Sat, Feb 8, 2008 - Chicago Theatre, Chicago, IL with guest Iris DeMent;
back up band: Jason Wilber, Dave Jacques
My family and I saw John Prine and Iris DeMent at the Chicago Theatre for a sold out show. It was wonderful! Iris was the opener and accompanied herself on piano ("a baby grand that sounds like an upright!") I love her most unusual voice. John had backup from someone on upright bass and an electric guitarist as well. It was an interesting change from the three other John Prine shows my husband and I have seen over the last nearly 30 (!!) years. Each of those was solo acoustic, which I must say I happen to prefer, but there was good energy this night and John himself was having a really good time in his old stomping grounds. He played a variety of tunes from over the years. I particularly favored "Hello in There", "Angel from Montgomery", "Sam Stone" and "Souvenirs". Just beautiful! Iris returned to the stage to perform duets with John from the album In Spite of Ourselves, which was a real crowd pleaser. John was onstage about two hours and finished with "Paradise", joined by his two brothers. I am so glad we went! We took our son (22) and daughter (25), who were not beforehand particular John Prine fans, but enjoyed the concert nonetheless. The older we all get, the more similar our music tastes have become.
By: Greg Kot | Tribune Critic
Arts & Entertainment: MUSIC REVIEW
Prine proves a master of detail
February 11, 2008
Read the full review here: here
John Prine was aging gracefully even when he was just a kid writing songs in between deliveries as a Maywood postal carrier 40 years ago ...
All shows this year have been very good shows with John feeling good and wearing his happy feet each night...each show was special in it's own way.
Chicago I was fortunate enough to spend about a half hour visiting with Steve Goodman's Mom, what an honor that was for me!!! We talked about so much, she shared some good stories about growing up in Chicago, the old neighborhoods they lived in, how it's all changed...good stories of Steve and John in younger days when I first got to enjoy their music. It was a wonderful visit to say the least, she is a real interesting lady!!!
By: Greg Kot - Kot in the Act - shows you can't miss
clipped from: here
John Prine and Iris DeMent: This duo has been bringing out the best in each other since first collaborating on a 1999 album of country duets, "In Spite of Ourselves." Prine brings the wry humor and a boatload of songs; DeMent adds a voice of heartfelt purity and a feel for mountain-soul harmonies. They've got a chemistry that lights up even the dreariest winter evening. 8 p.m. Friday at Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State St., $49.50-$59.50; 312-902-1500.
By: Steve Dollar
Full article and images --> here
As a songwriter, John Prine commands praise as one of the most consistent storytellers of the past 30 years, having emerged from the Chicago scene in the early 1970s as an almost-instant favorite, penning memorable tunes by the bushel that quickly entered the decade’s coffeehouse lexicon. Some of the songs, like “Hello in There,” became so popular in the repertoires of other singers that their overt sentimentality came to overshadow their emotional sensitivity and clever wordplay. But just as it is hard to imagine a certain kind of Nashville songwriter persona without Prine’s example, it’s also worth noting that he has reinvented himself on at least a couple of occasions. It’s pretty cool how he snagged a 1991 Grammy Award for The Missing Years, an album of irreverent songs about Jesus, released on Prine’s own Oh Boy label, and that he was able to bounce back from surgery for throat cancer in 1998 to record four more albums and win more Grammys. Like his good friend and supporter Kris Kristofferson, Prine’s been outspoken politically. Let’s hope he plays “Some Humans Ain’t Human,” which stabs at George W. Bush with typically deft humor. However, fans will likely clamor for songs that were more topical, um, 37 years ago, like “Sam Stone,” a tragic Vietnam War-era saga that sports the chorus: “There’s a hole in daddy’s arm where all the money goes/Jesus Christ died for nothin’ I suppose.” Come to think of it, the song is as relevant now as then.
By: DAVE HOEKSTRA
JOHN PRINE'S A CHARACTER, AND HE SINGS ABOUT MORE THAN A FEW
February 9, 2008
Full review & images here:
During the summer of 1986 I sat poolside with singer-songwriter John Prine and his drummer Angelo Varias at the Sheraton Music City Hotel in Nashville. We were eating chicken wings. Prine talked about his idea of writing a screenplay in “Our Town” fashion featuring the characters from his stunning 1971 self-titled debut album.
The late “Sam Stone” would be the narrator. “Donald and Lydia” would phone in from 10 miles away. He didn’t mention the bullet-ridden James Lewis from “Six O’ Clock News,” but I figured he would have a role.
I don’t know what happened to the screenplay, but on Friday night Prine brought an expanded group of his colorful working-class characters into the Chicago Theater for a remarkable 2-1/2 hour show. The once strange personalities have grown into old friends. They fit like a wool glove on a cold February night.
Prine, 60, was always ahead of his years — he wrote “Hello In There,” his tender tribute to old people at age 24 — but now his songs are framed in a smoky cadence of wisdom. And in Prine’s “Our Town” the morals can be wicked or wry. (Always wear clean underwear when you’re falling to “The Bottomless Lake,” as he sang on Friday.)
As in recent tours, Prine was accompanied by electric/slap bassist David Jacques and guitarist Jason Wilber. Their adventurous, exquisite styles counterpoints Prine’s Mississippi John Hurt-influenced finger picking.
Opening act Iris DeMent joined Prine for several songs, including four tunes from Prine’s critically acclaimed “In Spite of Ourselves” duet album. The goofy Prine composition and title track (which Prine wrote for the even goofier Billy Bob Thornton film “Daddy & Them”) was one of the evening’s highlights. Prine and DeMent traded off on bent vocals, cementing their roles as country music’s answer to Grant Wood’s American Gothic. Prine also had a role in “Daddy & Them,” appearing as Andy Griffith’s son. He told Friday’s audience, “That makes me Opie’s stepbrother.”
These are fine times for Prine. His voice has a deeper register after his 1998 bout with throat cancer. Last month he played for three hours at Carnegie Hall and in May he will make his debut at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. If you missed him Friday, he returns for shows March 28 in Green Bay, WI., and March 29 in Sheboygan (a town begging to be used in a Prine song).
Prine’s electric material serves him well in larger venues. All three players were plugged in for a scorching version of “Sweet Revenge,” which Prine introduced as “Hunter Thompson’s favorite song.” Jacques’ foreboding electric bass defined “Ain’t Hurtin’ Nobody” and although Prine was back on acoustic guitar, snapping strings, the band tore the roof off the theater on an epic version of “Lake Marie.”
Prine’s hometown fans were treated to a family reunion on the evening’s final encore, “Paradise,” which traces the family roots to Kentucky coal mining country. Older brother Dave Prine (who introduced John to the Old Town School of Folk Music) chipped in on vocals and John’s younger brother Billy played guitar and unearthed rocks for gritty vocals that recalled Waylon Jennings at last call.
In her 35-minute opening set on piano, DeMent played a gentle honky-tonker about her 89-year-old mother, rural gospel and her timeless “When My Mornin' Comes Around.” But DeMent’s pristine vocals on Lefty Frizzell’s “That’s The Way Love Goes” were one more thing to remember on this memorable evening.
By: Greg Kot
Originally posted: February 9, 2008
JOHN PRINE BREAKS HEARTS, INSPIRES LAUGHTS, AND EVEN DOES A LITTLE DANCE
John Prine was aging gracefully even when he was just a kid writing songs in between deliveries as a Maywood postal carrier 40 years ago.
His songs always sounded older, wiser, and funnier than anyone else’s, in part because Prine took the timeless high-lonesome vocabulary of country and added a shot of Midwestern wry. On Friday at the sold-out Chicago Theatre, the stocky troubadour with the Popeye cheeks and impish grin casually rolled out four decades’ worth of songs that could bring tears, induce laughs and prompt reflection --- sometimes within the span of a few lines.
It was a typically generous show, spanning more than two hours and countless styles. Prine cut his teeth in the North Side folk clubs, and his sets still reflect that casual intimacy. The songs were relatively simple, built around a handful of chords. Prine strummed his acoustic guitar like he was scrubbing out a particularly stubborn pot stain, and his voice rarely strained outside its comfort range: a low, gravelly rumble. He left the pretty stuff to his accomplices, guitarist Jason Wilber, bassist Dave Jacques, and vocalist Iris DeMent.
Nothing testified to the irresistible nature of Prine’s songs quite like his ability to recast the prim DeMent as a saucy duet partner. DeMent’s opening set showcased her lovely, warbling alto on a series of forlorn meditations about mom, God and a simpler way of life. But on Prine’s “In Spite of Ourselves” she was transformed into a ribald honky tonker.
Prine’s songs have that effect on people. He salted his set with plenty of wisecracks, and the punch lines were delivered with a stand-up comedian’s timing. But he’s also a master of detail, both lyrical and musical. “Crazy as a Loon” painted a portrait of an incorrigible vagabond with “a picture of another man's wife tattooed on my arm.” Wilber’s slide guitar emphasized the blues shadings of “Angel from Montgomery,” and the devastating “Sam Stone” slid into a morphine haze with Jacques’ bowed upright bass. Then there was the epic “Lake Marie,” in which Prine’s talking blues morphed into a furious guitar assault. By that point, even the understated singer had to get on the good foot and dance a little.
By: Mark Jensen
It was awsome!!!.I took my mother (adele lorenz)and my aunt(linda lorenz)who attended Proviso East in Maywood,ILL with John and needlest to say they both were very entertained but also remnaice of the past and most importanly were quit proud of John and also very impressed, and both repeated they see him again anytime! We will see you again soon.THANK YOU John! Peace,Mark Jensen