If you have read any of my travel reviews, you probably know that the things I look forward to on trips, and that almost always surprise me, are what I refer to as “unexpected pleasures”. I often use our experience on the mainland of Greece as the primary example of this. It is what I call our “Pay It Forward” moment from that trip.
To read more about that experience, please see my post Pay It Forward – Greek Style, which can be searched for or located via the fly out menus at the top of the left sidebar on the Home Page of my blog.
All Things Travel > International > Europe > Greece & the Greek Islands
Well, the concert Deborah and I attended last night was most definitely an unexpected pleasure. It was a 65th birthday present from Deborah, and the performance was staged in the outdoor amphitheater of the local Sandia Resort & Casino.
To be honest, prior to last night, John Tesh might have (OK, would have) had a hard time making the top 100 of my personal bucket list for music performances. It goes to show you that sometimes you have to challenge your personal biases and just keep an open mind. If you do, sometimes you too may experience something quite unexpected.
If you know me, and certainly if you have read any of my first six editorials posted to this blog, the first thing that comes to your mind would not be to peg me for a viewer of Fox News. I most definitely am not, although I do try and personally challenge myself every now and then by turning to their channel and trying to listen as long as I can. Watching them is … well … fascinating. (I assure you, that is NOT necessarily the first adjective that came to mind.) In a nod to my most recent editorial on this blog – talk about living in an alternate universe!
The reason I bring up Fox News at all is that it is representative of what my impression has always been would be the typical John Tesh audience. To be sure, there were likely plenty of Fox News devotees and Christian conservatives among the attendees at last night’s concert. Given the concert’s location and Tesh’s warmup act – Robert Mirabel, a Pueblo indian musician, flute player and orator – there were a number of Native Americans of various ages in the audience as well.
Prior to last night, my knowledge of John Tesh was mostly limited to my remembrance of him as a minor TV personality and co-host of Entertainment Tonight with Mary Hart back in the early 80’s. I also knew that he was married to the actress Connie Selleca, whom I have always considered to be one of the most attractive women I have ever seen on TV.
I was more recently familiar with Tesh because of occasionally catching portions of his syndicated John Tesh Radio Show, which began in 2003. His most recent radio program – Intelligence for Your Life – is about 10 years old. That has also been brought to syndicated TV since 2014. If you have ever heard or seen it, it could easily be described as somewhat schmaltzy, corny … add your own adjective. He hosts it, often along with his wife and his son Gib. He mixes in tips for happy and healthy living. There is also a definite, yet not overwhelming, religiousness to his presentation as there is to his radio show as well.
I am sure that I had heard Tesh play the piano at least a couple of times so I knew that he was a talented musician. But that is pretty much the extent of my knowledge of him and I guess his radio program is most responsible for me associating him with the Fox News crowd.
With all that said, my suspicions of his likely audience were not substantially changed in that respect by attending his concert. However, what I did learn last night was that not only does he put on a very enjoyable concert, but that he is also a multi-talented individual who has a very interesting life story. He mixed in elements of his life’s journey into his presentation, which was augmented by pictures and video on a large screen behind him on stage. While he occasionally performs with full orchestras and bands, for last night’s concert he was joined only by a bass guitar player and a flute player/saxophonist. The three of them produced a very enjoyable music experience. Tesh also demonstrated a decent singing voice during a number of his songs, although most of the concert was without vocals.
If you are only tangentially aware of John Tesh, as was I, I recommend that you check out his Wikipedia page on the internet.
I learned a lot about his life during last night’s concert and I have filled in a lot more blanks having read through that page. He is most definitely not just the “B” TV personality from Entertainment Tonight. He has worked in TV news as both a reporter and anchor, has hosted during two Olympics, the U.S. Open for tennis, Wimbledon and the Tour de France, has written the long running theme for the NBA back in the 80’s and 90’s, and he is also a singer, songwriter and composer. He has six Emmy’s and four gold albums to his credit. So the guy is definitely not just the coifed co-anchor of Entertainment Tonight that I would imagine many people like me thought that he was.
The following is a You Tube video of his very first, full concert (1h 49m) at the beautiful, outdoor Red Rocks Amphitheatre outside of Denver back in 1995. During last night’s concert, Tesh showed some video from this concert and related a pretty amazing story. This concert was apparently kind of a make-or-break event for him in his attempt to get his music career off and running. He put up a lot of money for the concert on his own, including paying for the full orchestra, and had to do some serious convincing of the show’s organizers in order to go forward with it. Barely 40 minutes into the concert, a heavy rainstorm forced the orchestra off of the stage to protect their instruments.
That left only Tesh and his few bandmates on their own, and in a quandary as to whether or not even to continue. The audience hung in there with him, however, putting up umbrellas and rain slicks to protect themselves. He decided to go on and that decision apparently changed his life. The rain, although heavy, did not last long. The orchestra returned and the show went on to become one of public television’s most successful fund-raising events ever – raising over 20 million dollars.
If you just want to jump to the point where the storm hit during this concert, go to about the 40 minute mark in the video, just after Tesh gets done performing a song he wrote for his wife when he proposed to her.
The success of this concert was the jumpstart to Tesh’s solo music career.
In doing more research on John Tesh, I learned that he experienced a severe back injury around 2000 that caused so much pain that he eventually tried to commit suicide. His son by marriage, Gib, foiled that attempt. He has also just recently gone into complete remission from cancer which was diagnosed about two years ago. I guess that also helps explain, at least in part, why religion has become so much a part of his life.
The following You Tube video is from an interview with Tesh on the Pat Robertson television show, The 700 Club, about his experience with that back pain.
If I had to venture a guess, I would be fairly confident in saying that in no other post on this blog probably until I am done with my very last post, will I ever again mention both Fox News and the 700 Club in the same post. In fact, I would strongly doubt that I will ever again mention the 700 Club at all.
To conclude, I strongly recommend that if you have an opportunity to see John Tesh perform in concert, and that perhaps you have some of the same preconceptions of him which I had – take a chance. I think that you will enjoy it.