John Prine: Sanders Theater, Cambridge, MA – 3/30/07

Celebrating the 49th anniversary of Club Passim, John Prine performed a heart-felt performance at Sanders Theater, an age-old converted church that provided everyone in attendance with an environment that offered near-perfect acoustics, and cozy intimacy that set the mood just right.

Club Passim, a small venue based in Harvard Square, has been a vital location in the American tradition of folk music since Bob Dylan was still known as Bobby Zimmerman. Having aided the careers of folk scene staples such as Joan Baez, and Tom Rush, John Prine seemed honored to help the Boston folk scene celebrate an institution that has contributed so much to his less-than-thriving scene. 

Prine’s performance showcased his harmonized approach to story telling, in addition to a newly grizzled vocal styling that is the result of his triumph over throat cancer. 

Taking the stage flanked on both sides by a guitarist and bassist, who seemed young enough to have been his children, Prine held his own on the stage as he worked his way through a set of old school folk tunes that were heavily cross-bred with his unique brand of country rhythms. Before each and every song, Prine introduced the coming tune with the story behind its origins.

After the first few songs, Prine eagerly jumped into a high paced performance of “Your Flag Decal Won’t Get You Into Heaven Anymore.” The tune showcased lyrics critical of those who wage war, such as “your flag decal wont get you into heaven any more, they’re already overcrowded from your dirty little war. Now Jesus don’t like killin no matter what the reasons for…” Conveniently, Prine’s Nam-era anti-war balled took on a whole new meaning in an age of troop-surges and web-viewed executions that everyone in the crowd could identify with. Driving this point home, Prine jokingly noted after the song “I thought I’d put that song away for good.”

After wrapping the formal chunk of the set, Prine and his sidemen took a breather before they came back to the stage to sing an old folk balled with the night’s openers, Michael Troy, and Mary Gauthier. The performers gracefully closed the evening’s festivities in a celebratory fashion that would give any one-time viewer of The Band’s The Last Waltz a sharp dose of “I Shall Be Released”-oriented déjà vu.

Related Content

Recent Posts

New to Glide

Keep up-to-date with Glide