samedi 10 septembre 2011

Paradise, John Prine

The summer ends kind of like it began, with an open-air concert at Château Ste. Michelle. Last night's show was opened by Ani di Franco, which we didn't realize until afterwards. Her name wasn't on the ticket. She was awesome. I hate to say it, but I sort of missed her rise to fame. Let's say it was because I was living in France at the time. That's what I say whenever I learn of a cultural phenomenon known to every American but me.

About John Prine, what can I say that hasn't already been said. As Ani DiFranco noted, John Prine fans come to hear him because they like well-told stories. Every John Prine song is a true story, I'm sure of it. He ranks right up there with Leonard Cohen, which is odd because they are so different in so many ways.

Prine (and his two fine musicians) was so captivating I forgot about the two drunk Asian women sitting next to me, who spent the entire time gabbing and shrieking. One of them looked exactly like Imelda Marcos. Shoes and all. Walt politely asked them to shut it, but this only made them chatter with greater intensity. Finally, she traded places with her friend's husband, such that we were next to the two husbands, who obviously were Prine fans. Why the hell did they drag Imelda and her pal to the concert? Imelda's friend's husband had the annoying habit of reciting (not singing) each line of lyrics after it was sung by Prine. But we got so wrapped up in the music we just ignored him and his echolalia.

For his encore, Prine did Paradise, a song that many people associate with John Denver. It was really sweet the way the crowd spontaneously went up to the stage and sang the chorus along with him. We were right up there too, about a foot away from the guy. We said thank you to him and he said you're welcome.

Oh, and he also did another of his great songs, which he wrote for Bonnie Raitt. Here's Bonnie's version. As one of the youtube commenters said: if you don't fall in love with her just a little then you are soulless and evil.

Ani DiFranco is also a great songwriter. Her best line, as far as I know: "If you're not getting happier as you're getting older then you're fuckin' up".

She ended with a revamped version of Which Side Are You On? When I find a version that has decent sound quality, I'll post it.