I had a great time touring with a really sincere and great person.
John was one of those rare people who never forgot a face or name... I remember one time before a show when John had one of those Radio Station "meet and greet" sessions and in came 6 or 7 people with the local radio DJ about to introduce everyone when John popped up and said "I know you", pointing to a young lady, "I remember you from a few years ago when you won the call in competition, "aren't you Jane"... blew everyone in the room away and there was a stunned silence as he was right... he had indeed met the young girl several years earlier in a radio station meet & greet session... very cool we all thought. But John was like that.
It all started when Jim Moody, owner of Sundance Lighting, asked if I would help him out with a special gig with John Denver. I was always game to help out and of course learn something new. Jim wanted me to drive the truck from LA to Nashville to the Grand Ole Opry for a one night concert there. As I was the Rock 'n Roll person this Country stuff was new to me so I said yes and got in the truck to drive non-stop to Nashville to get his set there in time for the show. I was thrilled to be standing on the famous stage and see the actual circle that is center stage that is a small piece of what is left of the original stage before it burned down.
That led to more trips all over the country and in the end I toured with John as Jim's "side-kick" and general gopher. But it did take me not only all over the USA but Canada, New Zealand, and Australia.
John had a couple of quirks that were never to be moved away from... First he would tour for 3 weeks then take a week off, he would fly everyone home for some needed rest... Second: behind the scenes he would only play shows that were sell-outs, great marketing. Plus it meant that after every tour he could go back home to his beloved Colorado and buy another mountain and put it on the preservation list. He owned several towns and mountains amongst other things, including an airline.
John was an avid pilot and as most of you know he died at the stick of an experimental airplane.
One of the perks of touring with John was that he gave incredible gifts to his band and crew. On one occasion he gave everyone a very expensive pocket watch, each was engraved with our names on them. Of course there were always jackets and tee-shirts, one jacket I still hold on to today, even though I could not fit into it to save my life!
I remember on one tour of Australia that John said he would be picking up everyone's complete hotel tab, not unusual. But from Australia that could get expensive... when he said everything he meant it, food, laundry, incidentals, including bar tabs. One of his singers took the liberty of phoning her husband every night for hours on end and John did take note of it and told her to cut it short or she would be paying for it.