Ringo Starr and his All-Starr Band: 3/27/1999

This was my second time seeing Ringo.  The first time was cool, but this show was light years better.

The lineup for this incarnation of the All-Starr Band was nothing short of mind-blowing.

  • Ringo Starr – drums, vocals
  • Todd Rundgren (from Nazz and Utopia) – guitar, percussion, vocals
  • Gary Brooker (from Procol Harum) – organ, keyboards, vocals
  • Jack Bruce (from Cream) – bass, keyboards, vocals
  • Simon Kirke (from Free and Bad Company) – drums, vocals
  • Timmy Cappello – saxophone, keyboards, harmonica, guitar, vocals

The band opened the show with “It Don’t Come Easy,” which is maybe my favorite Ringo solo song and one that he did not play the first time I saw him. This show also had a nice amount of Beatles tunes woven in. And the songs from the other members—WOW! Todd actually played some Utopia, Simon sang some Bad Co. and a Free song, Gary Brooker sang some classic Procol Harum stuff, including Conquistador, and Jack Bruce belted out several Cream hits. There was absolutely no weak spots anywhere in this show.

Here’s the full setlist. Rock on!


  • It Don’t Come Easy
  • Act Naturally
  • Whisky Train
  • I Saw the Light
  • Sunshine of Your Love
  • Shooting Star
  • Boys
  • Love Me Do
  • Yellow Submarine
  • Conquistador
  • Hammer in My Heart
  • I’m the Greatest
  • No No Song
  • I Feel Free
  • All Right Now
  • I Wanna Be Your Man
  • Bang the Drum All Day
  • White Room
  • A Whiter Shade of Pale
  • Photograph


  • You’re Sixteen
  • With a Little Help From My Friends

The Firm: 3/15/1986

Those of you who missed the 80’s (or just have a cloudy memory) may need a little info on The Firm. They were a supergroup comprised of some very notable musicians:

  • Paul Rodgers on lead vocals (from Free and Bad Company)
  • Jimmy Page on guitar (from The Yardbirds and Led Zeppelin)
  • Chris Slade on drums (from Manfred Mann’s Earth Band, Uriah Heep, and AC/DC)
  • Tony Franklin on bass (from Roy Harper, John Sykes’ Blue Murder, David Gilmour, Kate Bush, and Whitesnake)

I went to this show with my friend Mike. Since we were both young guitarists, we were pretty psyched to see the legendary Jimmy Page.

What I remember about the performance was that they were awesome. I personally would have liked to have seen them do a Led Zeppelin tune, but alas. Page did do a really cool guitar solo, though, using the violin bow, with a pyramid of lasers encasing him, reminiscent of the solo featured in “The Song Remains the Same” movie. That was the high point for me.

After the show, we were making the long drive back from the Sportatorium along the two-lane road that took you out of the boonies and back to civilization. We saw two young women hitchhiking, so we picked them up. Mike immediately began chatting them up, clearly hoping to get lucky. When he asked them what they were into, one of them replied, “We’re into each other,” and began making out in the back seat. We could respect that. We drove them as far as we could and dropped them off, then headed home to recover from the killer night of rock and roll.

Here is the setlist, courtesy of the internet.


  • Fortune Hunter
  • Closer
  • Someone to Love
  • Make or Break
  • Prelude (Chopin)
  • Money Can’t Buy
  • Satisfaction Guaranteed
  • Radioactive
  • Live in Peace
  • All the King’s Horses
  • The Chase
  • Cadillac
  • Midnight Moonlight
  • You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’

James Taylor: 10/19/2008


This ticket is from a free concert that James Taylor gave in Asheville as part of the Obama for President Campaign in 2008. I had never seen James Taylor before, so I was pretty psyched, and my wife was equally excited. We had to get tickets from the campaign headquarters, and we also got some for our two daughters. This made it all the more special, since it was the first concert that we were taking our youngest to.

There was a huge line, and we waited a long time to get in to the park where the concert was being held. The crowd seemed pretty diverse, which I thought was cool. There was definitely a lot of excitement, both regarding the performance and the prospect of having the country’s first African-American president.

The concert was good, but very crowded and not well organized. But I can’t complain; it was free and for a good cause. At one point, I took my daughter close to the stage so she could see better. Taylor played a relatively short set, but did all his hits. Honestly, I could not think of a song that I had wanted to hear that he didn’t play.

All in all, it was a great show and I felt inspired afterwards, and it was another time when live music made for a great family bonding experience.

Chuck Berry and Donovan: 02/20/1988


OK, so first off, observe the price of this ticket. That’s right — $0.00. This was a free concert, but it did require a ticket to get in, probably to minimize the number of people.

As you can imagine, Chuck Berry was the headliner, with Donovan as the opener (not a bad opener, in my humble opinion). Well, you know what they say about the best laid plans. The show was delayed and people were getting a little antsy. Finally the announcer came out and said that Donovan’s flight was delayed, so Chuck would play first and Donovan would play later. All I could think was I would HATE to have to perform after Chuck Berry.

The man came out on stage, and it was rock and roll in the purest sense. Words fail me in trying to describe the feeling I got from seeing the person who, in my eyes, was the grandfather of rock and roll. He was everything I expected. You knew and sang along with every song; he did his trademark duck walk and skip; and he had the youth and vigor of someone half his age. When it was over, I was floored. All I wanted to do was go home and play Chuck Berry tunes on my guitar. It was truly inspiring.

Then came a wait, a very long wait. The announcer spoke up again, ensuring that Donovan would in fact be there. Lots of people left, which I could understand. Hey, they just saw the great Chuck Berry… for free! But I do love Donovan’s music, so I patiently waited, seeking creative ways to entertain myself.

Finally, Donovan arrived. It probably worked in his favor that a couple hours passed between when Chuck finished and he started. It was just him with an acoustic guitar and the people who stayed were very appreciative. He played all his hits, as well as some obscure tunes (sorry, don’t ask me what they were). But I was really glad I waited around because he was great, not Chuck Berry great, but great none-the-less.

It still blows my mind to think that I got to see such an amazing show for free. I’ve seen some great free shows in my life, but they usually did not come with a ticket stub. Having a stub with Chuck Berry’s name on it makes me really, really happy.

Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you get out and see some live music soon.