What We’ve Learned from Ricky Nelson (Click for More…..)

28 June 2022

Jim and Anne – We Look Pleased with Ourselves

Here is a letter we recently received from a disappointed concert attendee:

“The popular songs that your group performed were done very well however half of the songs were unknown to most and while I’m sure they were performed well, that is not what I paid to see/hear. I can appreciate that you know so much trivia about John Denver but the show was not advertised as a documentary. We see two or three shows there each summer and drive over an hour to get there. I, as well as the others in my group left the (venue) disappointed for the first time ever.”

I probably don’t have to tell you, THAT kind of letter really grabs our attention!  As entertainers, we are essentially people-pleasers, and when we became entertainers we opened ourselves up to praise AND criticism.  Praise is easy (we ALL want that!) –  but with the praise, sometimes there is criticism  – and in these days of social platforms, both are given freely whether asked for or not.

The first thing we do is check back at the set list, There were 4 unknown songs in the entire 2 hour playlist of hit songs.….one because it was specifically written about the very place we were standing.  We explained that during the show. We thought it was cool, but apparently the complainer thought of this as part of our “documentary.”

The next thing we do is reply to the complainer.  This is hard.  We want to defend ourselves, we want to prove them wrong, make them feel bad for criticizing and we want them to understand the agony we go through trying to decide what everyone wants to hear out of a very large repertoire of excellent music. We want to send them copies of all the letters we received from people that LOVED the show – but in the end, all we could say to this person was “We are sorry you were disappointed” and in spite of all the praise we received from OTHER people who went to the exact same concert, this person’s comments will be a nagging reminder that, hard as we try, we can’t please everyone.  

In 1971, singer/songwriter Ricky Nelson performed at Madison Square Garden in what should have been the highlight of his career.  Instead, he was nearly booo’d off the stage by an audience that preferred to hear Ricky’s hit songs instead of the new songs he and his band wanted to present. Ricky was unnerved and cut his set short.  From this bad experience, Ricky wrote the song “Garden Party” which became his first US top 10 hit since 1963. 

Remember…. in this day and age, criticism is easy and it is encouraged by greedy retailers who’ve convinced us that the customer is always right.  It is also encouraged by social platforms that allow everyone to share their opinions freely (PS they also make a lot of money doing this).   Moving forward, we will always read, listen and reply to every comment we receive, and we will do our best to reply in a professional manner.  In the end though, for our own sanity, we remember these helpful quotes:

  • “You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time”  –  John Lydgate
  •  “The only taste of success some people will get is when they have a bite of you.”  –  Zig Ziglar
  •  “Care about what other people think and you will always be their prisoner.” — Lao Tzu
  •  “You can’t please everyone, so you gotta please yourself.” – Ricky Nelson

Comments

  1. Posted by: Stacy Burns

    I’m so very sorry for the negative review you received . I have personally seen you twice at the Amish Country Theater in Ohio. Your WHOLE show even the “ Documentary Story” portions were AWESOME!!! I love all the tidbits of knowledge. If you stop learning, you stop living!!! Keep your head up. In this digital age even more people can complain about the slightest little thing. Your whole band is very talented and you make the songs come alive!! Keep it up. Sincerely Stacy Burns (A BIG FAN OF JIM CURRY!!!)

  2. Posted by: Linda Benecke

    I’m sure some people won’t be happy regardless of if you stand on your head and wiggle your ears. Being a John Denver fan forever, I cannot find one thing to find issue with watching your show. It brought back so many wonderful memories and my heart was full of tears and love. Whenever you are in my part of town I welcome seeing you again. You are the best in what you present to an audience that holds John Denver close to our hearts.

    Rock on!

    Thank you for bringing back everything about John and his music.

  3. Posted by: Annie Dufour

    I attended your show many years ago, in El Paso, Texas. It was, absolutely, the best tribute show I ever have been to. I thought I was hearing John Denver, himself! You carry on his music so well. Just proves that you and your group are excellent musicians, in your own right. I would love to hear your original songs. Thank you for sharing your talents. God bless and keep you as you travel and perform.

  4. Posted by: Jennifer Hunter

    Back when I was seeing real live John Denver concerts, I really looked forward to hearing the new music John was writing. They didn’t play the new stuff on the radio. Maybe for some people, the old stuff became their familiar music where they were closer to their old memories. When John passed, I thought about that, that I would never hear the songs he would have written if he were still here performing. Jim and Anne, that is what you bring because you continue in the same spirit of compassion and inspiration. I love to hear the mix of John’s hits and the Curry originals that you bring. Don’t we all have room in our hearts for this? That is what John Denver would have wanted from his fans… as he would say to make a bit of room for each other and be careful going home. If you understand, then you get it. It’s not about choosing between me OR you, It is about me AND you together sharing the world and some great music.

  5. Posted by: Steve Weller

    Anne, everyone has an opinion, sometimes it’s best to keep it to yourself. You and Jim and the band have had a rough couple of years with the pandemic. I, for one, appreciate what you do. I saw JD in concert 15 times and can remember him saying….”It’s my show”, meaning he had the final say in what goes on, on stage. I have seen you guys probably a dozen times and will see you again in Banning in August. Keep up the great shows, JD lives through your hard work and talent.

  6. Posted by: Kris Ozimek

    Dear Jim and Anne, I sure wish people could just keep their negativity to themselves. I enjoy all the JD tribute artists, especially you guys. I guess you can’t please everyone all the time, but must we be so critical of one another? Thanks for all you do to keep John’s memory alive.
    Sincerely,
    Kris

  7. Posted by: James Weston

    There were 4 unknown songs in the entire 2 hour playlist of hit songs.….one because it was specifically written about the very place we were standing. We explained that during the show. We thought it was cool, but apparently the complainer thought of this as part of our “documentary.” The one time I heard your awesome concert in Antioch Ca. I got the impression not every song was a John Denver song but you folks did SO well I was NOT about to complain. 4 songs out of a 2 and a half hour program. I cannot say what I want to in this comment but the words are not in any dictionary I have seen. You may have felt it was necessary to apologize, but that’s because you are good people and he is NOT.

  8. Posted by: Margie Hoff

    Some people believe they are the center of the universe. Those people never seem satisfied. Personally, I LIKE hearing more obscure songs. I would prefer not to hear the same “hit” songs over and over and over and over. (If I never hear “Sunshine” again, I will be very happy!) I do, however understand that other people love that song and understand why it is included in concerts.
    When I am shopping, I usually take critical reviews with a pound of salt, since lots of them are just people thinking their criticisms make them important. One creative person took 1 star reviews of the National Parks and made posters that are wonderful.(Yosemite – Trees block the view and there are too many grey rocks.)
    You do good work. Keep it up!

  9. Posted by: Michele Miller

    I have seen your show several times in Rochester, NY and in The Villages in FL. I usually attend more than one of your shows during the few days you are in these locations because I enjoy them so much. No, you can’t please everyone and I sometimes think there are some people that just can’t be happy no matter what you do so focus on all of the positive comments that come your way. I can’t wait to see you in September in Ocala, FL.

  10. Posted by: Matt Welch

    I don’t think negative comments need to be acknowledged. They aren’t going to come again so nothing to gain.
    I’ve caught your Christmas show in Tucson a few years ago. We loved your show! I got to meet John one time and saw him perform 4 times. When I saw your show, I felt you captured his spirit and when I closed my eyes felt I was listening to John. Sure there were some songs not John’s, so what
    You even sang a song that you said John wrote but never performed. You completed it and ssng it. It was wonderful.
    Yeah, social media can be cruel. I stopped reading “comments” from people about things I say or post. Comments are like bums, everyone has one.

  11. Posted by: Penny McDonell Bloom

    I have been to quite a few of your shows. Some with just Jim and you singing. a couple with part of the Band. Others with the full Band. Any 2 with full Orchestra.Each one a little different and everyone a pure delight. Loved all of them. See you in Banning..

  12. Posted by: Timothy B Legate

    If I wanted to listen to only the most popular songs I would have put a greatest hits CD into my stereo, sat back in my living room and saved myself money and time. I took the time and spent the money because I wanted much more than just a playback of John’s greatest hits. Your deep knowledge and insight into John and his life are a valuable treasure. It is something that you are the caretaker of and my wife and I are grateful to you for sharing it with us. As an entertainer/singer myself I know for me, no matter how many times I perform, I am always striving for the perfect show. We are more fragile than anyone can imagine and words cut very deep into our psyche and our confidence. The hardest thing is to put those comments into perspective. A crowded room will cheer and compliment us but one person’s criticism can fade the crowd into a silent blur. You are amazing Jim. Focus on us, your fans. West Bend, WI

  13. Posted by: Maggie Poling

    The only complaint I have is you have too many concerts in California. We need you more on the East coast! Preferably in St. Petersburg, Florida where I saw and loved your show!

  14. Posted by: Louise Willard

    There were 17 of my neighbors and friends who thoroughly enjoyed your show in Lake Placid, Fl. It was the second year for a couple of us. Also, we talked about coming a third time next year.

  15. Posted by: Diane Butler

    So sorry you received such a negative comment.
    We love your show and try to attend anytime you are within a days drive
    from our VA home
    We stay overnight and enjoy ourselves
    Although I have considered the IA or KS show this year.
    Love y’ll

  16. Posted by: Detra and Bryan Morton

    Anne and Jim,
    We have attended multiple concerts of yours at multiple venues.
    We love these evenings. The music takes us back to many happy memories as
    a couple. Keep up the good work. You guys are terrific. Our only
    complaint: not enough concerts in central NC! Detra and Bryan Summerfield NC.

  17. Posted by: Linda Baron

    Sorry to hear of the negative comments by one of your concert attendees. In this day of social media site forums, some people just love to complain and be negative. I am just so surprised that this person would attend a concert and not think the performers would include new and “unknown” songs in their sets. I for one love to hear BOTH. I look forward to hearing new or unknown songs. That’s what makes the show fun and interesting. I think most concert attendees would agree with that but unfortunately there are a few that don’t.

    Please continue what you are doing, playing the familiar and unknown songs too!
    Last time I saw you in concert was in Bakersfield, California. I don’t live there but was visiting that area at the time. Hope one day you can make it to Riverside, CA.
    There is a group called the Riverside Folk Music Society. Perhaps they could be of help in that way to find a place to perform at in Riverside. I don’t drive anymore so it would be wonderful to see you perform here in Riverside and not too far for you to get to when you are home.

  18. Posted by: Storming Norman

    Hi Anne Jim & all the band,
    I have just read the letter you recivied spelling out how disappointed the person and friends were with the contents of your performance.
    Well We have some friends that spend a lot of there retirement time booking cruise holidays and they weren’t aware that I am a big fan of John Denvers music and I love to hear about his life and how hard he worked before getting the recognition he deserved, any way the point I would like to make is that you and your band were the best performers of his music they have ever heard!
    So I hope that makes you feel better! Far out.
    Storming Norman from France

  19. Posted by: Leslie

    Hi Jim and Anne,

    This is a great opportunity to consider different perspectives. If someone decides that a concert should be limited to music, then listening to talking would conflict with what they had imaged. Listening to talking requires thinking, where listening to music is associated with feeling. For some people switching back and forth between thinking and feeling states might feel abrupt or intrusive, especially if they were planning to simply feel the music.

    You are an equal part of this interaction. You offer an introduction to who you are and why you are doing this. You honor John Denver and his estate in the way you present the material, and you sing and play from your heart hoping it resonates with the listener in a way that matches your intention.

    The listener may have a preconceived idea or current mood regarding how the concert is presented, but that is only half of the equation. The artist too must express him or herself in a way that honors the material and respects his or herself. Each offers a perspective, sometimes each person’s readiness and timing to engage with the other matches and sometimes it doesn’t.

    Thank you for always being open and engaged with the material, but most of all thank you for being respectful in how you do it. Having the opportunity to listen to this music live is very much appreciated. Thank you!

  20. Posted by: Linda Openchowski

    LOL One negative comment out of hundreds of praises and you’re going to give credence to it with apologies? He probably was a heavy metal fan that was dragged to the concert by a true John Denver fan. Because a true fan knows all of John’s songs and none are obscure. As a true fan I love hearing songs that weren’t as popular as his hits. The true essence of John’s spirit is found in the messages of his songs not in the popularity of familiar tunes.
    Don’t change your concerts or stop telling your background stories. We love hearing new things about John because he’s not here anymore to tell us himself. You carry John’s torch and you do it best. Do not doubt yourselves.

  21. Posted by: Barbara Cole

    It is sad people complained about your concert. I have seen you several times on cruise ships and on land.. I have always enjoyed the concerts. The classics and new music are wonderful. You never know that new song may become your favorite I would say to those people. Keep doing what you are doing – sharing the music we love from an artist that left us too soon.

  22. Posted by: Karen Chambers

    I love your show, all your songs and the great information you provide in an entertaining fashion. I also think John himself would love what you do – you bring the love, respect, joy and community that he brought. I bought an online ticket for your Wisconsin show – I’m in New Jersey. Enjoyed it so much! I have seen you live in NJ as well and would go again in a heartbeat.

  23. Posted by: Bob

    Don’t think you have to put too much stock in one partially negative comment.
    Yourshow is absolutely great but no one ever has a 100% rating
    especially for the amount of people you play for each year. Let it go.
    I do however understand the need of the audience hearing the hits they
    came to hear. I recently attended the Paul McCartney concert in Boston
    and was disappointed that I did not know many of his songs. I was expecting
    more Beatles songs. I have attended a number of your concerts and was hoping
    to hear a couple of my John Denver favorites that just were not a part
    of your set. Your right – John repertoire is so vast that you can’t sing them all
    Only recommendation is that you play down on some of the lesser known songs
    People want to hear the great Hits of John Denver.
    My wife and I continue to check your schedule to see if you are
    coming back to the New England area but do not see one upcoming. Will keep
    on checking.Meanwhile keep those great concerts going!!!

  24. Posted by: Frank and Pat

    Dear Jim and Anne,
    So sorry you received such a negative response to your wonderful show. It amazes me that instead of being grateful to be introduced to John Denver’s extensive catalogue of music, they were angry at not hearing just the music they knew. How selfish. Fortunately, you are appreciated by the many fans of Mr. Denver who love all of his songs and your sincere tribute to him. Thank you so much.
    In the words of another singer/ songwriter “ We love you just the way you are”!

  25. Posted by: Celia Borwn

    Thank you for your wonderful shows and your ongoing tributes to John. I am lucky enough to have seen him in concert in Vancouver, and John, Anne and the wonderful team in the Vancouver area twice, the last time at the Blue Frog Studios in White Rock, BC.

    No that crossing borders is a little less stressful, is there any possibility of a show in the Vancouver area any time soon? You would make a lot of folks so happy and help us all forget the worldly sadness for a while.

    Thank you so much for all the pleasure you continue to bring to all of us.

    Celia Brown, Langley, BC

  26. Posted by: Debi Tenner

    Ditto on all the positive comments. I was a preteen when I first found John and he still moves me deeply. When you are in the Northeast I always try to get to two shows at Connecticut venues. As for NY NJ Mass New Hampshire etc I try to make at least one. The recent Livestream concert was awesome and I hope you do more sometime soon! Please don’t let the naysayers change what you already do so well. There is (and was) a special spirit to John and his music and you capture it perfectly and lovingly. And I’m so grateful to be able to support you all now and John’s legacy too. Cheers! Debi T.

  27. Posted by: Pat and Frank Dickson

    Dear Jim and Anne,
    We are so sorry about such negative feedback. Instead of being grateful to hear a broader range of John Denver’s extensive catalogue of music, they chose instead to be close- minded.
    Mr. Denver has so much more to offer musically than their perceived playlist. We are so appreciative of your dedication to his life and music. Thank you for your amazing tribute to an amazingly talented man.
    And to use lyrics from another talented singer/ songwriter “ We love you just the way you are”!

  28. Posted by: Monica

    It’s a real shame that people are so stuck in the past that they can not enjoy the future. If bands sang only old songs we would never hear the new and up coming bands with their songs. We have been to several shows and have enjoyed every one of them. I can’t even think of one that we were even mildly disappointed. In the end, you guys are awfully talented and put a really good show on. Don’t let the complainers of this world make you lose sleep. Think of it this way, 1 bad comment out of all those fans is not such a bad percentage
    Monica

  29. Posted by: Debbie Jardin

    I think the title of your shows: A Tribute to John Denver perfectly describes the content of your show. The definition of tribute is an act, statement, or gift that is intended to show gratitude, respect, or admiration. Your comments throughout the show clearly shows respect to John Denver.
    I really like the videos that you include with the songs. Don’t let the negative comments get you down. The only thing you can say is that you are sorry that he was disappointed and just leave it at that.
    Debbie

  30. Posted by: Marilyn Jones

    People can be so rude sometimes. My thought is…If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all. Also…find something you do like and appreciate and say that instead. No need to be critical. Those words can be hurtful. Be kind and love one another. We love your shows, we love you

    Marilyn and Charles

  31. Posted by: Diane and John Butler

    Thanks for the information about the trail in CO being renamed
    Didn’t see that.
    The concert in IA is near where I lived as a kid.
    Do you know when tickets info will be available?
    Of course first have to look at airlines.
    Thanks for what you do!!!!

  32. Posted by: Anne

    I think they have tickets available now, but you have to call the box office (Follow the info on our website calendar “Future Concerts”. Airfare is crazy!! It’s all over the place, good luck!!

  33. Posted by: Renee

    Words can hurt. Yesterday I attended a gathering of friends at an indoor BBQ (in Texas right now it is too hot to be outside). We all belong to a Model T antique car club. When the president arrived, I commented to her that I find her monthly newsletter columns very interesting. Her reaction was not a thank you, but, “It’s my experience that when someone says that they find something “interesting”, it really means that they don’t like it at all.” You cannot imagine how taken aback I was. Why would someone take a heartfelt complement, and turn it around as an insult to the person who gave that complement? If I had felt the opposite, I would never have told her that her columns were boring or badly written.

    So Annie and Jim…why would someone take the time to make you and your other fellow performers feel that your concert was not worthwhile and a disappointment? It was insulting, and it hurt, didn’t it? I have no comforting words for all of you other than to tell you that I have seen you perform two times. I loved every minute of it. It made me feel that John was alive again. Keep smiling, keep singing. Thank you for your talent. I know John can hear you, and he is pleased and honored.

  34. Posted by: Mike Busquaert

    I have seen you guys many times and never disappointed, I love when you add new songs to the set list , especially wandering soul. I can close my eyes at your concert and it places me back in time in a big arena watching John. I hope you guys can continue performing his songs and your material for many seasons

  35. Posted by: Dianna P. Wood

    I love yours & JD music. There always going to be a narcissists around because they’re unhappy. Too bad they take it out on you, instead of leaving NOT SAYING A WORD-!!! They’re the ones who’s unhappy. Just keep on doing what you do best, JUST SING-!!!

  36. Posted by: Anne

    Thank you Dianna we will!!!

  37. Posted by: Linda

    We have seen you a few times and we listen with our hearts. Your talent is amazing and you bring back so many memories of John Denver. God bless you for your commitment and talent.

  38. Posted by: Anne

    Thank you for listening with your heart Linda! It is our honor to sing John’s wonderful songs!

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Testimonials

"I have to tell you I don't know when we've enjoyed a show as much as we enjoyed yours. It just swept us away and we did not want it to end! You are all so gifted. And the music of John Denver speaks for itself. It touches the heart."

Julie Coletta,
Tiffin, OH

"It was one of the best programs we have had here and I hope you will come back up next year. The sound and look were perfect and my friends talked all night about how much enjoyment and sentiment your show gave us."

Bob Hartunian
Fawnskin, CA.

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