Monday, January 25, 2010

Live: The Eagle and the Hawk

John Denver: The Eagle and the Hawk


I imagine this week will be full of concert stories, some of which we've already heard. I wanted to be sure to post a live John Denver song before the week ended as an excuse to write about one of my favorite concert moments.

I saw John Denver in Park City, Utah (pictured above) in about 1989 at the outdoor amphitheater there. If you have never been to Park City, it is a phenomenally scenic environment, and the amphitheater is an ideal setting for live music of all kinds.

This particular concert was in the middle of the summer, when the sun sets sometime between 9:30 and 10:00 PM. We were all sitting on blankets on the hillside for the show.

At one point as the shadows were getting darker John Denver was right in the middle of a song, just him and his guitar up on stage, when he abruptly stopped playing, pointed behind the crowd and said, "Look at the sun".

Silently, thousands of heads immediately and simultaneously turned around to see the sun as it dropped below the mountains, streaks of red reflecting off of the wisps of clouds in the summer sky. I remember smiling and even laughing briefly at this impromptu shared experience. Within 10-15 seconds, Denver started to play again and the concert went on.

That's why I love live music.

I've always thought John Denver was an underrated artist. I think he made some career choices (The Muppets, that movie "Oh God!") that undermined his street cred. But up until about 1975 he could write a song with the best of them.

This is The Eagle and the Hawk, live.

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