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4.8 out of 5 stars
An Evening With John Denver (2CD)
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69 of 69 people found the following review helpful
on January 9, 2002
Format: Audio CD
If you are going to own only one John Denver recording, this is the one to buy. I have been a huge fan of John's since I was a kid (some twenty years ago). I've always found that most live recordings just do not sound good. It's a tough way to record music, there are no second chances, etc. But this cd is an exception. The music is of a very high quality. I actually prefer many of the songs on here (Rocky Mountain High; Poems, Prayers and Promises) over the studio versions. This cd contains most of the classics, and with John singing better (in my opinion) than on the earlier studio versions. I couldn't recommend this cd higher. It's the best John Denver cd I've heard, and it's the best live cd I've heard.
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56 of 56 people found the following review helpful
on April 12, 2001
Format: Audio CD
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!
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50 of 52 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CD
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).
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on September 22, 1999
Format: Audio CD
My parents got this on Album in 1975 when I was only 2. They tell me I insisted on their playing it for me before I went to sleep.First words of childhood?You guessed it,John Denver lyrics(kind of).Purchased the CD three years ago and have enjoyed it a great deal.One thing the listener can pick up on is the astonishing sound quality of the recording.The Album sounded just as good(unless you tortured it like I did)and more modern recordings dont have this warmth.Another feature is the beautiful orchestra- it adds atmosphere the other (studio) recordings didn`t capture.Look at the inside of the booklet(pictures of John`s folks and whatnot)and you will see this is a precious gift.I would like to say that my favorite songs are "Matthew","Country Roads",and "Poems,Prayers,and Promises".If you`re not a music fan who insists on having whatever is "Relevant"this week,get a copy of this and love it for all time.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
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!
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CD
What a wonderful way to both spend some quality time with one of this century's most popular and spectacular singer/songwriters and to also introduce yourself to just how special, personable and entertaining a live performer John Denver was. Most of the music that made him famous is here, from "Rocky Mountain High" to "Annie's Song" to "Rhymes and Reasons" (one of my personal favorites) and also other less well known but still stellar efforts like "Matthew", "Rocky Mountain Suite", and a whole string of top-ten hits like "Sweet Surrender", "Take Me Home, Country Roads", "Poems, Prayers and Promises" etc. For anyone who isn't very familiar with John's honest charm, straight-out good-natured appeal, and charisma, the album offers enough of him chatting in between songs to discover just why so many of us who loved both his music and the man will always a special place in our hearts for this man who sang so singularly well about the simple, natural pleasures, and beauty in the natural world around us. John himself may be physically gone, but he lives on forever in our heads and hands and hearts, in what we do and think and remember because of him, and also so specially in the music he left behind as his personal gift . Enjoy.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on February 6, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Every artist has live albums. Some are so horrid that only true fans would ever think of making the purchase; however, sometimes there is an artist who seems to have been born to play live. Such is John Denver. No other singer has ever been able to captivate his audience like John. This album is overflowing with all of the life, energy, and shear joy that Denver brought to every stage he ever played on. From the opening chords of "The Music is You" you know you are in for an experience. John's performances are all solid, especially his lesser known tracks (Summer, Rocky Mountain Suite, Annie's Other Song, and My Sweet Lady). The last one may go down as one of his most heartfelt love songs... on the same level as his much later classic "For You". The full orchestra transforms favorites like Country Roads, The Eagle and the Hawk, and Rocky Mountain High into true masterpieces, and John's honest and simple enthusiasm make each song a part of himself that transcends through the crowd. Buy it, enjoy it, then play it again- then buy the Wildlife Concert and see for yourself why John Denver will never be forgotten.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on February 10, 2006
Format: Audio CD
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.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on July 12, 2004
Format: Audio CD
My parents got this on Album in 1975 when I was only 2. They tell me I insisted on their playing it for me before I went to sleep. First words of childhood? You guessed it, John Denver lyrics (kind of). Purchased the CD three years ago and have enjoyed it a great deal. One thing the listener can pick up on is the astonishing sound quality of the recording. The Album sounded just as good (unless you tortured it like I did) and more modern recordings dont have this warmth. Another feature is the beautiful orchestra- it adds atmosphere the other (studio) recordings didn`t capture. Look at the inside of the booklet(pictures of John`s folks and whatnot) and you will see this is a precious gift. I would like to say that my favorite songs are "Matthew","Country Roads",and "Poems,Prayers,and Promises". If you`re not a music fan who insists on having whatever is "Relevant" this week, get a copy of this and love it for all time.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on February 7, 2006
Format: Audio CD
I live in a country (Holland) where the very mentioning of the name John Denver as one of your favorite singers/songwriters causes raised eyebrows - in surprise, in condescension or maybe even in contempt. That is a pity, I believe. But well, we do live in extremely cynical times where the honest and warmly sympathetic art of John Denver would seem to be out of place ... A pity. Anyhow, for better or for worse, I do love his music, however 'sentimental' people may think it be.
There is, I think, no better way than to immerse oneself in the art of John Denver and the musicians around him, than to listen to this great concert from 1974 - when he was seemingly at the height of his career. The singing is excellent - the music-making is excellent (with small orchestra of violins, with flute, mandolin, banjo, dobro etc.) - the live atmosphere is wonderful and only enhances the feeling of a 'special occasion' that surely must have been going on then - and of which we now can be part again whenever we want to be soothed by John Denver's sweet singing ...
The selection of songs sung by John Denver on these CD's is quite generous (more than 22 at the Universal Amphitheatre, with some 8 more from another live occasion at Red Rocks). I for one will not need any other CD, so very wide and beautiful is the selection of songs here, with many of his greatest hits and many, many more, all ranging from the intimate to the grandiloquent to the humorous and back again. And also, I really love the live atmosphere, giving an axtra glow, energy and inspiration to the singing and music-making, aside from the nice concert hall acoustics.
Far Out!
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