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  • Janis Ian - Photo by Peter Cunningham
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Living Room Concerts
More About The Pearl Foundation

A private show for you and your friends in your own (or a friend's) living room, which you can record and videotape for your own use. Open-ended, free-form, a great chance to show off and an absolutely fabulous present. Start thinking about which songs you'll request!!

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* Before purchasing a Living Room Concert be sure to read the conditions.

Download a Living Room Concert Agreement.

**100% of this goes to THE PEARL FOUNDATION**


From Anna in Dublin, Ireland
January 13th, 2000

Janis Ian Living Room ConcertThe preparations for the LR Concert had gone on for weeks. From the time I first won the concert in the on-line auction, I had envisioned certain things that I wanted for this very special evening. A printed souvenir program that Janis could autograph for everyone to take home as a keepsake was one essential element in my mind. My friend, Brendan, was conscripted to do the artwork. I had contacted Beth Gwinn months earlier for permission to use the photo from the Janis Ian Songbook for the program cover and Tina Abato had sent me various live shots of Janis to use as well. My dear friend Adele's old boyfriend from years ago, Malcolm, was contacted and he agreed to do the printing for cost, which was great. We were delighted with the final version - it was A4 size (approx. letter size) with a black background and the wonderful Beth Gwinn photo on the cover. Inside, we included a section explaining about the on-line auction, a bio of Janis and a piece entitled "My history with Janis Ian" which chronicled how I discovered Janis' music. There was a space for Janis to sign on the last page and the back cover had acknowledgements for all those who had helped with the preparations for the big night, including my dear friends, Veronica and Michael who had generously provided their beautiful home for the occasion.

The house, in Monkstown, Dublin, is an old Victorian home with high ornate ceilings and has wonderful views overlooking Dublin Bay. My friend, Adele, and I had gone out the evening before to "set up" for the concert. We had hired about 30 extra chairs and we debated long and hard about how the seating should be arranged. In the end we decided that we needed a seating chart. Otherwise, we feared ending up with tall people at the front and small folks at the back. So, we did a preliminary seating chart that night and finalized it the next day. Philip (Clark) had told me that Janis was going to be on a TV show called Open House in the afternoon of the day of the LR Concert, so as we worked in the house on the big day, we had the TV on in the background. When I heard the first chords of At 17, I yelled and everyone gathered around to watch. Janis was then interviewed prior to singing a second song, "Days Like These". To our utter amazement Janis mentioned about doing the LR Concert "for Anna McCabe and 49 of her closest friends tonight". As we say in Ireland I was totally "chuffed"! To top off the afternoon, an amazing bouquet of red roses arrived from a friend in the States, Loretta, to wish us all good luck for the night ahead.

Janis Ian Living Room ConcertWe continued with our preparations, placing candles and flowers throughout the house. We intended to place candles from the gate, lining the pathway and up the steps too. However, the Irish wind had other ideas - it was blowing too hard. A more significant hitch in our plans was that the piano technician had spent much of the day working on the piano but in spite of her best efforts she said the piano wasn't in good shape. I left to go in and pick up Janis, Philip and Pat from her hotel at 4.30pm. The traffic in Dublin is so crazy now we had to leave plenty of time for the journey each way. I arrived at the hotel at 5.15 pm slightly ahead of schedule. I was really excited. Philip was waiting in the lobby complete with Janis' guitar. Pat and Janis arrived down a few minutes later and we drove out to Monkstown. Janis sat in the front seat beside me and I had to mentally pinch myself that this was really happening. I felt like putting my head out the window and shouting to all of Dublin: "Look who's sitting in my car!!"

When we arrived at the house (at about 6.30pm) I showed Janis into the Living Room and asked her to try the piano, having warned her in the car about what the technician had said. It only took two chords for Janis to eliminate the piano from the proceedings. So that was that - never mind, it would still be a great night! Having given our guests of honor a brief tour of the house, Janis Pat and Philip withdrew to an apartment downstairs, where we had left some smoked salmon and Irish homemade brown bread for Janis to eat before the show (per Philip's advice that she needs something to "nibble on" before a show).

Our caterers were set up in time for the first arrivals shortly before 7pm. I greeted folks at the door wearing my Janis Ian workshirt complete with Janis Ian Button (which my friend Kathleen Brogan had given me for good luck). The guests were then guided downstairs where we had a champagne reception. Everyone was in party spirits and the buzz was electric in no time. Philip had tuned Janis' guitar (yes, the black Janis Ian model) and at Adele's suggestion we propped the guitar case in the LR window so people would know which house the concert was in - this worked well in the absence of candles lining the path and steps! At about 7.25 pm Janis, Pat and Philip joined us and mingled with everyone before the show which totally surprised and delighted us. Janis was great, posing for photographs with people and chatting away. At 7.50pm we began to ring a small bell and I announced: "Take your seats, Ladies and Gentlemen please, the performance will begin in 5 minutes." Well you never saw such a compliant lot of Irishfolk!! They were up the stairs and in their seats within about 2 minutes. Although we intended to keep the number to 40 it had gradually crept up to the maximum of 50 in the final few weeks. The proceedings were video-taped by a good friend, John Keenan using two cameras - to be sure, to be sure, as we say in Ireland!

Janis Ian Living Room ConcertJanis just walked in and sat down as people were settling into their seats. She wore a purple velvet suit and her signature heeled sneakers. Before she started singing she asked people at the back to come forward and sit up front on the floor - again, there was no need for further encouragement, they were scooting down on the floor next to her within seconds. Janis explained about the auction and how the LR Concert in Dublin came about. Janis then opened the concert with "This Train Still Runs". Every song got an anecdotal and frequently humorous introduction. As always, Janis was wonderful and charmed everyone in the audience. It was very relaxed and informal with people asking questions and making requests. I was in seventh heaven - in fact, my eyes misted up on that opening song because I just couldn't believe that this was real. It was so totally awesome!

After the first few songs, Janis declared she must be getting "Dublin Throat" and asked Philip to get her a "cuppa tae" in her best Dublin accent, which got a round of applause! Every song was marvelous but the ones that got most appreciation from the audience included Boots Like Emmy Lou; From Me to You; Cosmopolitan Girl; Silly Habits (on guitar and complete with fog horn accompaniment in the distance); At Seventeen (with all 50 people joining in for the final bridge); Mary's Eyes; Welcome to Accousticville; Memphis; Tea and Sympathy and Jesse.

After the show I lead Janis out to be the first in line for dinner. The caterers, in particular Martin, the chef, was beside himself with excitement - I think I got the best deal ever for event catering because he was a fan. After Janis had eaten we prevailed further on her good graces and she signed programs, albums, etc. and posed for photographs endlessly. Finally, after 11pm, the taxi came and whisked Janis, Pat and Philip away.

I don't know why I should be surprised, since I've known for years how simply amazing Janis is, but ever since the LR concert I am constantly hearing from people who were so very moved and elated by the evening. Those who didn't know Janis' work well, were, without exception, very impressed. Everyone was stunned by the power of her talent and personality. It feels both strange and gratifying to be thanked so sincerely for something I only facilitated - I guess for just one evening it was like being "the shadow by her side". For there is no doubt that the magic of the evening was supplied by one Janis Ian alone. THANK YOU.

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