home a safe place to land
 todays flight plan archives
Flight Plan


A Thought for Today

If you've got time to kill do it on your own watch. Don't interrupt someone else's rhythm.



Let me tell you, sitting here half a world away from all the action at Thousand Oaks, waiting for feedback, has been absolutely excruciating!

I was up at 5.00am attending to the mail before settling down to my mini McKuen concert as outlined in the Flight Plan yesterday. Sadly Tyra, my four-footed companion, has yet to acquire a taste for Rod's music and she deserted me pretty early in the proceedings. Seems she's leaning more to Barry Manilow and Savage Garden these days so I have some work to do on this front.

Then the wait. You can guess the thoughts running through my head  - Rod should be on stage by now ... wonder what he's singing right at this moment ... wonder what the audience is like. Then, a couple of hours later, right, the show must be over by now ... wonder who's gone backstage ... what will the reviews be like.

Also, just where is this secret destination he's heading off to after the show? Rod's pretty good at letting me know his movements when he's away on business but not this time. Must be something special so I hope he has fun!

Finally, Bob Ryan saved the the day with this first-in report.

Hi Ken,

It's midnight here in L.A. Just back from the concert. Tried to stay and have Rod sign an old book, but it was getting too late. The new book and cd's were held up at customs. 

Rod put on a great show. His voice sounded just like it did 30 years ago. I thought of you while we were watching. I had third row center seats, about 12 feet from Rod. He was a little nervous at the start and forgot a few versus of his opening song, but the audience were such big fans it didn't really matter. 

The venue held 380 with great acoustics. There were about 200 there, very intimate and warm. My wife really enjoyed the concert even though she really isn't into Rod (she's a big BeeGee's fan). Rod forgot the words to a couple of poems he wanted to read and asked " if anyone in the audience had a copy". Sure enough a guy brought one up and saved the day. 

All in all it was a great evening. You have a great day yourself. 

Bob Ryan

Thanks for this, Bob, and who can blame Rod for being a bit nervous after such a long break from the stage?

Pity about the new book and CD's not being available but I'm not really surprised. It was an incredibly tight deadline and the upside is we have something new to look forward to in a couple of weeks.

Thanks again for burning the proverbial midnight oil, Bob, and putting my agonizing wait to an end.

Gail and Ben obviously enjoyed the show.


Thank you for a wonderful evening. I will treasure it always. I am so glad you came to Thousand Oaks tonight.

With love and appreciation for all you have given us, 


Hey Rod,

Just got back from your Thousand Oaks show and was blown away.

Look forward to hearing/ reading your new CDs/ book. Have you ever thought about a week long engagement at the Cinegrill? Just a thought.

Thanks for the great performance.


Ben Vaughn
Santa Monica

P.S. I was the guy with the book.

Sorry Rod isn't able to reply in person, Gail and Ben, but we're all grateful you took the time to write and express your appreciation.

And Ben, I know Rod would want me to thank you on his behalf for coming to his rescue with your book. Well done!

BJ made her report short, sweet and meaningful.

Dear Ken,

Just walked in the door - this may be too late for the Flight Plan.

Impression - when I get this silly grin off my face, wipe the tears from my eyes, and start to breath again, I'll let you know.



Never too late, BJ, I've been holding it back especially for you. Glad you enjoyed the show.

And finally Wes, wonderful man that he is, kept a running diary yesterday which he kindly shares with all of us. This was the first time Wes had seen Rod in concert.

The day dawned overcast in Ventura County, but with bright prospects on the horizon. After checking the flight plan and message boards about 8AM, and posting a message reminding everyone how lucky I was to be going tonight, I left to meet up with Sonja and Keith who had driven in from Arizona. We had a great conversational get to know each other breakfast, surrounded by murals of frogs and local art, at the local eclectic eatery called Franky's. They serve a wonderful egg sandwich with specially prepared potatoes. 

After a short tour of downtown Ventura and a visit to the local Book Mall where Sonja bought two Rod books, we went back to their hotel and met Ann from Bakersfield. We had more visiting and story telling about past Rod events, and the recent benefit, then left for my place with the infamous killer stairs. Here Sonja and Keith poured over my wonderful Rod shelf and a half while Ann, who had seen them before, kibitzed. 

It is now going on 3PM, and I have gotten the sad news about the book and CD's. Called the hotel to relay the message. Nan and Dave have arrived from Hemet. They are all going down early to Thousand Oaks so the tailgate party can begin. Had an email from BJ who is driving in sometime around 6PM from Palm Desert. Will look for her, but of course will not know exactly who I am looking for. The sun is out again and it seems to be clearing. Another good omen. Ann said Rod was in great form and spirits at last weekend's benefit. She has not yet washed her cheek where he gave her a peck after the show.

Arrived at the Civic Arts Theater at about 7PM. The "group" had staked out an area in the lobby that they considered the best vantage point. According to Ann they had looked for the stage entrance with little success, so next to the tee-shirt table was good. Sharon has arrived by now and the Rod one-up's have begun. Most of them have seen shows in the past, so they all have stories. A teenage girl arrives, accompanying her mother. She says she could not avoid knowing who Rod is, and likes some of his writing. 

Edward shows up and Ann starts a conversation, explaining that we will go to customs and get the book ourselves. He says how frustrated he is with the situation and how excited he is to see Rod perform again. We meet a young woman in her late 20's or early 30's who has an L.A. radio show on which she plays a lot of Rod's music. She is really looking forward to the concert. 

It is almost show time. I find my seat. Sure enough, it is directly in the center of the front row. When Rod comes out I am looking directly at him as we all stand to greet him with a standing ovation. He is wearing rumpled dark green jeans, a brown sweatshirt over a white button down shirt, and brown and white converse style sneakers. Seems just a bit nervous initially.

(Wes goes on to give a complete breakdown of the show, including all the numbers Rod performed. Now we don't want to spoil things for those attending the Aurora show on Saturday so I've omitted this part). 

I was impressed with Rod's stage presence and the genuine emotion and pleasure he radiated. He really seemed to be enjoying himself and got stronger as the show went on. According to a few of the others who had seen earlier shows, he was every bit as good tonight as when they saw him in the past. 

After the show, as much of the crowd milled about waiting to get things signed, talk to Rod, and have their picture taken, I spoke to a couple of teens who were obviously not familiar with him. Their mother, who apparently went to school with Rod, had brought them. The young man told me that he really related Rod's words, that he had often felt exactly like the songs and poems described. And that is why Rod has been, and will continue to be, as popular as he is, even with a new audience. He speaks the feelings and thoughts many of us are unable to say for ourselves. We understand him because he understands us. 


OK, gang, that's it for today. As I finish this Flight Plan it's the middle of the night in California so I doubt there'll be any more feedback today.

Last word on this memorable day goes to Wes. On his covering mail to me he says:

Great evening; wonderful show; many new friends. 

Who could ask for anything more.

Back with more tomorrow - join me then.

                                      - Ken, Johannesburg,  March 9

Details of Rod's upcoming concerts and appearances can be obtained via the link below:

Rod McKuen Concerts & Appearances

notable birthdays Samuel Barber o Jaime Lyn Bauer o Carl Betz o Brian Bosworth o James Buckley o Fred Clark o Ornette Coleman o Andre Courreges o Taina Eig o Linda Fiorentino o Bobby Fischer o Eddie Foy, Sr. o Yuri Gagarin o David Garnett o Charles Gibson o Mickey Gilley o Will Geer o Brian Lane Green o Marty Ingels o Raul Julia o Kato Kaelin o Emmanuel Lewis o Mark Lindsay o Irene Papas o Lloyd Price o George Lincoln Rockwell o Vita Sackville-West o Thomas Schippers o Keely Smith o Mickey Spillane o Danny Sullivan o Trish Van Devere o Joyce Van Patten o Amerigo Vespucci
Rod's random thoughts Silence with friends is comfort.

Other names will always sound larger than your own. Learn humility early.

It takes centuries to produce a saint, minutes to make a sinner.


You can point out mold
                       to some,
bring old diggings
and old bones into a conversation
or show them black garbed women
who only live to dress the saints,
and they will still believe
that death will never touch them.

These people are protected
by a kind of faith
religion or the mystic
                   cannot follow.
Not just fear but fantasy
is their imaginations icon.
It is this little band
                 of self believers
who do great damage, cause distress
and puncture others lives.

Alas, there are no strangers
and no strange places
                         left to see.
Even Eden has been settled.
And Lazarus could not afford
the real estate to rise from.
The phoenix coming up
from ancient ash and embers
would have to grope his way
through layers of decaying birds.

Hush, hush, don't fret
but be prepared
to go this time and stay.

                                      - from "Valentines," 1986

1984, 1988, 1999,  2001 by Stanyan Music Group & Rod McKuen. All Rights Reserved
Birthday research by Wade Alexander o Poetry from the collection of Jay Hagan o Coordinated by Melinda Smith
Want to comment on today's Flight Plan?
Send e-mail to Rod McKuen or post a message at the Rod McKuen Message Center
home page   today's flight plan   flight plan archives   search this site   site map