Posted by: suek2001 | January 18, 2015

Ahh..to be alive and witness musical history..

There’s a new shirt that’s being offered to John Denver fans…

“I may be old but I saw John Denver on stage”…

To which I say…YOU BETCHA!!!!

One of my snarky friends thought that it wasn’t really worth bragging about but I will tell as many as I can about the THREE times I saw John Denver in concert…

The first time was on August 23rd, 1986 at the Minnesota State Fair….I know I have written about this countless times but I still remember it like it was yesterday..

John was touring with his full band…as part of his One World tour…and the setllist relied heavily on One World and Dreamland Express album cuts…Notable songs..at least to me…were Boy From the Country..(Something about that pure voice and guitar)…Shanghai Breezes..meant a lot to my Aunt and I…and John’s cover of Claudette…with “Dancing” Denny Brooks dueting…a rollicking version..miles better than the album version..

The concert lasted two hours and still remains a highlight of my teen years…

I would see John a second time  on June 22nd, 1987 in Rochester, MN..with my Aunt…and this time John did a stripped down show..just his guitar with James Burton and Jerry Scheff..the only other instruments onstage was a string quartet…

That concert was notable for great versions of songs like “Flying For Me”..I finally got to see the video too…He also did “Eagle and the Hawk” and so many others…

I got thrown out of the auditorium by security when they realized I did not have a backstage pass…Betsy was so embarrased,  she wouldn’t speak to me on the drive home..Still, a great show…

The last John Denver concert I was was April 23rd, 1993..it took place at the Naples Beach Hotel..( I think the hotel was razed a few years ago) It took place on a warm night next to the Gulf of Mexico. I went with two friends from church which was a thrill…This concert mirrored the Wildlife Concert..and John seemed to shed the serious persona that he had in the 80’s..he seemed less preachy and more relaxed and humorous…I recall hearing Amazon…Thirsty Boots and so many others….The band was just so full of life and joy. It was so good to see John so happy..and in such a great groove..

One thing to note..this concert was a benefit concert..$40 tickets went to the Fillabelly Foundation..They did fundraisers every year…and from what I gathered, the Foundation set a record that has yet to be topped by anyone else…John donated all of the sales of his merchandise to the cause…and I bought a t-shirt too!

I would have tickets to see John a fourth time in Minneapolis with the Minnesota Orchestra on May 15th, 1998…but that crappy plane took that away from me and so many others..I would wind up seeing The Kingston Trio that same night and meet George Grove, their awesome banjo player, that same night…and my folk music world would change forever..

It’s been quite a few years since John Denver has been with us..and those who want to mock his talents and gifts never really gave him a chance…Those of us who were lucky to see him on stage, never forgot. John had a way of taking an audience of over 1,000 and making each person feel like he was singing to them..and that’s something you can’t get from a You Tube video…

I was a blessed woman and those who saw him on stage will say the same thing…

Far out!

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