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John Prine at SMU. Long live the king

A moment's contemplation
A moment's contemplation
Dale Arnold

The room was still. Silent. It seemed to be holding it's breath, if that is possible. The theater was like an indoor Roman auditorium. Perhaps very similar to a congress hall. There were no senators or politicians. At least none made themselves known. There was however a hall overflowing with yearning Romans, waiting for their Caesar to return. Though there was no drama with a Pompei figure or intrigue waiting, the comparisons to ancient Rome were all over SMU's Mcfarlin musical hall.

The stage was adorned with rich red flags, and the entrance of John Prine was more like a ruler's entrance than a Songwriter's. The applause he received seemed to wither into the shadows as Prine's guitar struck it's first chord. It chimed and it rang across the hall. It solidified his grip on his followers, and it was obvious and absolute and his backing musicians were staunch warriors at his side. His guitar player even resembled a young curly haired Antony, and he smiled with pride and puffed his chest  whenever Prine looked to him with approval after a solo.

Though Prine missed a few words to a new song midway through his performance, he played it off with a smile and the audience gushed with smiles and laughter. He was at the pinnacle of his craft. His war on complacency and his reverence for the mundane moments in full view. His style and delivery are of the sort that Twain would approve of, knowing there is no such thing as a simple or uneventful life.  It shone through and landed onto his listeners. From Dear Abby all the way to Angel from Montgomery, the crowd breathed and sighed and outlined nearly very word with their lips.  It was wonderful to have Prine in Dallas again.

The night was summed up perfectly, when John Prine took a pull from a bottle of water and looked into the crowd. A hungry Roman yelled to his hero from the upper reaches of the theater: Long live the King!

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