Thursday, April 9, 2020

John Prine - NFOTM Concert, Illinois State University, March 12, 1971

Promo copy of Prine's first album given to NFOTM by the man himself
Pantagraph March 11, 1971
In March of 1971, 24-year-old John Prine performed one of his first concerts outside of the Chicago area.  Traveling 130 miles south on a Friday night to the campus of Illinois State University in Normal, Prine went on stage at 8 pm and played two sets at the Red Door in the (Old) Union building.

The concert was sponsored by the New Friends of Old Time Music, a student organization that promoted folk, blues and bluegrass concerts on campus for more than 15 years. (See NFOTM for more on the organization.)  Like all of the NFOTM shows at the time, the John Prine concert was free.

John performed over 20 songs that evening, accompanied only by his guitar.  His first album would not be released for another eight months (though Prine did provide an early promo copy of the LP for NFOTM - shown above).  While most of the songs he played that night were on his debut album, several would not be released for years to come.  Almost certainly everyone in attendance that night was hearing Prine and all of these songs for the very first time.  Below is the full set list:
  • Your Flag Decal Won't Get You Into Heaven Anymore
  • Angel From Montgomery
  • Aw Heck
  • Hello In There
  • Paradise
  • Illegal Smile
  • Great Society Conflict Veteran's Blues (aka Sam Stone)
  • Donald and Lydia
  • Way Down
  • Spanish Pipedream
  • Quiet Man
ISU senior Janel Hiland performed between sets 
  • Flashback Blues
  • Sour Grapes
  • Blue Umbrella
  • The Frying Pan
  • Souvenirs
  • The Great Compromise
  • Spanish Pipedream
  • Six O'Clock News
  • Clocks and Spoons
  • Your Flag Decal Won't Get You Into Heaven Anymore
  • Hey Good Lookin' / Jambalaya
Thanks to Bill Kemp and the McLean County Museum of History, Greg Koos, Chris Koos, Keith Zaleski, Bruce Bergethon, Laine Morreau, Milner Library and Illinois State University.



  1. What a great find! Thanks for putting this up.
    RIP John...

  2. Thank you very much. I hope some more of these come out too. Tom Waits would be terrific.

  3. Wow! So sad that John has passed on, but glad to see great old nuggets like this recording come to light.

  4. As John Candy's William B. would say, "Cool, Daddy, Cool!"

  5. What a great find! Saw him a few years after this at NIU, and many times since. Always great. He will be missed. RIP, John.

  6. John Prine was classic he came to DeKalb and played at Juicy John Pink's!

  7. Thanks for this. He was a giant of a human being.

  8. I saw Prine several times in the early seventies at DAR constitution Hall in DC. He would come out with two bar stools, he sat on one and a pitcher of beer and a mug sat on the other. Encore he came out with a bottle of bud.