Back Home Again: A John Denver Holiday Concert has a whole lotta wholesome holiday music. Introduced as this year’s alternative to “alternative” Holiday Shows, the program is part Holiday Concert and part revival and tribute to the late John Denver. Denny Brooks, Dan Whitman and David Jackson, who all performed or toured with Denver, are joined by talented female vocalist Gail Bliss and local musicians Nova Devonie and David Miles Keenan. Back Home Again features both modern and traditional Christmas carols, as well as some of John Denver’s most memorable hits, including “Thank God I’m a Country Boy,” Grandma’s Feather Bed,” and, of course, “Back Home Again.” The concert transforms you back to where life is sweet and full of promise with its country farm setting and larger than life nature photographs taken by John Denver himself.
Along with the huge musical legacy he left behind John Denver was a social activist ahead of his time. It was 15 years ago this month, December 1992, that John Denver performed at a benefit concert at the Wheeler Opera House in Aspen, Colorado to raise money to fight the state’s new anti-gay ordinance.
He was a renowned environmentalist and humanitarian. He was the original writer of the song “Leaving on a Jet Plane” which was performed by Peter, Paul and Mary. In the 80’s, John Denver stood up against Tipper Gore and the Parents’ Music Resource Center for the rights of musicians after having his song “Rocky Mountain High” dropped by radio stations because it was assumed to be about drug use. In 1994, John became the first US pop star to ever perform in Vietnam when he gave a concert at Hanoi’s Opera House.
A longtime aviator, Denver died on October 12, 1997 when the plane he was piloting went down over Monterey Bay, California, killing him instantly.
Seattle Repertory Theatre presents Back Home Again at the Bagley Wright Theatre December 5 – 24