Wednesday 29th August 2012 – Fitzroy Presbyterian Church, Belfast
This was Bruce’s second visit to Belfast in recent years, the first being at the Errigle Inn. Both shows were well attended despite Bruce not being that well known outside his native Canada. To date he has had a fairly successful career with a substantial 24 albums under his belt. His breakthrough album being “Dancing in the Dragons Jaws” in 1979 which spawned the hit single “Wondering Where the Lions Are”. The venue this time is the unusual setting of the Fitzroy Presbyterian Church on University Street. This is a solo tour with Bruce promoting two of his recent albums, firstly 2009’s double live CD “Slice of Life” and secondly, 2011‘s “Small Source of Comfort”. The majority of the live set is taken mostly from these two albums. Bruce takes to the stage while the well-seasoned mature crowd shuffle in to the pews and offer polite, but enthusiastic applause. He kicks off with three tunes from his live album “Last Night of the World”, “The City is Hungry” and the classic “Lovers in a Dangerous Time”.
Although he is quite reserved, he engages the crowd in between songs with some banter and the quick wit of a well-seasoned story teller. Next up is the stunning “Bohemian 3-Step” from “Small Source” which shows us just what a great guitar player this man is. The first set comes to an early close with the lead track “The Iris of the World” also off the “Small Source” album and what a classic song this is too. Bruce has had his songs covered by many artists from Elbow through to the Barenaked Ladies and even K D Lang. The break gives a chance to survey the church interior which has a strong gothic feel for a concert venue, Iona being the only other artist to have played here.
The second set kicks off with “Night Train” which is a raunchy upbeat number. The mood is somber as we listen to “Pacing the Cage” and “Each One Lost”, the latter dealing with Bruce’s recent visit to Afghanistan in support of the Canadian’s army involvement. The tempo is lifted again with the classic “Wondering Where the Lions Are” in which we are all encouraged to sing along and duly comply. “Call Me a Rose” and “Put it in your Heart” bring the proceedings to a close of a great set. After much applause Bruce comes back out for two more classic songs before he takes his leave and we are left wanting more – but hey! – perhaps the next time. A truly great performer who is criminally underrated.