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Bruce Cockburn Live In Phoenix


by Kevin Wierzbicki

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On a chilly and rainy evening in the desert, Bruce Cockburn brought a natural warmth to the MIM Music Theater at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix where he performed for more than two hours. The Nov. 19 show was completely sold out, and Cockburn treated the adoring crowd to a mix of brand new and recent tunes along with a selection of favorites from throughout his career.

Cockburn's latest album, released in September, is an all-instrumental effort called Crowing Ignites, and the guitarist opened the show with the album's lead-off track, "Bardo Rush." After the song Bruce told the crowd a bit about the album and advised, "Don't be afraid, it's not an all-instrumental show," garnering a laugh when he mimicked the panic of an instrumental-fearing fan, "Oh no! What have I done?!" Playing an assortment of acoustic guitars throughout the evening and accompanied only by his nephew John Aaron Cockburn on additional acoustic guitar, accordion and harmony vocals, Cockburn performed the contemplative "Last Night of the World" along with "Night Train" and "World of Wonders" early in the show. Among other songs played in the first set were oldie "Peggy's Kitchen Wall" and the Arizona-inspired "Child of the Wind" from his Nothing but a Burning Light album. There was palpable wonderment in Cockburn's voice as he described the snowy Tucson day that made him want to write the song.

After a brief intermission Cockburn returned for a second set that began with another cut from Crowing Ignites, "April in Memphis," which has the title that it does because he wrote the song on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day earlier this year. Other songs played in the second set included "Bone in My Ear," "States I'm In," "Jesus Train," "Call it Democracy" and arguably Cockburn's best-known song, the pop hit "Wondering Where the Lions Are." "If a Tree Falls" closed out the set but Cockburn returned for a three-song encore, beginning with one more new cut, "Blind Willie" and then "Forty Years in the Wilderness" and "When the Sun Goes Nova."

The MIM Music Theater is an intimate 300-seat venue with incredible acoustics and as such it was the perfect place for an artist like Cockburn to perform. To see a list of performers coming to MIM go here.

Bruce Cockburn Live In Phoenix

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