Friday, May 4, 8 pm.

Green Wood Coffee House

1001 Green Rd

Ann Arbor




It was worth the wait! She was simply incredible - her voice brought tears to my eyes more than a few times! We were in the third row right in front of her.

Just as incredible was Beau. What a nice young man and so very gifted. You could see that Melanie was so proud of him - and she and Peter have every right to be.

Songs sung that I can remember (I was in a very emotional state! ): Starting with "I'm Back In Town", "Momma, Momma", "Song Of The South", "Percieve It"(I can't get that song out of my head), "And We Fall", "Lay Down" (the first time I've ever heard it performed live - such a treat! ), "Together Alone" (for a couple's wedding anniversary), "Leftover Wine", "Brand New Key" (of course! ), "I Don't Eat Animals", "Close To It All", "Psychotherapy" and some others that I didn't know the name of (one was a kind of bluesy song that she said she'd never performed before and it totally blew me away).

Bought her newest live CD (and I just love her live) and had it signed along with my old "Gather Me" album.


Linda Terentiak with her Goya guitar



The Goya guitar was a huge hit and she happily signed it and told me that her's had been accidently run over by her dad in his car. She looked at my guitar longingly and called out to Peter in a pleading voice "I want one! "


Then a very special moment. Beau wanted to play it (this was already after the concert). He totally inspected it, took the model number and serial number. Peter said they might look on the internet to find one. Peter took a photo of Beau and me with my signed guitar! How very special!

Then I gave Melanie a specially designed Ukrainian egg that I made myself! She fell in love with it and I'll send you photos of the egg. She told me she'd always wanted to learn how to make them! Melanie, Peter and Beau were also happy to find out that I was also part Ukrainian like them. By then my nerves calmed down and I felt like I'd known them forever because they were all so friendly. My friend Cari also had a ball and took lots of photos of me having Melanie sign my guitar, etc.

Last night was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. If I think of more, I'll let you know, I still haven't landed on the ground yet. . .

Keep Your Glow On,

Linda Terentiak





By Fredrik King

On that warm Friday afternoon, I arrived at the Green Wood Methodist Church in Ann Arbor a couple of hours early. The Green Wood looked the same as the last time I saw Melanie play this venue: a pleasant umber-stained building that resembled a modern cottage, with a leafy wooded lot behind it.

I got out of my Blazer to stretch my legs after the hour-long drive to Ann Arbor from my home near the east side of Detroit. A few cars were already parked in the lot. One of them was parked directly in front of the Green Wood, and a young man with dark hair wrapped in a ponytail saw me stroll to the building and called out, “Hey, good to see you again! ” It was Beau Jarred. I couldn’t believe he could remembered my face—Beau must meet with thousands of fans in the course of a year as he tours and plays with his mom, Melanie. A few minutes later, Peter would be out, and amazingly he recognized me from the last time Melanie played the Green Wood. That my face seemed to be so memorable, I considered, was not necessarily a good thing! Must be that third eye in the middle of my forehead.

Several people gathered about the entrance. Three ladies were sitting on the concrete slabs that formed a flower bed on the left of the doorway. One of them looked at me curiously. She had long hair and was wearing patchwork jeans. She was looking at my black walking stick. We knew each other for who we were. “I’m Fredrik King,” I said when she spoke up, asking my name. “I’m Barbara. ” This was our own Barbara (“ocarinamkr”) from the Melanielist. She greeted me with a warm hug. (Only at a Melanie concert would people feel comfortable enough to do this, which says something about her fans. ) When I asked Barbara about her handmade flutes, she held out what I first thought was a decorative stone hanging as a pendant from her throat. It was ovoid, rather like a slightly flattened egg, gray, with holes drilled throughout, decorated with intricate, deftly carved curlicues and symbols. Barbara quickly played several notes with rapid fingers; the notes were clean and mellow. She had given Melanie one of these ocarina flutes—Barbara tells me this kind of flute was made thousands of years ago—when she met Melanie in Florida, at a renaissance fair where she sells her handcrafted flutes. Interesting enough, while Barbara had met Melanie, she hadn’t actually seen her perform in person. She was as thrilled to be here at the Green Wood to see and hear Melanie as I was.

As more people came to the entrance, I, not too subtly, positioned myself in front of the entrance. The entrance was a double-door that opened outward; the right door, I remembered from Melanie’s last visit here, was the one that opened first, so I leaned against the left door so I could slip in the moment the door opened for admission. I suggested to Barbara that she follow me when we entered, since I knew how the seats inside would be arranged and therefore how to move directly to the front row. Around the entrance all of us were chatting about our past experiences at Melanie’s performances and encounters. The lovely singer Katie Geddes, who we had to thank for bringing Melanie back to the Green Wood, would crack open the door to peek out at the growing crowd. I resolutely remained in front of the entrance, stamped the boot of my walking stick on the slight wooden ramp in front of the door (for allowing wheelchair access), with a look of mock defiance as if to say, “Ain’t no one gonna go in before me! ” I suspected I looked as intimidating as a rabbit thumping his foot. Since I was standing on the top of the elevated ramp, and because I’m rather tall, I was able to see the formation of the crowd: the people had moved into a loose column, three or four persons thick, moving as if juggled gently by Brownian motion.

At 7:30, on schedule, Katie opened the door; as I hoped, the right door opened first, so I was able to slip right in, hand my ticket to a lady in the vestibule, then charged in. I don’t think I knocked anyone down in my rush to get inside. At least I hope not. Barbara was following close behind. I strode down the center aisle of arranged chairs, and sat down on the right aisle seat in front of the center microphone, which was where Melanie would be performing. Barbara took the seat to my right. We were gonna be The People In The Front Row!

I arranged my knapsack under my chair, and with a solemn promise from Barbara to save my seat, went back to the vestibule to examine the table where Melanie CDs and photos were displayed. I purchased a copy of “These Nights,” a color photo of Melanie and saw a single copy of a paper-sleeved CD labelled “Stoneground Words. ” I couldn’t believe my good fortune when I saw this CD, and quickly grabbed it. Later, I would purchase extra copies of “These Nights” requested by members of the Melanielist, but I wanted to make sure the people here tonight had the chance to purchase their own copies before I came along and bought up the surplus. (As it turned out, there were plenty of copies, so I was able to honor the requests of Melanielist members to purchase CDs for them. )

I returned to my chair, where Barbara was looking at a table where a variety of pastries, snacks, and soft drinks were offered. “Melanie or cheesecake?” she kept muttering indecisively, trying to decide if she should grab some cheesecake before Melanie arrived. I think she decided to forego the cake. Beau was in front by a second microphone to the left of the center mike, tuning his solid body synth-guitar. Peter was rushing about as well, overseeing things and tending to whatever matters that must come up in preparing for a concert. He has enormous energy. A gentleman came to one of the three microphones and asked that no flash pictures be taken, since camera flashes would be distracting to the performers. I had a digital camera, and accordingly disabled the flash function. Having a camera poked in front of one’s face must indeed be distracting, if not downright intimidating, so I would only take a couple of shots, and try to be as unobtrusive as possible. Presently there was applause as Melanie arrived, walking through the vestibule and went to a side hall to prepare for the performance.

Then the magic moment: Melanie re-emerged amidst applause and stepped to the microphone, taking up her dreadnought acoustic electric Takamine guitar. Her hair was platinum streaked, and she was garbed in a long black dress that fell to her feet. A decorative tassle of sorts hung down from her shoulder. She greeted us warmly, her face flushed, brown eyes twinkling. “I’m always nervous when I get up to play,” she said. “I’m really a shy person. ” Many of us who have to appear before groups can sympathize: as a former teacher and confirmed shy person, I always had to overcome a certain terror just before a class would begin. How much more difficult must it be for a musical artist to appear before a couple of hundred people?.

Melanie commented on the internet and how photos taken of her appear on the world wide web. She suggested laughingly if photos could be improved with Adobe Photoshop. (This has been the source of some discussion on the Melanielist, and interpretations differ. I interpreted Melanie’s comments as humorous—none of us look very good on film unless a professional takes the picture. ) A gentleman stood up with a garment in his hands, calling to Melanie, and presented her with what appeared to be a colorful robe or jacket with silk-screened designs. On the back, as Melanie held it out for us to see, was embroidered “Old Bitch Warrior. ” With that, she began the set with “I Really Loved Harold,” followed by “Animal Crackers. ” Melanie wrote this, she explained to us, when she was a vegetarian. Vegetarianism is great if you can do it. The question, Melanie wondered when she was having doubts about a vegetarian diet, is “why are animals made from meat?” As we were laughing at this comment, Melanie sang “Perceive It,” and, responding to calls in the audience, “Psychotherapy,” with the audience singing the refrain. (This audience was very helpful; Melanie forgot the third verse, and some of the people called out the lines. ) “Together Alone” followed. Then, as Melanie was about to start another song, she began “This is an old song—“ when a couple of us called out “Stoneground Words! ” Melanie’s eyes grew wide with amazement—“How did you know that? Are you reading my mind?” I pointed to the poster board play list at Melanie’s feet, which had the order of songs she and Beau were going to play. “You can read upside down?! ” she said, amazed. (Reading upside down is a necessary survival skill in the corporate world I used to work in as an editor. This way you are able to read your supervisor’s questions and notes before he or she can ask you why you are behind deadline. ) The song, of course, was “Song of the South. ”

Between numbers, while Melanie would talk with us, Beau would take a nail file to the fingernails of his right hand. His nails are long to make it easier to pluck his guitar strings in his unique Spanish style, and the frenetic playing must chew into his nails, thus the need to file them smooth again. “Stop that! ” Melanie said as he industriously filed away a nail after one song. She aimed a feigned swat at her son. “You’re going to file off a finger! ” she laughingly chided. Melanie spoke about being “an outlaw” because our laws are so stupid (the recent Supreme Court decision giving police the ability to handcuff and arrest individuals for misdemeanors flashed in my mind) then launched into “On the Lam From the Law,” followed by “Baby Day” (accompanied by Katie Geddes) and “When We Fell. ” A break of about twenty minutes followed; people went to the snack table, the display table in the vestibule to buy CDs, and the nicotine addicts (I’m among this last group, I’m sad to say) went outside to grab a smoke. When Melanie returned, she looked out at the wood behind her, visible through the glass walls of the rear of the church and mentioned how beautiful the trees looked. She commented that in Florida it was difficult to plant things because when you dig you end up with sand, and if you dig further, water. She laughingly described her home “in the swamp,” and my overactive imagination conjured an image of a house drawn by Charles Addams, covered with kudzu and Spanish moss, resting in the bayou with quicksand and assorted reptiles. Then came a surprise announcement: Melanie was considering leaving Florida to come live in Michigan! She expressed a desire to be “close to it all,” with a place where one could experience changing seasons and plant cherry and apple trees. (We certainly have that in Michigan, the chameleon-like weather in particular—so much so that some of us can’t take it anymore and move to Florida! )

Then Melanie recounted a funny anecdote about her childhood. As a young girl, she found an egg pod of a praying mantis, a protected species of insect in New York because it is a voracious predator of pesky bugs. “It’s illegal to kill a mantis,” Melanie informed us, “you can go to jail for killing one. ” Melanie had placed the mantis pod in her bedroom dresser drawer. And was forgotten. Until one day, when Melanie came home, and discovered scores of little dead mantises around the house. The eggs had hatched while Melanie was away and thousands of marauding baby mantises emerged, terrifying Melanie’s mother! Her mom promptly mowed down the insect menace with bug spray, leaving Melanie to consider: If you can go to jail for killing one mantis, what happens when you kill a thousand? “I’m not going to jail,” Melanie decided, grinning. “Mom can go to jail! ” With that, she played “Close To It All. ” “Love to Lose Again” followed, with Beau playing the opening notes on a flute, “Singing the Blues,” and “You Don’t Know Me. ” Somewhere about this time a string snapped on her guitar and switched to a backup acoustic while the Takamine was having the string replaced. (I understand A new member to the Melanielist, Elise, now owns the broken string. ) After the title song of the new CD, “These Nights,” came “Jammin’ Alone,” then Beau on lead vocal for his own composition, “Angel Song. ”

Melanie took a moment to explain how “Mama, Mama” made her cry when she first sang it in public, and as she sang this song now, I saw her eyes becoming moist. I thought it was very brave of Melanie to bare her soul this way before us. “Old Bitch Warrior” came, and, with Katie Geddes, “Brand New Key. ”

By this time, Melanie wasn’t really following the playlist; it was getting late (I wasn’t checking my watch, but it must have been around midnight), and requests were echoing from the audience. Everyone has their favorite Melanie song and were desperate to hear those songs sung. Barbara was hoping for “Leftover Wine,” and indeed Melanie played that great song. Then Melanie talked about the late sixties, about how, during that brief shining moment at Woodstock, we seemed to be approaching a new renaissance, and how that time, before some of the excesses of that period, inspired her to write “Lay Down. ” Then, at last, Melanie called for Katie to join her once again to play “Lay Down. ” I can’t express how excited I was: “Lay Down” has been my favorite song, bar none, for over thirty years. To hear it sung by Melanie less than eight feet away was like being visited by a singing angel. As the last note played out and reverberated through the room, I honored her the only way I could: I stood up and applauded. In a second, everyone joined and we gave Melanie, Beau, and Katie a long standing ovation. The concert was over.

Melanie removed her guitar to return to the side room. She must have been exhausted, because she had played about 25 songs, an extraordinary feat. She would be out again in a few minutes, an announcer advised us; a column already was forming, at least a hundred people with photos, CDs, LPs, vinyl singles, all waiting to be signed. Unlike last time at the Green Wood, when everyone assumed Melanie was going to sign stuff in the vestibule, a number of us apparently were aware that the signing table would actually be inside the main room, so Barbara and I didn’t wind up in front. But we still managed to get in line near its starting point. I didn’t want to burden Melanie with a stack of stuff to sign (one fellow actually had Melanie sign an entire stack of LPs) so I just greeted her as she signed a photo and patiently allowed Barbara to snap a picture of us. Then I took a picture of Barbara and Melanie.

Afterwards I meandered in the crowd for a bit, hoping to run into a couple of other members from the Melanielist. I talked with Beau a bit as he was packing up his equipment, and then Randy (“kielbosa”) approached with three of his children. I had seen Randy on EWTN but he’d never seen me and figured who I was because of my black walking stick. Unfortunately, his wife and littlest daughter were at the hotel and weren’t able to attend the concert. He got into the now dwindling line (it was past 1:00 in the morning by now) to meet Melanie. I purchased several copies of “These Nights” for Melanielist members: Peter happened by, noticed I was buying multiple copies, and I explained I was getting copies “for friends who couldn’t be here tonight. ” Peter very generously gave me copies of “Freedom Knows My Name” to go along with the copies of “These Nights. ” I said my good-byes to Barbara and Katie, and returned to my truck. This time, for a change, I didn’t get lost driving home.

I think of another Melanie song, “Hearing the News,” and when how simply hearing something is just not the same as being there. No written words can ever adequately describe what it is like to watch and hear Melanie perform: they cannot capture her voice, her grace, her humor and wit, her gentle nature.

If you’ve read this far, thanks. I also especially want to thank Barbara for her company during the Green Wood concert, and of course to Melanie, Peter, Beau, Katie, and everyone else who made it possible for Melanie to return to Michigan.

I suspect she will be returning here before too long.



1. Melanie cannot whistle. She can't roll her tongue to produce a whistle. If you remember your high school biology classes, many people do not have the gene that allows them to roll their tongue. This is only a serious handicap if you are a construction worker and are therefore unable to whistle at pretty women as they pass by.

2. The praying mantis is the Linda Blair of the insect world--it is the only insect capable of turning its head completely around, which makes it impossible to sneak up on a mantis. To my knowledge, Melanie's mom was never charged with illegally killing the mantis horde in the Safka household.

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