Step-dancers and songwriters, poets and pickers, storytellers and sitarists — even a yo-yo spinner — all brought their A-games for a variety show Monday marking the astronomy-obsessed “stargeezer’s” 1,000th lunar cycle.
As a full moon beamed on the Cedar Cultural Center, David Huckfelt of the Pines recalled the time his group finally got the honor of opening for Spider John. Except Koerner decided to play the early set instead, and wound up giving the Pines this immortal introduction: “Well, I’m going to play one last song and then something else is going to happen. But I won’t know what it is because I’ll be back home.”
Charlie Parr, Dakota Dave Hull, Nirmala Rajasekar, Jack Klatt, Dan Newton and Javier Matos were just a few of the performers who shared the spotlight in a deftly-paced night of fun emceed by veteran West Banker Mark Johnson, the Cedar's director of events.
Koerner himself took the stage twice to tell jokes and perform a few songs, even though he claims to be retired (“I like to say that my muscle memory has Alzheimer’s”).
The singer-songwriter, who turns 81 in August, always told people that his goal was "to live for 1,000 moons." Reaching that milestone at last, he raised a glass to toast his departed compatriots Dave Ray, Willie Murphy and Tony Glover (who will be memorialized at the Cedar June 30).
He played the rare-bird tune "Nightbird Eyes," which ends with this wistful line: “Enjoy your time, and blow a little kiss when you wave goodbye.” And he lived up to those words by closing the night with Leadbelly's "Goodnight, Irene" as performers and concertgoers joyfully sung along.