an event was held in Des Moines, Iowa, at the First Christian Church (across
the street from Drake University) for part of a 3 day event entitled:
Thresholds - Expressions of the Earth, Planet, Culture & the Arts/ Thresholds Arts Festival to A Culture of Peace.
The featured artist was none other than Richie Havens who opened the famous Woodstock Festival on Yasgar's Farm in upstate New York in 1969. Here are just a few of the 89 photos I took at this event. I'll never forget this night..
Richie was accompanied by another guitarist and a cello player (sorry I didn't get their names) and the Fender Twin Reverb amp shown at left on stage - is my amplifier that I loaned to Richie Havens for this concert! I didn't get all the details as to why Richie needed a Fender Twin but when John Occonnel (the owner of Crazy Horse Guitars also by Drake) called and told me they had called, I immediately offered mine up for the evening. John told me they'd offered up a free ticket for me (pictured above) so not only did I get to see him LIVE, I also got to meet him and got him to sign my Fender Twin after the concert! Awesome!!!
The church is huge and very historical - I also learned during the evening that Dr. Martin Luther King once spoke here during the civil rights movement.
Richie played many songs during the almost 2 hour show including God Bless the Child, Woodstock, some I did not know - but the one recognized by all was the last song in the show where Richie and crew were joined on stage by the Thresholds Mass Choir - that song was "Freedom" and the entire audience (including yours truly) joined in. In a word WOW!
Then she got this really great shot of him actually in the process of signing the amp - when he first came back out on stage after the concert and most of the sudience was waiting out in the lobby area of the church as he announced he would stop in the lobby and sign his CD's and the Program for the evening for anyone who wanted him to - the Minister explained to him that I was the owner of the amp that he used for the concert - and he came right over and shook my hand - I told him I was proud and privileged to meet him and that I had followed him since Woodstock - he said "well my brother - we've come along way on our journey" and then he asked me my name. He then bent over and wrote:
"To David, A Friend Forever, Richie Havens"
..and just when I thought he would turn and leave - I asked him if he would mind if I had my picture taken with him, and as you can see - he not only posed with me -but he put his arm around my shoulders and so I did the same. God Bless that lady that took this photo! (he's still holding the silver metal paint pen that I gave to him to sign my amp) Sweet!
We had a torrential ice and snow storm here in central Iowa that evening - and although Drake University is just across town from where I live - it was still rather treacherous getting to the church -this, as you can imagine -made it all worthwhile and then some :o)
When I left the church -I had to walk a block and a half to get back to my car and I gotta tell ya - hefting a Fender Twin Reverb in 6 inches of ice, snow and slush was not a walk I will forget. I had to change arms several times and almost slipped and fell a few times all the while thinking - if I do fall - I'm going to have to let the amp fall on top of me so I can protect that autograph :o) Thanks for a night I will always remember "my friend" Richie Havens.