Thursday, February 7, 2013

A Rocky Mountain High Concert

Last night I attended the 'Rocky Mountain High' Concert with seven other family members and my life long friend Cindy.  It was held at the lavishly decorated vintage State Theater in  Easton, PA.  The extremely congenial Jim Salestrom narrated the concert and was often featured playing the guitar, banjo, and singing. 

The other former members of John Denver's band participating were saxophonist and woodwind player Jim Horn, who also has played with all of The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Elton John, U2 and Garth Brooks; keyboardist Chris Nole, who played with Faith Hill and Travis Tritt, and guitar, banjo and fiddle player Jim Salestrom, who is an Emmy Award-winning songwriter and played with Dolly Parton, Vince Gill, Kenny Rogers and Steve Miller. The musicians also include Nate Barnes, drummer for the band Rose Hill Drive, and a string section.

John has such a tremendous collection of our favorite songs and this concert included most of them.   My sister, daughter, and I were all brought to tears when Chris Nole played the piano while on screen John sang "For You" one of John's most beautiful love songs.  I must admit that I had tears in my eyes throughout most to the concert.   

My youngest grandchild had memorized the words to Country Roads and we couldn't wait for them to play it. Well, they played it near the end and Maggie who is almost six fell asleep and her Mommy couldn't get her to wake up.

I can remember wondering what would become of Richard Carpenter's musical career after Karen had passed away.   It was never more obvious after seeing this concert's tribute to saxophonist and woodwind player Jim Horn that these musicians are extremely accomplished all on their own!  On the screen flashed tons of famous recording artists that Jim accompanied on some of their albums while Jim played a woodwind solo to Canned Heat's "Going Up Country".

The audience was packed all the way up to the balcony.  Just like the many John Denver concerts that we have attended in the past there was lots of audience participation that John had always encouraged.  Two women ran up front and started dancing to "Thank God I'm A Country Boy" and boy were they having fun! 

At the end everyone stood and begged for an encore, in fact the audience stood several times throughout the concert.  If one could bottle up the love and energy of that concert last night the world could be a much happier and peaceful place. Yes, John may have passed away in that plane crash October 12, 1997, but his spirit was surely there last night in that theater in Easton, PA! They did three encore songs and the second one was "Leaving On A Jet Plane" a song that John gifted to Peter, Paul, and Mary.

Forty years ago I fell in love with the music of John Denver with the release of his first big hit "Rocky Mountain High" and that was the last song of the evening.

One thing we who have followed John's career know is this: "John's spirit was always larger than life when he was living and surely that spirit continues through his music always and forever! "

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