My son and I went to hear and see Bruce Cockburn last night at the Barrymore. I realized I’ve been listening to him for over half my 50 years. His album “Stealing Fire” nursed me through a deep depression back in the 80’s. When I traveled to Nicaragua with Witness for Peace in ’87, Bruce had blazed a trail for me with music about HIS travels in Nicaragua just a couple years before.
Last night, when he came out on stage, he seemed somewhat subdued compared to the other half-dozen times I’ve seen him. He looked….old. He even cracked some wry jokes about it, as if he was self-conscious about aging, about putting on a few pounds (haven’t we all…). He started with an old song “last Night of the World” and flipped back and forth after that from his newest album “Life’s Short, Call Now” and older material such as his signature tune, “Wondering Where the Lions Are”, much to my son’s delight. He reminded me that he is a very skilled guitarist, showing off his acoustic prowess on a very intense, riveting instrumental and a wistful instrumental version of “Crazy”. (I guess it’s always sort of a wistful song……).
Of course, he showed his activist side with the standard and unfortunately still-relevant “They Call It Democracy” and a newer song called “Tell the Universe”, an ode to George W. Bush, asking him to “tell the world what he’s done” in Iraq, with his “blood-stained shoes, and his Texas grin”.
I needed some inspiration and got it. He’s definitely one of my heroes. I hope to grow old(er) like him. Always paying attention to events, being passionate, and speaking out.