Cindy B. (rjsmom) from LINCOLN, NE Reviewed on 9/1/2006...
It will leave you wanting more!
steves65 | Antioch, CA United States | 04/12/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"It has always been a source of frustration to find a favorite double album condensed into a "single, specially priced CD." Fortunately, in the case of "EWJD," this has finally been corrected. Granted, the original edit deleted only two songs, (Today; Boy From the Country), but to anyone who owned the LP, these were far from throwaway tracks. They were, in fact, among the best songs in the collection! So to begin, I say kudos for restoring a wonderful concert album to its original greatness.On "An Evening With John Denver," John is just as we remember him: warm, disarming, engaging - a gifted storyteller. His voice is strong and unmistakably unique. The song selection ranges from sunny ballads (Mother Nature's Son; Grandma's Featherbed), to catchy new entries (Annie's Other Song; Pickin' the Sun Down) to humorous observations (Forest Lawn; Saturday Night in Toledo, Ohio) to the obvious soaring hits (Take Me Home, Country Roads; Rocky Mountain High). It is indeed 80 minutes of listening pleasure.On the other hand...As nifty an idea that is the bonus cut, I only wish these could have been chosen a bit more carefully. For instance, why was it necessary to include a second version of "Saturday Night in Toledo, Ohio?" Side note: Why was the song renamed "Toledo" when the album first came out on CD, and why is it presented here under two different titles? Nitpicking aside, the Red Rocks version, in my opinion, is actually better than the Universal Amphitheater version. However, "Intro" simply means John saying "Good evening!" A nice touch would have been to include the oft-told story about the three folks from Toledo who once paid John a visit back stage after a concert."Follow Me / Leaving On a Jet Plane" is a pleasing medley that presents probably the prettiest versions yet of these heartfelt songs."City of New Orleans" benefits from a funny insight into the origin of the song. It is an infectious, lively rendition and immediately engages the audience. Only one problem, however - John flubs a line! Arrgghh! You will no doubt hear it coming every time, just like a *pop* on an old LP.The "Zachary and Jennifer / For Baby (For Bobbie)" medley lends itself well to this collection. John invites the audience to sing along for the last verse of "Baby.""I'd Rather Be a Cowboy," maybe the best cut on Farewell Andromeda, is tailor made for a concert venue. In this case, however, while John's voice comes through crystal clear, it sounds as if the orchestra was recorded with the Dolby B switched on! Also, true Denverphiles will catch the single word miscue in the second verse.The most surprising cut of all, though, was saved for last. "Amsterdam," while not generally thought of as a Denver staple, is a powerful, moving, albeit far from glowing testimonial to a forsaken seaport. It is John at his best and should have brought the house down.Do I recommend the record? Yes. Could it have been better? You bet. In fact, for me it raises the questions: How much more unreleased concert footage is out there, and will it ever make its way to a true box set complete with outtakes, studio sessions, alternate takes, etc? Boy, would that be something!"
The quintessential John Denver concert, circa 1974
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 08/01/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The first concert I ever went to happened to be a John Denver concert, where he performed in front of giant screens that showed pictures of nature and my girlfriend had to explain to me what that strange smoky smell in the air happened to be. This 1975 "double-album" show cases Denver at his best, with live performances of basically every hit he had up to that time, from "Take Me Home, Country Roads" to "Farewell Andromeda (Welcome to My Morning)" and "Thank God I'm a Country Boy." The concert was recorded at the California Universal Amphitheater in August-September of 1974 and is actually a typical performance because Denver is being backed by an orchestra this time around. The boys in the band are Steve Weisberg on guitars, Dick Kniss of bass, Herb Lovell on drums, Hal Blaine doing percussions, and John Sommers filling in on everything from guitar and banjo to fiddle and mandolin. There is a sort of thematic arrangement to the songs, which clearly show the various strengths of Denver's music. Beginning the concert with "Farewell Andromeda" seems an obvious choice ("Welcome to my morning, Welcome to my Happiness"), but notice how he uses humorous songs like "Toldeo" and "Grandma's Feather Bed" to set up the pathos of the beautiful "Annie's Song." Ballads are used to set up the more powerful songs, such as "The Eagle and the Hawk." The only thing this live album reaffirms for me is that John Denver's best songs were never his big hits from the pop charts but songs like "Poems, Prayers, and Promises." Two songs, "Today" and "Boy from the Country," are omitted from the CD reissue for time reasons, but since they are a pair of minor covers it is not a painful loss. Even with those losses "An Evening with John Denver" is a superb live album, one of the best of the Seventies and a good addition to your music library regardless of how many John Denver albums you currently have in your possession. For me, there is the added advantage of this being pretty much the concert I remember hearing back then (probably Fall of 1973, maybe the spring of 1974)."
Good Evening, Everybody!
Barron Laycock | Temple, New Hampshire United States | 07/28/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"From that wonderful brief salutation, this concert album was one of the best live performances ever released. Indeed, this album is a precious gift that John Denver left for all of us to remember him by, giving us all such a sweet glimpse into not only his spectacular musical prowess but also his warm and charismatic charm. Anyone who was lucky enough to have either seen him live in concert or to watch perform on TV are aware of how special he was, and what a wonderful present he has left us to remember him by. This is a wonderful compilation of John Denver's greatest hits performed live even as he was continuing to make them. There is a collection of great hits albums, but this terrific representation features many of the monster hits that propelled him into amazing popularity and superstardom in the early 1970s. In his heyday no one was outselling his albums or out-booking John for concert appearances, and considering the incredible talents on the scene at the time, that is a pretty good indication of just how popular he was, and just how universal John Denver's appeal was. No one else sang of the wide-open possibilities and seemingly limitless prospects for a good life awaiting those who would free themselves from the bonds that confined them and just dare to soar along with him in the wild open spaces. All the tracks here are absolutely terrific, from the stirring opening number, "Farewell Andromeda" to a later "Take Me Home, Country Roads", the breakthrough country-pop hit that launched him onto the public stage, from a nice version of "Rocky Mountain High", his paean to appreciating the beauties of nature and the natural life to a stirring rendition of his "Rocky Mountain Suite". He, more than any of his contemporaries, actively caught the public's imagination regarding the wonders of the natural environment, and in a time when environmental concerns were splashed all over the headlines and the evening news, John's vision of popular concern for and stewardship of the natural world was immensely important. I love all the songs here, including "Annie's Song", "Rhymes And Reasons ", "Thank God I'm A Country Boy", " The Eagle And The Hawk", and my own special favorites, "Poems, Prayers, And Promises" and "Matthew". This album represents a wonderful overview of the early work of John as he thrilled a whole generation with his own perspective of a meaningful life lived in the natural splendor of nature. Far Out!"
THE John Denver LIVE album
W. Fred Evans | Hampton, VA United States | 02/10/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"From FAREWELL ANDROMEDA to THIS OLD GUITAR, every track was sung with love. John Denver had a great rapport with the audience . Listening to that album is like sittin' by a campfire with many of your best friends. There are no faults with this CD. Well maybe just one. The bonus tracks has some songs that were already included in the show, but others than that, the CD is PERFECT. I especially loved TODAY and BOY FROM THE COUNTRY. ROCKY MOUNTAIN HIGH took me well above the stratosphe. What was so great that when I thought TAKE ME HOME, COUNTRY ROADS would take you high, he took you even higher with ROCKY MOUNTAIN HIGH. I loved that part when he sang the last verse ("Rocky Mountain High......Rocky Mountain Highhhhhhhhhh.....Rocky Mountain Highhhhhighhhhhhhhh...dooo dooo dooo!!") It brought tears to my eyes! I first bought this album in LP format way back in 1975, then shortly afterwards, I bought the cassette. In 1993 I bought the CD(less two songs..grrrr!!!) When the expanded version came out, all hell broke loose. I think I bought the first one out of the shipping box at the music store. The same day I bought the CD, my wife and I went to Shenandoah National Park and listened to it during our trip. One for the ages. AN EVENING WITH JOHN DENVER belongs up there with ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND LIVE AT FILLMORE EAST."