John Prine Massey Hall, Toronto ON - September 16, 2006

Requests rained from the rafters throughout John Prine’s sold out show. The song slinger had the best comeback, telling fans, "I know them all.” Wearing a black suit, the country folk star wasted no time digging into his personal vault, picking up his acoustic guitar and charging into "Spanish Pipedream.” For the next two hours, the songwriter captivated the audience. His permanent smile was infectious. Listeners, from the orchestra pit to the upper balcony, clung to each of his words. Prine satisfied the crowd with a mix of songs from his most recent disc — the Grammy-winning Fair and Square — and many of the memorable tunes from his 1971 self-titled debut, including "Hello in There,” "Angel From Montgomery” and "Six O’clock News.” Diehard aficionados scribbled down the set list, while newcomers were spellbound wondering why it had taken them so long to discover this passionate singer-songwriter. "Sam Stone,” which tells the sombre story of a Vietnam veteran coming home with "a purple heart and a monkey on his back,” was an epic topical tale that when sung by Prine is just as relevant today as when it was penned decades ago. Highlights from Fair and Square included "Taking a Walk,” "She is My Everything” and "Some Humans Ain’t Human.” Backed by a tight band of two (bass and guitar), this dynamite duo helped Prine turn back the clocks and work through his storied box of songs. After a standing ovation, Prine returned for sing-along "Paradise” by inviting opener Dan Reeder to join him. With exquisite four-part harmony, it was a wonderful way to end a magical musical evening spent with a teller of tales, who showed that after all these years, while his voice may be a little more grizzled, the words and music remain relevant and true.