A brief but I think relevant digression. I was at every camp from 2003 until the end last year, and for me our recently-departed friend Tom DeLisle became a handy barometer by which to measure reaction to the 21st century KTs as they evolved. Tom was a very, very close friend of John Stewart (though he also knew Dave Guard and had an affection for the original group as well), but it didn't take much reading between the lines to sense Tom's borderline disdain for the Shane-Grove-Haworth group that had been performing together since 1999. Tom's barbs were usually off-the-cuff and in no way approached his annual evisceration of Tony Orlando or Peter Yarrow (whom Tom averred each year would be a guest at the next FC as part of the "Peter Yarrow dunk tank" attraction), but they were often less than kind. Tom moderated them a bit after the Grove-Zorn-Haworth group appeared with Shane in '04 to back up Travis Edmondson on a couple of songs, but until Stewart's death in 2008 the event had to be billed as Trio FC without the Kingston (despite Shane's post heart-attack appearances at the Q&A and onstage sometimes for "Scotch and Soda") and Tom's little witticisms continued - until 2009 when Shane took control of the event and it finally became the Kingston Trio FC. The high point of that year in which there was a whole garden of delights (the First Wives Club, wonderful sets by Jim Connor, and the appearance of the Guard-Shane-Reynolds sons as a trio chief among them) was the last night's full concert performance of GBR, which attracted just under a thousand paying patrons. It was stunningly successful, that group having worked together for 3 years by then and having melded their considerable musical skills and honed their on-stage performances to a degree that I think had not been attained since 1967. Tom DeLisle was a musician himself, and he was completely won over by that performance - and every year through his last FC as MC in 2014, his introductions of GBR became warmer and more warmer and more fulsome in his praise of what they were doing. It occurred to me at the time that if you could win over NBJ fanatic Tom DeLisle to your cause, you had arrived definitively and completely.
Back to 2017. This video is an absolute tour-de-force by GBR (as is the videography by a friend of many of us, Theresa Crespo Hartendorp). It's hard to put into words all that these four nights of performances in Scottsdale in August 2017 meant - the uprise of anger at the mistreatment of these men by their corporate ownership, the regret that most of who were there felt that this was the last time that most of us would be seeing them sing together, the resentment that what would be the KT going forward from there could never reach these heights of musical excellence - and a sense of the preciousness of these minutes as we were gifted with one last glance at the highest iteration of what the Kingston Trio idea ever was or ever could be. I am certain that had anyone had a crystal ball in 1958 and asked Dave Guard, Bob Shane, and Nick Reynolds if this is what they wanted their original approach to folk-styled music to evolve into, they would have to a man agreed emphatically. Popularized folk music has just never been better than this.
The song selections here include two from NBD, three from NBJ, one from NBG, and Stewart's last great song from GBR. I believe that these selections (and others from other nights) were George, Bill, and Rick demonstrating that they were, as I have said before, the highest musical iteration of the band - ever.
The songs on the video are:
The New Frontier
A Worried Man
You're Gonna Miss Me
Road To Freedom
I'm going to post the embed code twice in hopes that Max and everyone else can see this - once with the iFrame code (that doesn't seem to work on Firefox all the time) and one with the Flash embed code (that Chrome often won't play).
With apologies to Willy Shakespeare - we shall not look upon their like again.
« Back to index