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Saturday, April 13, 2013

Judy Collins

The Stiefel Theatre
Salina, KS
© Lydia Lowe 2013

Judy Collins is nothing but class.  She hit the stage and the crowd burst into huge applause with the opening notes of Judy's first song, "Song for Judith (Open the Door)".  She followed this with "Both Sides Now" which was a crowd favorite.  She followed this with an acapella number, "Oh I Had A Golden Thread" and her voice rang out clear and strong throughout The Stiefel Theatre.  She sang several songs acapella throughout the evening.

What was great about this show is that it was Judy, her guitar, and her music.  It was like we were sitting around in her livingroom and she was giving us an impromptu concert.  Her piano player provided background music and background vocals on some of the songs.  And at one point Judy played the piano for a couple of songs.  At no point in the set did she take a break and the stamina involved in a one woman show, singing every song for nearly two hours is an amazing test of her gift.  In fact the longer she sang, the more energy she seemed to draw from the audience.

Throughout the evening, between songs, Judy told stories about her life and the amazing songwriters that she had worked with throughout the years.  She spoke of her friendship with Woody Guthrie and sang a song that Guthrie wrote for his son Arlo when he was a baby, entitled "Dry Now".  Many of her stories, like this one, had the audience laughing out loud.  She sang a Jimmy Webb song, "Campo de Encino" which was simply magic in words and music.  Between the stories and the incredible music, truly Judy Collins is a performer for the ages.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Doobie Brothers

The Stiefel Theatre
Salina, KS
© Lydia Lowe 2013

If you missed The Doobie Brothers show on Tuesday night, April 9, at The Stiefel Theatre, you missed a lot.  This show started rocking right from the start and the intensity never, ever, let up; not for one minute.  They started the set with "Jesus Is Just Alright" and the crowd hit their feet immediately.

One hit after another followed that with the crowd on their feet for most of the show.  We heard all the hits, from: Rockin' Down the Highway, Take Me in Your Arms, What a Fool Believes, Takin' It To The Streets, Blackwater, and Without You.  The crowd never really sat down during the entire two hour show and it was impossible to not sing along with the lyrics to the songs or keep time clapping your hands and stomping your feet.  In fact, the band encouraged the crowd to participate during the show.  We didn't need that much encouragement, believe me.  The band never took a break throughout their set.

What's great about a Doobie Brothers show is the wide range of instruments that the band plays.  There were the usual guitar and bass guitar, but there were also two drummers, a synthesizer, electric piano, saxophone, harmonica, and a violin. 

The crowd was so electrified by the end of the show, none of us wanted it to end, including the band.  Of course the crowd through up a ruckus when the band left the stage, so they returned for a three song encore, which included "China Grove" and finished strong with "Listen To The Music".  This was a sold out show and I heard by way of the grapevine that The Doobie Brothers were so pleased with the crowd and The Stiefel Theatre that they were hinting strongly about coming back to Salina to play The Stiefel Theatre again. 


Monday, April 8, 2013


Monday Night Book Discussions
(written by Alan Brennert)
Salina Public Library
Salina, KS
© Lydia Lowe  4/8/2013

     I love the cover of this book as I'm really drawn to Hibiscus blossoms and all things Hawaii so naturally I was going to have to pick the book up.  And now you're sensing a "but".  But, while this book has exciting cover art, the story is a bit ponderous.

     Don't get me wrong, the book, the story, and the history of leprosy (Hansen's disease) are all covered quite well.  The book holds your attention and even the disease is kept somewhat a mystery all through the book with just small bits of information released to the reader.  I did additional research on my own to find out more and I think that is the hallmark of a great read.  The reader wants to know more about the subject matter.

     My problem with the book is that it is quite long and at several times during the book, I simply didn't want to hear any more about the disease.  It was overwhelming.  I understand and know that any disease that is a chronic condition can get to be overwhelming for most patients.  It's one of those enough is enough type of situations.  The patient doesn't want to hear anything more about the illness they are struggling with they just want to go to some place in their mind where they are not their disease.  This too may have been a writing technique that the author was using to draw the reader into the story.

     I think that the book overall was a great read and is well worth the time.  I have a bit of a squeamish stomach and thought at the onset that I would have trouble continuing with the book but that didn't happen, the author doesn't go into lots of graphic detail.   I think the book is a bit overlong but it does wrap up nicely at the end.