/etc. and not have to think about anything?!? Not me.
John's new song "Some Humans Ain't Human" is an exquisite commentary on the mixed up priorities of many people (especially including the warmongers in the present U.S. administration). He is dead on.
I was honored to be in the presence of people (John and Kris) who were unafraid to express their thoughts. After all, that is EXACTLY what the U.S.A. is all about!!!
(and Fiona, Jack, and Tommy, too!)
I just discovered this message board and was compelled to weigh in concerning the Kristofferson/Prine show at
Wolftrap. First off, let me say that it was probably one of the finest shows I have ever been to, and I attend many. I have been a big Prine fan for a long time and have seen him many times, but had never been able to see Kris, and when I saw them both together, I decided to make the 600 mile trip. Needless to say, I was not disappointed.
A number of reviewers spoke of how very disappointed they were with Kris's performance. For the sake of those who might read this that were not in attendance, Kris performed a 55 minute, solo-acoustic set. Thus, he did not have the advantage of a backing band/harmony vocals. Granted, as Kris admits he is not the best guitar player in the world, but I think that there is something really special about seeing someone solo- not polished- just out there naked in front of an audience. I love to see performers in this fashion- (my favorite part of the Prine show is always when John sends the band off and does his solo set). The raw intensity of the man definitely came through in his performance. We Prine fans should bear in mind that without Kris, there is a possibility that we would not be exposed to John (although as Kris has stated to credit him with discovering Prine and Steve Goodman is like giving Columbus credit for discovering America- it was already there).
As far as the political stuff goes, both Kris and John are a part of the great folk tradition, which goes back to Pete
Seeger/Woody Guthrie and beyond. Folk singers have always spoke out about what they believed in and about the politics of the day. A number of reviewers seemed to excuse Prine for his political sentiments during the show while demonizing Kris for his. I can understand people being surprised about the politics in Prine's show, because his political statements were made in the form of new, unreleased songs such as the new song- "Some Humans ain't Human" as well as in his introductions to songs such as "Flag Decal" or "Granpa was a Carpenter." On the other hand, Kris's political statements came in the form of songs that had all been released and were pretty much all at least 10-15 years old. Kris actually said very little between songs and the closest political remark he made (not in song) was that about prisons.
Other words, Kris said very little that he has not been saying for years. So to those of you that were offended by Kris's set, maybe before spending the money to go to a show that might be offensive to you, you should do a little research and listen to the artist's repertoire first (in terms of Kris- its all there).
Great show. Very patriotic.
I've waited too many years to see John Prine; the last performance was
about 20 years ago. I seriously needed a good dose of John, and I got it
Friday night! He was absolutely in the BEST form I've ever seen. His band
members were awesome as well! He played all the songs I needed and wanted
to hear, and his storytelling was better than ever! I thank God John is
bloated (hopefully that means he's healthy and will be making our earth a
lot better for a VERY LONG time). Can't wait for his next visit to
Virginia (or DC or Maryland).
By: John Sullivan
I have been to many JP concerts over the years and I think Friday night
was the best ever. Prine always looks like he is having the best time of
his life and there is no other place he would rather be. In reading the
other reviews.. Bob, JD, Alice and others why are you surprised at Prine's
politics? Like JP said when introducing "Flag Decal" he wrote it
35 years ago and it did it's job then and has a job to do today. At least
he has remained true to his core beliefs. I can't wait for next year and
another Prine visit!
I am a veteran Prine fan (30+ years). I was very disappointed in the
political views expounded by Kristopherson and Prine. Yeah, it's a free
country, but I did not pay money to hear those guys bash my President. I
did not appreciate it and I will be reconsidering my choices on where I
spend my money in the future. This is not the Viet Nam War....this is a
war against radical Islamic Fundamentalists who want to kill us and
destroy our way of life. Why doesn't somebody write a song about
beheadings? Doesn't anybody remember 9/11?
By: Charles Nicholson
It is not only the First Amendment right, but the moral obligation of any
artist to write about things they feel passionately about. It is the right
of fans to walk out if they disagree, but also to open their narrow minds
and listen and maybe get a different perspective. The show was
INCREDIBLE!!! Kris and John made my 500 mile trip well worth it. Thanks to
both of them for their honesty and integrity. SOMEBODY HAS TO TAKE A
I forgot one song that Kris sang that I really enjoyed. It was "They
Killed Him," a song I discovered on Bob Dylan's album "Knocked
Out Loaded." The song talks about Mohandas Gandhi, Martin Luther
King, Jr., and Jesus...three men with very similar philosophies to John
Prine's. A lot of John's songs remind me of what Dr. Mark Vonnegut said to
his father, Kurt, when he asked him what life was all about, "Father,
we are here to help each other get through this thing, whatever it
is." One more thing (this applies to me as much as anyone): I am
probably one of the youngest people writing on this page (which, by the
way, is titled "The Review Page," or there about) and a lot of
us seem to be acting a lot younger than we are. Reviewing a show and
calling people names (aka People Puttin' People Down) are very different
things. When I go to a concert I go mainly to experience music. Any kind
of art that turns me on leads me to have some sort of connection with the
artist, no matter what their views of life, politics, etc. are. If I feel
that someone has taken time to convey some kind of true emotion or feeling
for others to enjoy, think about, and talk about, I want to listen, no
matter what they say. I like plenty of artists, and people in general,
that I disagree with on many topics. That's one of the main reasons the
United States of America ever came into existence. I am sorry that I am a
hypocrite and am not totally writing a review, but I think that if people
want to attack others on the internet, they should go somewhere other than
a Concert Review page. AND, "Saddle In The Rain" dominates.
I went to see John Prine and Kris Kristofferson at Wolf Trap on August 27.
Except for the political barbs (unnecessary and unkind, really) I enjoyed
the show. I've wanted to see these two for 30 years. They are probably
two of the finest story tellers of time. To see them at the same time was
more than I could hope for. I had a third row pit center seat and could
have touched them if allowed to. What a thrill. I had performed their
songs for years past and was excited about seeing them. Let me start with
Kris. His old songs seemed condensed and rushed a bit (I am not familiar
with his new stuff) and were not sung with the feeling or depth with which
he sang them in years past. But what could one expect; he isn't living
through those experiences anymore. If you listen to his "Silver Tongued
Devil and I" album you hear his life experience in his voice. He is a
star now and appears beyond caring about his music, it would seem. But I
am still grateful I got to see him. He looked fantastic. His voice is
still good. One would have to appreciate him over the years and connected
with his early music to appreciate his voice. He made eye contact with me
a few times and I could have fainted! But maybe that was the actor coming
out in him. Now for John Prine. His voice still sounds great (I was
pleasantly surprised). His lyrics are witty. He works very hard in
concert. He is intense in his guitar playing. His band was solid. I loved
seeing him. He looked terrible, though. I would not have recognized him
had I not known to expect such a change in looks. I am told he had neck
cancer in 1999. He looks like he is dying. It made me sad. He looks
swollen (vs. fat). Maybe cancer treatment? He looked so unkempt. He needs
a haircut. But he truly looks ill. So his appearance was forgiven. I
don't think he will be with us much longer. It was a sad, bittersweet
performance and one that I will treasure.
What is remarkable is that Prine was able- with just a few quick
comments- to thin out the crowd for the next tour. He'll lose a few bucks,
but his dedicated fans won't have to deal with the up-tight crowd, many of
whom talk through most of the show anyway and apparently have never
listened to his lyrics closely enough to realise his social/political
point of view is on the opposite in the spectrum from President Bush. Folk
music has almost always included political and social themes; without them
it would be dreadfully dull music. There is plenty of easy-listening music
if that is your taste. The rest of us would appreciate the extra leg room
on the lawn. Journalist George Will famously misread Springsteen's lyrics
("Born in the USA"), thinking Springsteen was promoting a sort
of conservative, working-class nationalism. Some concert-goers also
misread Springsteen, as they have misread Mellencamp, Elvis Costello,
Steve Earle and many others. Anti-war liberals shouldn't go to a Toby
Keith show if they can't handle his message and pro-Bush people should
also know what they're getting into if they are going to be easily
offended. For the record, one of Kristofferson's strongest protest songs
was written during the 90's and was critical of President Clinton's use of
the military. Questioning our society's values and questioning our
government's actions is an important roll of singer/songwriters, poets,
journalists, and other writers and speakers. I am grateful for all those
with courage to speak up.
By: keith nutt (billythebum)
I think those songs Kris sung were great. He wrote every one of them. You
said you wanted your money back, If it was so bad you should have left.
You were free to do that. He made the comment about this country having
more people behind bars than any other just before he sang the song "The
Best of ALL Possible Worlds" about a man being locked up for drunkenness
so I think it tied into the song.
Prine was really luminous. He was happy, excited to be there, and both my
wife and I were blown away. We've been to 12 other concerts this summer,
ranging from Phish's farewell to Madonna to Bob Dylan to Cowboy Junkies,
and this was, BY FAR, the best of them all. Prine told many funny stories,
was always polished, and made everyone in the place happy. He played
material ranging from eponymous to Lost Dogs, and really rocked on tunes
like "That's the Way the World Goes Round" and "Grandpa was
a Carpenter". (Which my wife loves because she is a carpenter.) What
might have been unexpected (at least for me) was the massive political
undertone of the show. I think it's great that Prine and Kristofferson can
come out and really speak their mind when it's clear that their audience
is by no means 100% liberal / anti-war / Democrat. Perhaps Prine's best
line of the night was RE: "Flag Decal" when he said: "I put
this song away many years ago (after Vietnam)... I took it off the shelf
not too long ago... turns out for a very special request... from the
President of the United States." Concert was 10/10.
I agree with JD, I won't be going to see John Prine anymore either. I've
enjoyed him since his first album came out while I was a teenager. Subtle
and clever political observations have always been his hallmark. But to
refer to the president as he did was certainly not subtle. It wasn't
clever either. What it was was offensive. If had wanted to hear a
political speech there are plenty of outlets for that around here. I was
hoping for a good concert after a long work week. Actually, except for
that, Prine's part of the show was great. He was in as good form as I've
seen him lately. Kristofferson is another thing. Song after song with the
same three chords, barely played in time. I've seen better performers at
open mike nights. The guy was painful. How this fraud became a major
entertainer is a mystery.
I love john and have seen him 20 plus times, but this will be my last.
it is okay to disagree with the president but to call him an asshole is
terrible and not very nice. I will always love his music but I lost my
respect for him Friday night.
By: keith nutt (billythebum)
My 9 year old grandson and I drove all the way from Fitzgerald, GA to
Vienna, Va to see the 2 best songwriters to ever grace the face of this
earth, John Prine and Kris Kristofferson. It was Kris that turned me on to
the music I listen to today. If not for him I might not had discovered
Prine. Spence, I wished I had known you were going, we might have all rode
together. Bob and kuroinu, you are certainly welcome to your opinions, but
you are both wrong. Kris is far from awful. Yea, he has gotten old and
truthfully, like John never had a great voice but he has written dozens of
great songs. John's early songs like The Great Compromise, Sam Stone, Flag
Decal, and Spanish Pipedream were all political statements about the
Vietnam war and its aftermath. Kris did not begin to express his political
leanings until he had put out several albums. Do you think they would have
changed their feelings over the years? I don't consider myself a mindless
jerk off because I clapped and voiced my whole hearted approval when they
made their comments. Kuroinu, now you know to stay home and not waste your
money next time. The concert itself was great. Kris sang better than he
has in years. He did a lot of his early songs. The ones you don't hear
much unless you put his first album on the turntable. His set sounded much
better than the live album he put out last year. John was tremendous as
always. I really like the human song. It looked like he has put on a
little weight since I saw him last.
John was great; Kris was great. They are not the same men, and anyone who
knows them and their music well knew what to expect. They certainly met
(and exceeded) MY expectations. I don't think anyone has yet mentioned
that the two performed three songs together at the end of the concert
(what I was hoping for). Of COURSE they are a bit political, to the left
of the spectrum, ESPECIALLY this time of year. Was that surprising? Not to
me. You see, in America one might choose to have an alternative view to
"War is the answer". Maybe Bob and some of the other reviewers
angered by the performers' comments should've skipped the show and taken a
plane for New York. I hear there is a big show going on next week that
they might enjoy. Kris and John have been around a long time and have
entertained millions...why not just give them a chance to sound off a
little? Anyway, Wolf Trap is an awesome venue; the music sounds really
good there. I could've stayed a lot longer. Wonderful show, boys! (By the
way: Could anyone tell me who the d.j. was that introduced Prine, and/or
what radio station he represents? Thanks.)
We went to see John Prine and the awful Kris Kristofferson at Wolf Trap
last night. Prine was real good but he, and especially, ... Kristofferson
mouthed off a bunch of political crap that pissed us off. A few people
booed but most of them ... cheered. I can forgive Prine because otherwise
he was great and I've liked him for too long. But I hope Kristofferson
drops dead ...
Spence, thanks much for the set list...jp was great! His guitar playing
and singings always amaze me and I've seen him a couple dozen times. The
new songs (Some Humans Ain't Human -- did other fans note the political
sentiment in this song?--- and I'm Just Gettin By) are from the new album
and oh man, I can't wait. jp's commitment to his audience was as always,
through and through --- thanks john.
Spence, the singer who joined Prine for Angel From Montgomery was Maura
O'Connell, who's performed with him many times.
Kris Kristofferson can't sing and can barely play guitar. He's
written about 4 good songs and far too many rotten ones. His political
opinons are as idiotic as his musicianship is awful. All in all, I wish
had been stuck in traffic and had missed his lousy set. I especially wish
I had missed his witless political harangues. I want my money back.
I've always considered "Sunday Morning Coming Down" by
Johnny Cash, "Me & Bobby McGee" by Janis Joplin and
"Help Me Make It Through the Night" by George Jones and a host
of others to be wonderful performances of fine songs. But to hear the
witer of these songs butcher then as badly as Kristifferson did Friday
night was not only painful, it was sad. The remark about wanting my money
back was a figure of speech. Acutally, I think my money was well spent
because I found out exactly what Kristofferson is, a talentless, boorish,
Since John won't come see me in Atlanta, I had to come to Virginia to see
him and Kris. I don't know how to describe how great last night was. First
off, the venue was incredible and even though I was way the hell back on
the lawn, I couldn't have asked for more. Kris came out promptly at 8:00
and played for about an hour. I had never seen Kris except with The
Highwaymen and I have to say I am going to start seeing him in concert as
much as possible. I am not that familiar with his songs, but I wrote down,
after the fact, the ones I could remember: Me and Bobby McGee, Help Me
Make It Through The Night, Jesus Was a Carpenter, Don't Let The Bastards
Get You Down, Here Comes That Rainbow Again, The Silver Tongued Devil and
I, Sunday Morning Coming Down. Of course, being Kris and being so near
D.C., his set was very political and the crowd seemed to react well to
that. He mentioned a couple of times what an honor it was to be opening
for John Prine. After a brief break, John, Dave and Jason came out and
rocked the house. I wrote the set list down for anyone who wants it...and every time
I write them on here it gets screwed up because I am a moron,
but here goes: Spanish Pipedream, Flag Decal, Six O'clock News, Souvenirs,
Fish and Whistle, Grandpa Was a Carpenter, Picture Show, I'm Just Gettin'
By, All the Best, Angel From Montgomery (with someone that I forget her
name, but not her voice), You Got Gold, Donald and Lydia, Dear Abby,
That's The Way That The World Goes 'Round, Some Humans Ain't Human (GREAT
new song), Sam Stone, Bear Creek, Hello In There, The Great Compromise,
Paradise (the last two with Kris). He mentioned that the Wolf Trap had a
strict curfew (11:00), so they didn't walk off the stage and come back for
an encore, they just stayed up there. He had great stories as always and
his sense of humor was great as always. His voice sounded awesome (as
always) even when he was speaking. Anyway, great show, great venue, great
Excellent show, wonderful political themes,,, John Prine is all I
could ask for,, I hope someone else can elaborate more,, steve
just caught this tribute site and couldn't resist...he's grey, he's
fat....but god, does he ever sound like he did twenty-five years ago at my
fist exposure to his music. Watch out for that Happy Enchilada!! Oh, Leon
and Kris were quite awesome also! Come back Johnny Krishna!! Come back
Carpenter Center, Richmond, VA
April 4. 2004 --
support: Leon Redbone
Had a great time at the show the other night, we were lucky enough to get aisle seats in the 8th row at the last minute, and boy, it was awesome. I copied down the entire
set list, but towards the end, the double Dewar's on the rocks were starting to get to me, so he might have played even more. Here's what I caught:
|4/4/4 Set list
| 1. Spanish Pipedream
2. Flag Decal
3. 6 o'clock News
5. Far From Me
6. Fish and Whistle
7. Grandpa was a Carpenter
8. Picture Show
9. Glory of True Love
|| 10. I'm Just Gettin' By
11. All the Best
12. Angel from Montgomery
13. Long Monday
14. Donald and Lydia
15. Crazy as a Loon
16. Dear Abby
17. That's the way that the World Goes Round,
||18. Other Side of Town
19. Sam Stone
20. Bear Creek
21. That's Alright By Me
22. Ain't Hurtin' Nobody
23. Sins of Memphisto
24. Hello in There
25. Lake Marie
Again, I might have missed a few, but I'm pretty sure that's all that he played. As usual, he was larger than life. I was also pleased to see that there weren't any loud drunks shouting the lyrics throughout the concert, and a good time was had by all.
BILL CRAIG - Special Correspondent
After 30 years, fans still rave when John Prine takes stage
On any given night, in any given club or coffeehouse, you're likely to find an independent singer/songwriter/musician cursing the current state of mainstream commercial
As the oft-heard lament goes, it's impossible for the little guy with big talent and big heart to fight the heartless corporate mentalities of the big boys who control the airwaves. True enough, the quality of sound coming from your car stereo seems to be diminishing
But before giving up the dream, aspiring American idols should consider the career of John Prine. In 33 years, the 57-year old Prine has delivered 17 albums of occasionally quirky, decidedly non-radio-friendly and consistently high-quality songs. His vocal technique is more gravel than golden and his lyrics are typically supported by nothing more than an acoustic guitar....
While he once recorded on one of those major labels, he decided a few years back to move to Nashville and start his own record company. A couple of high-profile artists (Bette Midler, Bonnie Raitt) have had some minor success with Prine tunes. But Kasey Kasem wouldn't know the guy from Adam
Oh, by the way: John Prine sold out the Carpenter Center Sunday night. And the show was a wonderfully refreshing reminder that intelligent songs with passion find an
Flanked by a pair of supporting musicians and dressed in all black, Prine and his acoustic guitar rolled through more than two hours of originals before a highly appreciative audience. The set list featured three decades of Prine classics such as "Paradise," "Lake Marie" and "Souvenirs" as well as a handful of yet-to-be released
Like many other singer/songwriters, Prine has mastered the gift of blending storytelling with song. Unlike almost anyone else, Prine tells those tales from a seemingly unlimited range of perspectives....
On the lighter side, Prine used the bouncy beat of "That's the Way That The World Goes Round" and "Fish and Whistle" to play the part of the blue-collar philosopher. And "Dear Abby," Prine's anthem about idiosyncrasies of the human condition, has lost none of the biting punch that he packed in the original version almost 30 years
You don't have to listen to Prine for long to know that among his many tools is a well-sharpened wit. And Sunday night's appearance was much more than a pickin' and grinnin'
He shared a couple of snapshots of life with "Sins of Memphisto" and "Grandpa Was a Carpenter." He brought back the tragic Vietnam veteran's tale of "Sam Stone" and reminded us of the loneliness of growing old with "Hello in There." And then he pleased a large portion of the audience with the bittersweet "Angel From Montgomery."
Prine has had a hip replaced and added a few pounds over the past couple of years. But unless he's as skilled an actor as he is a songwriter, he was having almost as good a time Sunday night as the Richmonders who came to hear
Leon Redbone, one of the country's largely undiscovered treasures, opened the evening with a very cool sample of his impossible-to-describe ragtime/blues/old-time mix. In between sips of a cola beverage, Redbone and his two-man band shared a 45-minute set that featured standards such as "I've Been Working on the Railroad" along with nonstandards such as "I Ain't Got Nobody."
By: The Oldest Baby in the World. . .
I have seen John Prine in concert for more than 20 years, and this was one of his ultimate best. He had 2 players with him, one on the cello/bass, the other on an electric slide guitar/mandolin that gave a new magic to old wonderful songs. He really did some old stuff that I'd forgotten how good he was. He did the standard favorites, but some new songs also hit the mark. He made me laugh, and cry, and
reminisce. He is such a storyteller, and the instrumental was perfect. Go see him if you have a chance. He played 2 hours, nonstop and standing on a hip replacement. Leon Redbone has been better. . he seemed to slur the lyrics into gibberish at times.
He was fabulous - my first time ever seeing him in person. I was impressed with the young guy who played a bunch of instruments and sang with him - a nice foil for John. I love Leon Redbone and was grateful that someone like John appreciates him too. The crowd was AWFUL. Rambling in and out during Leon's set, as if he was unimportant, and a big crowd of them spent Leon's set in the lobby drinking. They filed in carrying beers so they wouldn't have to miss any music to get refills. Yes, they sang along and shouted for their favorites. John's gentlemanly response - "I know them all!" He had tremendous stamina, singing from 9 to 11 with no break. What a treasure.
Incredibly generous performance lasted until after 11. John Prine hasn't lost anything. Opened with Flag Decal and just got better. Even after a solid encore most folks stayed until the lights came up. Talented backup guys. They did all the favorites and the new song about the guy who mentally goes to the other side of town when his wife breaks bad sounds like a hit waiting to happen.