Thursday, October 05, 2006

John Prine Played Toronto

Two Saturdays ago, the Rubber Duck and I joined a packed house at Massey Hall for a stirring performance by John Prine, one of the premier country and folk music writers of our time. Prine’s is a comeback story for the movies, having survived throat cancer to produce last year’s Grammy Award-winning Fare and Square. His voice deep and grainy after his battle, Prine has added a rawness to his music that infuses the lyrics with resonance. Grinding out classics like Angel From Montgomery, Fish and Whistle, and Dear Abby, he set up the crowd for his inspiring new works like Some Humans Ain’t Human.

Prine's talent is phenomenal on its own, but he treats the crowd by bringing a one-man folk music circus in opening act Dan Reeder, who sings Work Song - a single-line tune ("I got all - all the fucking work I need") to which he claps for five minutes. But more peculiar than Dan is the John Prine audience, which has dropped enough acid to have inhabited a barracks at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds. This was easily the worst audience for screaming out requests. Seriously, has anyone ever been at a concert where the play list was changed to accommodate these jackasses? Prine's reply was gold: "Yep, I know them all". One guy, in a Toronto Maple Leafs sweater, jumped up on stage and was ejected - 20 minutes before the curtain was raised. Further proof that Leaf fans are yet to set foot on the bottom rung of the evolutionary ladder.

Tonight the Duck and I return to Massey Hall for Dwight Yoakam – a show I’ve been looking forward to all summer.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey! I've never heard of this John Prine character. Maybe I'm too young? Anyway, I'll try a download and see if I agree he's great or not! :)

Hope you have fun with Dwight Yoakam.