Shekinah Glory

Bruce Cockburn at the National Cathedral
March 24, 2007, 12:55 pm
Filed under: Bruce Cockburn, Christianity, God, Grace, Jesus, Lent, Prayer, Religion, Spirituality, thoughts

Last night I attended a Bruce Cockburn concert at the National Cathedral. It was a part of their new series called “Rock the Church.” Cockburn’s concert was called “Acoustic for Our Earth,” and many of the songs reflected a more environmental bent. Most of his selections fell toward more recent albums. Gathering from the age of the audience and the song titles which they screamed out some wanted older material. At one point Cockburn revealed that he didn’t even remember how to play some of those old songs.

My biggest criticism of the show was the acoustics. While the cavernous nature of the Cathedral lends itself wonderfully to choral work, a solo artist with a guitar tends to get lost in the apse and high ceilings. In a more intimate space an acoustic guitar and soloist give a sense of connection with the artist that works well with deeply emotional material. Yet, sometimes this space made the distance seem much greater. This distance did however work to great effect on sustained high notes, in amplifying a single instrument and on the less complicated folk songs. On those occassions the music seemed to soar and envelope the listener.

Obviously in that sort of space the acoustics is something that the organizers can do nothing about. Bruce Cockburn as an artist was amazing. Listening to his albums I forget that he is a very accomplished musician. The arrangments of his songs are meticulous and of course his songwriting is what put me in the seat. “Mystery” was the final song of his set and it was sublime. If you haven’t heard this song you should do your soul a favor and download it from iTunes. I haven’t stopped singing it since the concert. “Don’t tell me there is no mystery, its everywhere I turn.” There I go again! On the whole it was an extremely satisfying adventure in concert going.


4 Comments so far
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“If I had a rocket launcher, I’d make somebody pay”
Interesting to see one’s musical heroes when they are older. Some delight- buddy guy, taj mahal, bob weir, the allman brothers band. Others are hit and miss yet one feels awed by their presence- jerry garcia, bob dylan. Others perhaps beyond prime should take up golf. I’d love to have seen Bruce Cockburn in such a setting.

Comment by jesse quam

My problem is that I saw Cockburn in Austin 10 years ago and that concert was hard to top. Thanks for commenting Jesse. I have been thinking about our project. You might want to check out Kirk Jones book “Addicted to Hurry” or “Shelter From the Storm.” I will get with you about coordinating dates.

Comment by pastorofdisaster

Cockburn is unbelievable, isn’t he. I’ve seen him in bookstores and outdoors, and it doesn’t matter whether he’s got a band or flying solo.

I think my favorite is “Messenger Wind,” from You’ve Never Seen Everything.

Comment by Benedict

I am quite partial to “The Coldest Night of the Year.”

Comment by pastorofdisaster

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