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Lou Jesse HallThe memory is a funny thing. But, the older I get the less funny it is. Obviously, the longer you live the more memories you have to inventory, to cross reference and to keep straight. I think the memory is an incredibly unreliable thing for certain types of information and just as much, an utter miracle for other types of information.

I was remembering an event from my college days with a buddy of mine. It was a significant event. Both of us could remember incredible details. What we couldn’t remember was when it had occurred. Our memories were not able to tell us if this happened in 1972? 1973? What year?

Here is a short version of the particulars of this memory.

During my college years (early ’70s for those keeping track) I had the privilege of attending a live recital featuring Luciano Pavarotti. The great man was at the height of his powers in those days. He was a legitimate star and soon to be super star.

But the thing that made this particular recital so fantastic was the fact that this recital was taking place on the campus of William Jewell College in Liberty Missouri. This little college town is located to the north and east of Kansas City. As amazing as it sounds, Pavarotti had a connection with this institution.

Just a few years prior, Pavarotti was primarily an operatic performer. He never performed in recital mode, the one man, one piano type performance. This is an important part of any professional singer’s resume. Unfortunately the guy had performed during his youth in recital in his native Italy and he was panned. He was coming to America to fix that.

An ambitious tour was planned and the only thing lacking was a debut location. It was decided at the time that a New York debut might put Pavarotti under a bit too much pressure. So, as a tune up engagement, he was booked to play in Liberty Missouri. I can tell you, this is about as far away from New York City that you can get without leaving the planet.

Of course, he was a smashing success. His career took off like a rocket. He returned to Liberty on several occasion throughout his life. The recital I heard was his first return engagement.

The venue was a small recital hall. I seriously doubt that there were more than 500 people there. My buddy, Marty Loring and I had center front row tickets. I can’t begin to describe the power this guy had in his voice. It was literally like a trumpet.

It is, by far, the most incredible performance I’ve ever attended. After, we were invited back stage to meet the man. He was very gracious and genuinely pleased to greet us in halting english.

It is amazing to me, that this type of event is relegated to the ā€œ70’sā€ bin in my memory. It actually happened a few weeks before my graduation from college. I can remember all manner of lessor things associated with specific years, but this, well, it was sometime just prior to Disco . . .


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