Rounded Rectangle: Gelencser House Concerts in Claremont

Promoting acoustic music in the Inland Valley

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Concert #659 - Barry McGuire - Gelencser House Concerts

(December 1, 2012)

 

Last night marked my first-time ever to attend a show in a house-concert setting. The event took place at the Gelencser residence in Claremont, California, so now their living room is listed in my concert database alongside the Hollywood Bowl, Greek Theatre, House Of Blues and other famed venues. The hosts, Andy and Janice Gelencser, deserve a lot of praise for opening up their home to larger groups of people, putting in time and effort to organize the concert and accepting a great deal of inconvenience without any financial benefit, all done for the love of music. Again, kudos to them.

This was my fifth time to see Barry live in concert and the fourth time to attend his "Trippin' the Sixties" show. He is seventy-seven now, an age when most of his singing peers from the sixties are either retired or dead. Barry, on the other hand, keeps pressing on and well he should, as he is still perfectly capable of putting on an entertaining show that is heart-warming, humorous and informative. Masterfully intertwining stories with music, Barry's show kept moving along at a fast pace. I particularly enjoyed the story-telling part of the show, with Barry paying his respects to many musical heroes from decades ago, among them Tim Hardin, John Denver, John Sebastian, Scott McKenzie, Steve Goodman, Zal Yanovski, The Byrds, The Mamas & The Papas, Arlo Guthrie, PF Sloan, Lou Adler and Fred Neil. Barry also made frequent references to the "herbal medicines" used by many of the top musicians of the eraMasterfully intertwining stories with music, Barry's show kept moving along at a fast pace. I particularly enjoyed the story-telling part of the show, with Barry paying his respects to many musical heroes from decades ago, among them Tim Hardin, John Denver, John Sebastian, Scott McKenzie, Steve Goodman, Zal Yanovski, The Byrds, The Mamas & The Papas, Arlo Guthrie, PF Sloan, Lou Adler and Fred Neil. Barry also made frequent references to the "herbal medicines" used by many of the top musicians of the era. .

I was impressed by Barry's overall shape. He performed the entire concert with full intensity, lots of self-confidence and it appeared to me that he enjoyed the show as much as the rest of us. His voice did not falter, he never looked for words and came up with funny quips whenever needed.Barry's current "Trippin' the Sixties" set included a few new additions, such as Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Goode", CCR's "Proud Mary" and "Take Me Home, Country Roads" from the repertoire of John Denver. Funny thing though, the latter song was actually released in the early seventies.

For me, the highlight of the show was Tim Hardin’s “If I Were A Carpenter”.

Barry's shows just wouldn't be the same without the competent support provided by John York, a musician whose credentials include a stint with the Byrds. To these eyes and ears, John is an outstanding support musician who adds value without ever attempting to outshine the headliner. His guitar solos were great and his singing was subdued, just the way a backup-vocalist is supposed to sing. And he's got a sense of humor, too: when a spectator asked Barry about how he hooked up with John, the answer came fast and short from the latter: "Internet dating service"!

After the show, I had once again the good fortune of shaking hands with Barry and chatting with him for a couple of minutes. His humility, warmth and friendship are something to behold.

Overall, my first-ever exposure to house concerts was a success. I liked the intimacy of the place and enjoyed meeting the hosts. Oh yeah, the brownies were great, too.