Since first hearing about the musical Book of Mormon, I have wanted to see it. We’re talking since pre-production here. So when I found out it was FINALLY touring, I knew I would get tickets no matter the cost. I had the date and time of ticket sales in my phone the moment it was announced and was poised and ready to go with my credit card in hand on September 21st.
Not gonna lie, Broadway shows are expensive even when they aren’t on Broadway. But I love musical theater and usually have butterflies in my stomach and tears in my eyes from beginning to end. Book of Mormon was no different. It was well sung, well danced, and hilarious. Yes, I spent *mumblemumbletoomuch* for tickets but it was worth every penny.
Fast forward to December when I find out that there’s a John Denver tribute concert coming to town in February. Sweet! Mom’s Christmas and Birthday present, sorted! So I go downtown to buy tickets without all the internet fees, and then about an hour later, sitting at Marvel Bar, I think “Huh. I can’t remember when Book of Mormon is. I sure hope I didn’t double book.” Thankfully I didn’t get tickets to two things at the same time…just on the same day! So Book of Mormon was at 1 and Rocky Mountain High was at 7. Oh goodness.
Thanks to a strange set of circumstances, Rich and I had to meet downtown for Book of Mormon, then he drove me to St. Louis Park’s West End for dinner with he and my Mom and Cooper Irish Pub. (Good food, skip dessert.) And then Mom drove me BACK downtown for the concert. I really expected this blog post to be all about Book of Mormon. It was big and flashy and I waited years to see it. But instead, I really want to talk about John Denver.
John Denver’s music was the soundtrack to my childhood. “For Baby (For Bobbie)” was the lullaby my Mom sang to me. I can’t hear Rocky Mountain High without smelling the coffee in the thermos my parents had for road trips out to Montana. Mom taught her third graders the song Grandma’s Feather Bed, a memory that friends still mention to me.
The show was a unique blend of photos, concert video, and live musicians – many of whom toured with Denver. It was artfully woven together so that it was easy to forget John Denver wasn’t there, wasn’t singing. It was usually his vocals with the live musicians. Haunting, but moving.
Listening now, as an adult, I can see how his music buried itself in my heart and shaped how I live and love. Not to mention giving me great respect for singer/songwriters. His lyrics are often poetic, saying things that now I see as how I want to love and be loved. I’ve posted a few of my favorites at the end of this post.
As I sat in the beautiful State Theater, it dawned on me that 20 years ago my Mom and I (and my Dad) had sat in the Orpheum Theater, where I was earlier that day, and saw John Denver perform live. We also saw him at WE Fest in 1996, the year before he died. I feel like I saw him again today, though he is tragically long gone. But I am thankful to have had one last chance to experience his music with my Mom, as an adult, and to celebrate and grieve this man who gave us so much beloved music.