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There is not much to say about Luka Bloom that I have not already said a few hundred times to you or to my friends. The man is an amazing songwriter and guitar player, and a consummate performer… a very worthwhile combination in a great sounding, fairly intimate venue like the Soiled Dove Underground. Luka's set list included songs from all facets of his career and had wider breadth than his previous two shows in Denver, which focused more on his newer releases. Luka was obviously having a fun time singing and interacted quite a bit with a more vocal crowd than I'd seen in a while, as well. The true magic of seeing Luka play live is that it is a constant reminder of just how incredibly powerful music can be when it is broken down to simply a voice and a guitar; this show was certainly no exception and may have been one of the most energetic and powerful performances I have ever witnessed by the man.

The set list ran like this:
1. There Is A Time
2. I Am Not At War With Anyone
3. Here And Now
4. Tribe
5. See You Soon
6. I Love The World I'm In
7. Primavera
8. To Make You Feel My Love
9. City Of Chicago
10. No Matter Where You Go, There You Are
11. Eastbound Train
12. Peace On Earth
13. Dreams In America
14. Gone To Pablo
15. Monsoon
16. Every Man
17. Sunny Sailor Boy
18. I'm On Your Side
19. The Acoustic Motorbike (encore)
20. You Couldn't Have Come At A Better Time (encore)

That's twenty songs folks… Twenty. All without anything to hide behind, simply a man and his guitar. The songs ranged from the soft darkness of the incredible "Gone To Pablo" to the rocking strum of "You Couldn't Have Come At A Better Time" , but all were played with a ferocious love that truly came out through Luka's crowd interactions (which incidentally included a lot more use of the word feckin' than I've previously heard the man utter in one night). Luka was in great form, very relaxed and happy, making me realize that the life of an Irish gypsy must be a pretty grand thing. Some funny stories came out, including a great story about a previous tour in Australia and interaction with a lady, and Luka's voice sounded just tremendous, well recovered from the trauma of the early 2000s. The crowd at the Dove seemed a bit older on this cool June evening, and I was surprised by how many folks had no connection to the newer songs, but were eager to chime in on the older. There were also many more singalongs this evening than I've previously witnessed at a Bloom show, including the songs "Tribe" (which was just tremendous), "Eastbound Train", and "Sunny Sailor Boy" (of course!).

While there is not much new to say about the power and beauty of a Luka Bloom show, there is exactly that to be said. Few performers can entrance a crowd the way that Luka can do, especially in a sparse - numbers-wise - environment. With his down-tuned acoustic guitars and his wonderful voice, Luka Bloom proves over and over again that music comes much more from the heart than from a bunch of instruments… All one really needs to convey the brilliance of their soul is an acoustic and a wonderful voice, and this night is exacting proof of that statement.

-David DeVoe

Luka Bloom
June 3, 2009
Soiled Dove Underground, Denver, Colorado
www.lukabloom.com

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