John Prine at the King Center in Jacksonville, FL on Nov 22, 2008. Back-up Band David Jacques and Jason Wilber. Opener: Carrie Rodriguwz
By: Roger Bull
A night with John Prine
Posted: Monday, November 24th, 2008 at 3:23 pm
Read the full eblog and post comments here
The weather outside the Florida Theatre was chilly Saturday night. Inside, it couldn’t have been much warmer or better.
John Prine put on a great concert in front of a crowd that seemed like about 1,200 or so of his best friends. He was in fine voice, full of energy and seemed to be having a good time.
And, of course, he’s got that catalog of song after song. We lost Davy in the Korean war. And I still don’t know what for, don’t matter anymore.
I think for an awful lot of the crowd, Prine speaks to them in a way that almost no one else does. He’s real, he’s comfortable and his songs slice easily into life.
C’mon, baby, spend the night with me.
The crowd was full of not just fans, but people for whom Prine’s songs are simply part of their lives, the flannel shirt that you’ve had all those years and still bring out when you want be comfortable. There were a few obnoxious ones, of course. Those who tried to get a group clapping going during even slow songs, or who yelled out their approval or suggestions too often.
No, Sam Stone is not a song of celebration.
While the kids ran around wearin’ other peoples’ clothes.
The last time I saw him at the Florida Theatre, probably a decade ago, it was a fine show, too. The one problem I had was that song after song was identical to the records. Note for note, word for word, inflection for inflection.
But Saturday night, there were touches here and there, minor changes that made that comfortable old shirt that much better. It was a blast, a special night that I was still thinking about a day or two later. You don’t get a lot of those.
That night she fell asleep in my arms Humming the tune to ‘Louie Louie’ Aah baby, We gotta go now.
Wow, it was wonderful. From beginning to end it just kept getting better and better until an outstanding encore/finale. I love the CDs, but there ain't nothing like seeing him and the band (and Carrie R.) live and in person. GREAT!!!
By: Rose and Wayne
Prine is in his prime...he played hard and fast, slow and heartachy, downright fabulous from 9:00 pm till about 11:15. We (my husband and I) are huge Prine fans and have been for over 30 years. We saw him open for Bonnie Raitt back in the early 90s, but had always wanted to see him headline a show of his own. He sang everything we wanted to hear (except for "Automobile" and the Sabu song) but I forgive him--he has such a huge library of songs to chose from he'd be there all night if he played everything. Thanks John for so many years of wonderful music and songs that have made me laugh and cry.
Probably the best concert I have ever been to. Though the concert is not short, it becomes apparent that John Prine has more great songs than are possible to play in a concert. Most popular mainstream musicians can't even fill a whole concert with decent songs.The songs actually sounded just as good if not better live. You would think he must record all his songs in one take as good as it sounded. The theater was full and there were a few rowdy people in the audience. Sometimes the audience would sing along. One time we were prompted to by John. John is able to work the audience with his simple but witty stories.Carrie Rodriguez was the opener and she was very good. She did a duet with John towards the end (in spite of ourselves). The finale with both the opening band and John's was memorable especially how fast they play to close out the song.
1st time I've got to see him but won't be last, Great show, Jason Wilber , his's lead guitar was awesome, Carrie Rodregazs opened and was also very good.
By: ROGER BULL -- The Times-Union
Prime Prine, mighty fine
Take this quiz featuring lyrics from the accomplished singer-songwriter
Read it all at The Times-Union here
In honor of a personal favorite (that would be John Prine) playing Saturday night at the Florida Theatre, let's do a little quiz with some of my favorite Prine lyrics. (We apologize we had to limit it to five.)
Try to finish each line.
1. It was Christmas in prison, and the food was real good, we had turkey and -------
a. dressing I wouldn't eat if I could.
b. pistols carved out of wood.
c. cranberries and lots of baked goods.
d. pain where our memories once stood.
2. Much to my surprise, when I opened my eyes, I was the victim
a. of another devil in disguise
b. of a woman about twice my size.
c. of her ways and her thighs.
d. of the great compromise.
3. The scientific nature of the ordinary man
a. Is to go on out and do the best you can.
b. Is to bear up and take the pain that you can stand.
c. Is to turn around and go back to where it began.
d. Is to pretend that he always had a plan.
4. Take it back, take it back, Oh no, you can't say that
a. I never met that woman once before.
b. All of my friends are not dead or in jail.
c. You never seen me once with that illegal smile.
d. I ain't lookin' to block you up.
5. Grampa's on the front lawn staring at a rake
a. dealing with the memories that he just can't shake.
b. lookin' back at 40 years of loneliness and ache.
c. wondering if his marriage was a terrible mistake.
d. happy that Grandma still knows how to shake. ------- ------- -------
Saturday's concert begins at 8 p.m. with the very fine Carrie Rodriguez (some may know her from her duets with Chip Taylor) opening. Tickets are $31, $36 and $48. Call the Florida Theatre box office at (904) 355-2787.
Answers: 1. b, 2. d, 3. a, 4. b, 5. c.
John Prine at the King Center in Melbourne, FL on Sept 20, 2008. Back-up Band David Jacques and Jason Wilber. Opener: Josh Ritter
By: Joseph Carver
John Prine + Josh Ritter
Full Review here/
After a prolonged introductory applause John Prine leaned into the microphone and said, “This is my first time here. I think I’ll stay awhile.”
Regardless of what direction you travel from, The King Center is difficult to find. Connected to the Brevard Community College in Melbourne, Florida, the 1200 seat theater is a gem hidden amidst the camouflage of strip malls and chain restaurants. John Prine fans that made the effort to find the center were rewarded with a similarly exhaustive tour through what may be the most eclectic songbook of any living American songwriter.
Idaho native Josh Ritter opened the show, accompanied only by his guitar. He ripped through six quick songs with “Harrisburg” and “Kathleen” serving as highlights. He also tried to inject a bit of political humor into the evening, starting a song by saying, “Sarah Palin went to the University of Idaho. I knew we would contribute to the end of the world. I just didn’t know how.” The crowd, seemingly split on politics, uniformly responded to Ritter’s modern folk songs and animated delivery. Steering clear of songs from his critically acclaimed 2007 release, The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter, Ritter instead leaned toward the more sparsely produced tracks from his early records. Despite the brevity of the opening set, Ritter attracted a huge crowd of fans as he signed the CD’s offered in the King Center merchandise section. He was mum on rumors of a 2009 release but made it clear to everyone he hugged (which was everyone) that he was honored to be playing with John Prine.
After a thirty-minute break, the lights went down and the unassuming legend took the stage. Partnered with Dave Jacques on stand up bass and Jason Wilber on guitar, Prine launched into a fifteen-song set that touched nearly every fan favorite, but did so with vitality thanks, mainly, to the arrangements. He opened with “Spanish Pipedream”. After a prolonged introductory applause he leaned into the microphone and said, “This is my first time here. I think I’ll stay awhile”. And he did.
Met again with a roar of applause, he lit into a forty five-minute set that included “Fish and Whistle”, “Six O’clock News”,” Angel from Montgomery”, and “That’s the Way the World Goes Round”. The latter came attached to a great story about misunderstood lyrics, the similarity in the phrase “inch of water” and the word “enchilada,” and a crack about Jimmy Buffet’s affinity for writing songs about food. Each was a success. The Florida crowd registered its approval again as Wilbur and Jacques left the stage.
For the solo part of the show, Prine shared a few stories. An attentive fan may have concluded that none of them were new, but they were told with such a professional flare that they remained fall-down funny. After saying that he would never forgive himself for getting so close to Cape Canaveral and not playing his only astronaut song, he played fan favorite “Space Monkey” followed by “Hello in There”. He dedicated “She is My Everything” to his wife Fiona. He laughingly told the tale of writing “All the Best” as a response to being asked to sing at his ex-wife’s next wedding. With the introduction of “Sam Stone” his backing musicians re-joined him to wrap up the set.
Throughout the night, both Jacques and Wilber managed to be remarkable without being intrusive. In fact, Wilber may very well have been invisible were it not for the absence of the band’s trademark suit (left in a hotel the night before according to Prine). Nonetheless, his solo work was spectacular and tasteful. Jacques subtle shift between stand up and electric bass fit perfectly with Prine. Were this a three-piece fronted by an unknown it would stand as remarkable. To see them interact with a songwriting lesson made it all the more memorable.
The set ended with a rocking version of “Lake Marie”, a staple of Prine’s live shows that has become more powerful over time. After a strong ninety minutes, Prine left the stage to a standing ovation. Moments later, after an extra microphone was set up on stage, he walked back out with his band and Josh Ritter in tow. They finished with a three-song encore that ended with “Paradise”.
The King Center was a perfect fit for Prine. A more raucous club setting would surely have drowned out the softer moments of the set. The sound was impeccable and the events on stage were broadcast via two big screen televisions to the packed crowd in the balcony.
The temptation, watching the two wordsmiths from different generations play side by side, was to view the stage as past and present in one place. Given Prine’s tireless performances and peerless song writing, that would be a mistake. Prine, like Ritter, is still very much at the top of his game. And I know a thousand Floridians who would agree.
By: Jim Abbott
Full review here
"I've never been here before, so I'm gonna stay a while."
That admission, tossed out early in John Prine's fine Saturday show at Melbourne's King Center for the Performing Arts, was a good line. No matter that the iconic folk singer had been to the concert hall before. I know because I was there, too, for a splendid show in 2002.
Maybe that first-time notion comes from the way that it never seems like Prine is rehashing old material, even though the bulk of his signature songs reach back to the early 1970s. Each performance has the snowflake quality of a new creation, which is the kind of magic one gets from a master.
Prine, now 61, opened with one of his most reliable oldies on Saturday, the rollicking "Spanish Pipedream."
That country ditty and the sweeter "Six O'Clock News" illustrated the surprising range of his two-man backing ensemble.
Guitarist Jason Wilber used his black Telecaster to conjure twangy chicken-picking leads, pedal steel guitar effects and greasier bottle-slide riffs. Dave Jacques thumped along on upright bass, occasionally using a bow to add warmth.
At the center, of course, was the singer himself.
In addition to the classic material, Prine offers some of the best song introductions around. He chatted amiably about his early days, writing songs such as "Souvenirs" on his Chicago mail route. He recalled for the crowd how he first imagined that he had come up with a song so complicated that he couldn't play it on guitar, then realized "it was just the same three chords I always used."
Just like Hank Williams, Prine is capable conjuring plenty of images with those three chords. His dedication of "Souvenirs" to his old pal Steve Goodman was sweet.
Prine's sly humor was on display all night, most obviously on a well-timed monologue in the middle of "That's the Way That the World Goes 'Round." That bit, another well-worn one, tied together Fats Domino, "grumbly beans," half an enchilada and Jimmy Buffett.
Another good line: Prine's introduction for "All the Best," off 1991's Grammy-winning The Missing Years, as a song suitable for use "if you ever get an invitation to your ex's wedding and they should ask you to get up and sing one."
So it went for a solid 2 hours. Even then, folks were shouting out requests.
"I know 'em all," Prine joked. Even better, he still sings them as if it were the first time.
By Bill DeYoung
FOLK LEGEND JOHN PRINE TO PERFORM IN MELBOURNE ON SATURDAY
Thursday, September 18, 2008 - Full article here
He’s not a household name, but John Prine was pretty much the first of the contemporary literary singer/songwriters. The Illinois native and Florida resident is equal parts Jimmie Rodgers and Jimmy Buffett, combining an everyman’s point of view with keen observational skills, pathos and a wicked wit.
The comparisons end there, however. Prine, who will perform Saturday at the King Center for the Performing Arts, was called “The New Dylan” when he arrived on the scene in the early 1970s, and his songs have been made famous by other artists. Still, he’s never sold millions of records and has remained a cult figure, albeit a major one.
A former Chicago-area mail carrier and U.S. Army veteran, Prine and good buddy Steve (“City of New Orleans”) Goodman were the toast of the Windy City’s folk music scene; both were “discovered” by Kris Kristofferson, who helped them get recording contracts.
Prine’s best-known songs include “Sam Stone,” a biting narrative about a drug-addled Vietnam veteran; the country lament “Angel From Montgomery” (recorded by Bonnie Raitt, Dave Matthews, John Denver, Ben Harper, Tanya Tucker and others); the coal-mining drama “Paradise”; and “Your Flag Decal Won’t Get You Into Heaven Anymore,” one of the funniest songs ever written about American patriotism.
To get an idea of the way John Prine thinks, all you really need to do is scan his song titles: “Yes, I Think They Oughta Name a Drink After You,” “Jesus the Missing Years,” “Sabu Visits the Twin Cities Alone,” “Come Back to Us Barbara Lewis Hare Krishna Beauregard,” “Please Don’t Bury Me” or “It’s a Big Old Goofy World.”
Ten years ago, Prine underwent surgery for throat cancer, and his millions of devoted fans breathed a collective sigh of relief that their literary hero never missed a beat — he got back on his feet, picked up his guitar and went back out on the road.
Who: John Prine
Where: King Center for the Performing Arts, 3265 N. Wickham Road, Melbourne
When: 8 p.m. Saturday
Contact: (321) 242-2219
John Prine at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater, FL on Sept 19, 2008. Back-up Band: David Jacques and Jason Wilber. Opener: Josh Ritter
By: Bruised Orange
As usual no one left disappointed! The show was wonderful from the first song to the last. John sounded wonderful, looked liked he was enjoying himself and sounded great. John sang many of the old favorites which keeps us old timers coming back time and time again and shared little stories between songs as only John Prine can do. We are all so blessed to have John Prine in our lives, may he continue enriching the world with his musical gifts for many years to come.