Two Wednesdays before last, my daily treat from Bandsintown ( included a collection of video clips of several rock icons from my day performing on the Ed Sullivan show   I got around to watching them the Friday following – wow – and it got me to thinking of another great thing we’ve lost to Mr. Corona: concerts.  I love going to see live music.  I know watching your fave on the screen Sunday night doing one or two songs to help Mr. Sullivan put on his really big shew isn’t the same as being there live, but just watching these performances gets closer to that.  We’ve tried sitting in front of the big screen for a couple virtual concerts lately, but it just isn’t the same.

Kathy and I always liked going out for music.  We had one of our first dates going to hear folk legend U. Utah Phillips at the Ark when it was in a white house on Hill, and have haunted the place in all its successive iterations.  We were regulars at singer Susan Chastain’s wonderful jazz club the Firefly, even taking a small financial interest in the place.  To this day, some our friends refer to it as “our jazz club”.  It was there we were reintroduced to the wonders of small group jazz from the 20’s, 30’s and 40’s.  My dear dad approved as he loved the stuff, too, and had the stack of 78s to prove it.  I’m sorry we never got the old man over to the club. To this day, we’re friends with some of the musicians we first met at that club. We braved the traffic and crowds of Pine Knob, Freedom Hill, and Meadowbrook.  We chased down the Commander whenever he pulled his ass out of Saratoga Springs and came to Michigan to try to fill a few seats in some dive.  But the big time concert going didn’t begin till about 6 summers ago.  We realized a lot of our faves were getting up there, but still managed to show up and play somewhere now and then, with at least a fragment of their old bands.  When I announced my intention to go start seeing them in earnest to my old friend Forrest, to whose musical knowledge I cannot hold a candle, he just said “well, see ‘em before they die!”.  Our first venture was a little 90 minute road trip to Kalamazoo, where guitar-legend Johnny Winter himself was holding forth at Bell’s Eccentric Café.   Even if the show sucked the beer would be good.  Kathy and I went with a couple VHS ’70 friends: Vicksburg’s own guitar legend Wang and the incomparable and unique Rollo.  Now skinny albino Johnny always looked pretty other worldly, but when he came on stage, bent over, mostly blind, and guided by a strong man on each arm, it looked like the world to which he was most suited now was the one above.  But his hands sure did come alive when he sat down and ripped into that guitar.  He sang too, and sounded just like … Johnny Winter!   He turned in an energetic and satisfying performance.   A fine first stop on what I was calling our “Fogey Rock Tour”.  Next weekend, we ventured to Cleveland with my best Vicksburg buddies (Forrest, Northam, Eric and Rod plus spouses) to tour the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (and see our Tigers lose to the Indians), a good prep for what was to come. Next stop, less than 2 weeks later, was northeast to Pine Knob (technically since 2003 DTE Energy Music Theater), where the elderly (b.7/7/40) Sir Richard Starkey held forth, helped by some of his over-the-hill rocker friends. Ringo’s been doing this since 1989, and does he put on a show! His helpers were once stars in their own right and still have the talent: Todd Rundgren, of all people, Steve Lukather, once of Toto, Colin Hay from Men at Work, and Gregg Rollie, once Santana’s keyboardist. For kicks check out Wiki’s piece on his band and see the many big names that have passed through Ringo’s hired someone else to do most of the drumming – although he does take some turns behind the kit and is apparently a well-respected technical drummer in his own right – so he can spend his time singing, clapping and dancing. My is he in fine shape. Almost enough to make you wanna stop drinking. Each of his all-starrs takes a turn with their hits, so the tune selection is top notch. I daresay that I can recommend if you have but one outdoor concert to take in, go see Ringo. He’s still at it, was just as good when Kathy and I saw him August ’19, and I’m sure is chompin’ at the bit to get back out on the road, as are his fogey friends. You’ll have a great time ”with a little help from your friends”.

Next, we stayed right home in Ann Arbor at the Michigan Theater where Jackson Browne performed all by himself.  He walked on to the stage past a row of 23 guitars, lined up in the back.  He extended his arm toward them, turned to the audience and explained “my set list”.  And except for the few songs he sang at the piano, each began with his assistant bringing him one of those perfectly tuned guitars.  His songs have always been great, and he still has his voice.  I’ll allow him a little wandering into the political weeds as long as I can hear the rest.  Before another week passed, on Kathy’s birthday, a month and 2 days since Kalamazoo, we got word out of Zürich that Johnny Winter was gone, Forrest’s words in my ear.  We now carefully attend to news of the health of those performers we had seen.  Jackson is still fine, although he did contract coronavirus last March, surviving.  We haven’t kept up the percentages of our first 3 concerts, but have seen a few more pass on, all to be missed: local Jim Dapogny, Merle Haggard, Tom Petty, Glen Frey, Dan Hicks, Stuart McLean (Canadian raconteur), Charley Daniels, and John Prine (although we’d seen him before 2014).

We’ve racked up 136 more concerts since, even getting to a few clubs in Chicago in this time of COVID.  I’ve gone as far away as London, seeing Dianne Schuur at the legendary Ronnie Scott’s in Soho, but that’s a technicality since I was there on the NIH’s dime to participate in an ultrasound exercise. Going to go see somebody has been a good excuse for some trips.  We’ve gone to Boston, New York City (with a side trip to Pawling to hear Marshall Crenshaw and later Tony Castro at Darryl Hall’s place), Urbana IL, Santa Fe, Pittsburgh, and even Ohio (Toledo, Huber Heights, Cleveland, Kent) and Canada (Windsor, Kitchener, Kingston).  And we haven’t neglected our home state venturing from Detroit to Manistee, and hitting New Buffalo, Kalamazoo, Portage, Allegan, Buchannan, Battle Creek, Grand Rapids, Jackson, Mt. Pleasant, Flint, Clarkston, Auburn Hills, Rochester, Rochester Hills, Sterling Heights, West Bloomfield, Royal Oak, Ferndale, Dearborn, South Lyon, Canton, and Chelsea.

Clearly, we have favored some artists.  Bill Kirchen – once lead guitar for Commander Cody and the lost Planet Airmen – we’ll go to see anywhere.  He greets us with a hug and we have good conversations about how Kathy’s NASA pep talk with his daughter got her straightened out. The Commander himself is a must see, as he recreates on his electric piano the raucous output of his old group plus the many non-P.C. numbers he’s created since.  The venues he frequents are small enough I can usually have a drink or two with him before the show.  As he’s racked with arthritis in many joints, he hangs on to what I offer as potential remedies someday.  We’re not so close with the rest of the acts to which we snug up.  But as you can see as you review the itinerary below, there are several other artists we also favor.  You can tally the numbers.  We love Marshall Crenshaw and will see him any time.  After that come the bigger acts which fortunately are listing down to lesser venues.  John Fogarty is down to casinos now and his act is absolutely fabulous.  Another one we’ll see anytime, anywhere.  The Doobies at Freedom Hill were just spectacular, with Tom Johnston with his 3 original cohorts blasting out all the energy we remember from them 35 years ago.  China grove!  Roger Hodgson was a one time at a small venue (at the Sound Board Motor Casino in Detroit), but the former lead of Supertramp took us on a wonderful journey, beginning with “Take the long way home” (“just to get it out of the way”, he said).   We loved to go see Robbie Fulks wherever he was, whether at the Ark, some Methodist church n AA, or a dive in Chicago.  His regular appearances at Hideaway, a true dive in Chicago, prompted several train trips and weekends there just to hear him.  Always well worth it.  He’s since moved to LA, so the Hideaway concerts have stopped, but he still stops back from time to time.

You can see on the list that follows all the big and not-so-big names we’ve seen.  Some other repeaters still worth mentioning: Eilen Jewel, a little wisp of a thing from Idaho who belts out soulful country-tinged tunes with a guitarist who  knows the e-string.  When we first saw her in Chicago she was 8 months pregnant, and held forth like a trouper.  Here’s my favorite tune of hers, a cover  Then there’s Don White of Massachusetts, not Boston (  Wise, funny tunes, here’s one of his most touching    And we see Kathy’s chronological compatriot, Pennsylvania’s John Gorka, whenever possible.  We’ve loved his warm baritone for 30 years, and he’s only gotten better.   Houses in the Fields.  What I think of now, but here’s another tune, the one that sustained Kathy and me when she was in D.C. and I was in A.A.  Just go.

Of course , there are the regrets.  We obsessed a couple years back over going to Nashville to see John Prine, and didn’t.  And now he’s gone, alas.  We did see him at the Ark in 2010, a little after his cancer surgery.  Plus we saw that what’s remained of Jefferson Starship would be in Jackson.  Short hop.  We didn’t go.  Marty Balin with his fantastic voice was the only original left, let alone the Airplane, and now he’s gone, so there’s that chance. Problem when your idols are septuagenarians.

Sure, going to see these old fogey rockers just stuffs further their already substantial pocketbooks.  And I know you can dredge up stories of how much the tickets cost to see them back in the day.  But how much is the price for a magic ride back to your youth?  When those old familiar tunes begin, you’ll be transported back to the time when you first heard them, and isn’t that a good place?  I submit that some of this good feeling is a neurobiological trick, where the first notes of the tune trigger your memory of how it first sounded, and that’s what you actually hear.  Maybe that’s why they sound so good.  No matter, it’s an experience well worth the entry fee, and I recommend you go, as often as possible.

Concerts I’ve been to since 2014 (there’s more stuff at the end of the list)


6/14    Johnny Winter; Bell’s Eclectic Café, Kalamazoo

6/27 Ringo Starr and his All Starr Band; DTE Energy Music Thtr, Clarkson

7/4. Detroit Symphony Orchestra Public Salute; The Henry Ford, Dearborn

7/10    Jackson Browne; Michigan Thtr, AA

7/13    Dave Mason’s Traffic Jam; Ark, AA

7/18    Crosby, Stills, Nash: Jacobs Pavillion, Cleveland OH

7/20. Monty Python Farewell Concert; GOT Canton 7 GDX Theater, Canton

7/25    Hot Club of Detroit; Ark, AA

7/26    John Fogerty/Jimmy Buffett; Comerica Park, Detroit

7/31    Bill Kirchen; Ark, AA

8/9      Lyle Lovett; Michigan Thtr, AA

8/20    Moody Blues; Toledo Zoo, Toledo OH

8/23    Bill Cosby; Soaring Eagle Casino, Mt Pleasant

8/24    Steve Winwood/Tom Petty; Pine Knob, Clarkston

8/27    Doobie Brothers; Freedom Hill, Sterling Hts

9/8      Eagles; Van Andel Arena, Grand Rapids

10/4    Loudon Wainright III; Ark, AA

10/18  Huey Lewis; The Whiting, Flint

10/24 Lou & Peter Berryman; Ark, AA

11/6    Roger Hodgson; Sound Board Motor Casino, Detroit

11/12  Todd Rundgren; Kent Stage, Kent OH

12/6    Christine Lavin/Don White; Ark AA

12/7. Mannheim Steamroller Christmas by Chip Davis;Fox Thtr, Detroit

12/9    Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band; Van Andel Arena, Grand Rapids

12/12 A Johnnyswim Christmas; Ark, AA

12/17  Delbert McClinton; Ark AA


2/27    Commander Cody; Callaghan’s, Auburn Hills

3/10    Marshall Crenshaw; Ark, AA

3/26 Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks; Ark, AA

4/21    Diane Schuur; Ronnie Scott’s, London UK

4/23    Stuart McLean; Michigan Thtr, AA

4/27    Mr. B/Paul Keller/Yspi Symphony; Towsley Aud, WCC, Ypsilanti

5/16    Roger McGuinn, Michigan Thtr, AA

6/3      Robbie Fulks & Redd Volkaert; Ark, AA

6/5      Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox; Royal Oak Music Thtr, Royal Oak

6/6      Randy Newman/DSO, Orchestra Hall, Detroit

6/13    Bill Kirchen/Commander Cody; Bull Run Restaurant, Shirley MA

6/22    Asleep at the Wheel; Ark, AA

6/27    New Riders of the Purple Sage; Buchannan Common. Buchannan

7/3      John Fogarty; Four Winds Casino, New Buffalo

7/10    Doobie Bros; Rockin’ on the Riverfront, RenCen, Detroit

7/18    Tommy James & the Shondells; Meadowbrook, Rochester

7/19    Royal Garden Trio/Jim Dapogny; Island Park, AA

7/24. Guitar Greats: Kirchen (Bill), Volkaert (Redd), McKeon (Scott), Al-Saadi (Laith); Ark, AA

7/26    Journey; Rogers K=Rock Centre, Kingston ON

8/4      Lyle Lovett: Michigan Thtr, AA

8/9      Beach Boys/Temptations; Freedom Hill, Sterling Heights

8/11. Donald Trump; Birch Run Expo Center, Birch Run

8/15    Happy Together Tour (Turtles, The Association, Mark Lindsay, former lead singer of Paul Revere & the Raiders, The Grass Roots, The Cowsills and The Buckinghams); Little River Casino Resort, Manistee

9/6      Jackson Browne; Meadowbrook Amphitheater, Rochester Hills

9/19    Joe Walsh; Caesar’s. Windsor ON

10/20  Willie Nelson/Merle Haggard; Fox Thtr, Detroit

10/21  Paul McCartney; Joe Louis Arena, Detroit

10/23 Robbie Fulks; JAX, Jackson

11/9    Arlo Guthrie; Michigan Thtr, AA

12/11 Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra 4th Annual Holiday Pops; Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor

12/20  Jorma Kaukonen; Ark, AA

12/22  Robbie Fulks: Hideout, Chicago IL


1/23    Ragtime Extravaganza; Mi Thr, AA

1/24    William Shatner; Sound Board, Detroit

2/12    Christine Lavin/Don White; Ark, AA

2/14    Marshall Crenshaw; Daryl’s House, Pawling NY

2/26    Commander Cody; Callaghan’s, Auburn Hills

3/12    Star Trek: the Ultimate Voyage; Fox Thtr, Detroit

3/19    Montreal Symphony; Hill Aud, AA

4/5      Marshall Crenshaw; Ark, AA

4/8      Lipstick and Lead (Wang): Nob Hill, Portage

4/9      Accidentals; Ark, AA

4/12    Robbie Fulks; Ark, AA

4/14    Mnozil Brass; Hill Aud, AA     

4/16    Bill Kirchen/Redd Voelkert; Rose Bowl Tavern, Urbana IL

4/21    Melvern Taylor and his Fabulous Meltones; Toad, Cambridge MA

5/8      Eilen Jewell; City Winery, Chicago IL

5/9      Community Jazz Orchestra, Jazz Showcase, Chicago IL

5/10    Fat Babies; Green Mill Jazz Club, Chicago IL

5/20    John Fogarty; Rose Music Center, Huber Heights, OH

6/4      Monkees; Caesar’s, Windsor ON

6/9      Laith al-Saadi; Liberty Square, AA

7/1      Billy Joel; PNC Park, Pittsburgh

7/2      Jessica Lee, Mark Strickland, George Jones, Jeff Berman.  James Street Gastropub and Speakeasy , Pittsburgh

7/16    Herman’s Hermits; Meadowbrook Thtr, Rochester Hills

7/18    Hall & Oates; Pine Knob, Clarkston

7/29    Jimmy Webb, Ark, AA

8/4      Dave Mason/Doobies/Journey; Pine Knob, Clarkston

8/10    Hot Tuna; Ark, AA

8/16    Asleep at the Wheel; Ark, AA

8/25    Mitch Ryder; Liberty Square, AA

9/30    Brian Wilson; Fox Thtr, Detroit

10/15  Tommy Castro and the Painkillers; Daryl’s House, Pawling NY

10/16  Jon-Erik Kellso and the Earregulars; Ear Inn, NYC

10/17  Village Vanguard Orchestra; Village Vanguard, NYC


5/2      Eilen Jewell; Ark AA

5/5      John Gorka; Ark AA

5/13    Robbie Fulks; City Winery, Chicago IL

5/14    Fat Babies; Honky Tonk BBQ, Chicago IL

5/20    Steve Martin/Martin Short; Meadowbrook Amphitheater, Rochester Hills

5/26    Bill Kirchen/Jimmie Dale Gilmore; Ark AA

6/11    Paul Simon; Toledo Zoo, Toledo OH

6/30    Marshall Crenshaw y Los Straitjackets, Sara Borges, Ark AA

8/24    Bob Seger, Huntington Center, Toledo OH

9/16    Tim Allen, Royal Oak Music Thtr, Royal Oak

9/30    Sean Jones quintet, Jazz Showcase, Chicago IL

10/1    Fat Babies; Honky Tonk BBQ, Chicago IL

10/14  Petra van Nuis/Andy Brown/Pete Siers/James Dapogny/Paul Keller, Kerrytown Concert House, AA

10/20  Mary Chapin Carpenter (w/Emily Barker), State Theater. Kalamazoo

11/3    Laith Al-Saadi, Michigan Theater, AA

11/17  Count Basie Orchestra, Orchestra Hall, Detroit

12/1    Don White, Greenwood Coffee House, AA


1/26    Burton Cummings                Colosseum at Caeser’s Windsor, Windsor ON

2/9      Robbie Fulks                           Green Wood Coffee House,  AA

4/14    (unknown quartet)                Andy’s Jazz Club, Chicago IL

7/27    Bill Kirchen                              Sounds and Sights Festival, Chelsea

8/22    Eilen Jewell                            Ark, AA

8/24    Invasion                                  McHattie Park, South LyonMI

9/12    Charlie Daniels Band

            Travis Tritt                               Allegan County Fair, Allegan

12/2 Detroit Symphony Orchestra: Bugs Bunny at the Symphony II; Orchestra Hall, Detroit

12/3    Bill Kirchen                              Ark, AA


3/28    David Wilcox/Beth Nielsen Chapman Ark, AA

4/7      Bottle Rockets/Marshall Crenshaw            Ark, AA

4/15    Chicago Farmer/Todd Snider                      Ark, AA

5/6      Eileen McGann                                               Causerie, Kitchener ON

5/10    Jaimee Harris/Mary Gauthier                     Greenwood Coffee House, Ann Arbor

5/17    Robert Jones/Matt Watroba                       Ark, AA

6/2      Karla Bonoff                                                    Ark, AA

6/15    Bill Harley/Don White/Bill Lepp                 Ark, AA

6/19    Michael McDonald                                         Sound Board, Motor City Casino, Detroit

7/23    Tedeschi Trucks Band                                  Meadowbrook Amphitheater, Rochester Hills

7/25    Eilen Jewell                                                     Ark, AA

8/25    Ringo Starr and his All-Star Band              Santa Fe Opera House, Santa Fe NM

8/27    Boz Scaggs                                                      Santa Fe Opera House, Santa Fe NM

9/21    John Fogerty                                                   Firekeeper’s Casino, Battle Creek MI

9/29    Carol Burnett                                                  Detroit Opera House

11/1    John Gorka                                                      Ark, Ann Arbor

11/3    Savoy Brown                                                   Magic Bag, Ferndale MI

11/14  Ray Kamalay and His Red Hot Peppers          University Hospital, Ann Arbor

11/22  Boz Scaggs                                                      Firekeeper’s Casino, Battle Creek MI

12/1    Bill Kirchen                                                      Ark, Ann Arbor


1/2      Cirque de Soleil; Little Caesar’s Arena, Detroit

1/12    Ray Kamalay and His Red Hot Peppers; West Bloomfield Library, West Bloomfield   

3/8      Chi-Town Jazz Festival (featuring the Bobby Lewis quintet); The Green Mill, Chicago

3/9      (unrecalled group) Jazz Showcase, Chicago

9/25    Greg Artry Quartet; Jazz Showcase, Chicago

mementos. When the concert’s over, you’re left with the memories: songs running around your head, images of the disgusting old people who shared the experience with you, the CD(s) you might have picked up, and of course the ticket stubs. Tickets aren’t much these days, just the facts printed on a little piece of cardboard, or maybe those 8 1/2 X 11 computer printouts. Kathy is a bit of a pack rat and fortunately saved most of these things from my excursions. Going through them, I picked up a few concerts I had neglected to enter on my own lists. But sometimes you get other cool stuff at concerts, like this post card of the Johnny Winter band.

Is it worth more now that he’s dead? Regardless, I’m hanging on to it.

For Roger McGuinn (leader of the Byrds) we got a whole brochure.

And all by himself, he was just terrific. Forrest can attest.

A couple months later, Forrest and his best friend Rod joined Kathy and me as we lept back to high school. TJ himself, son of Niles MI, lept a few times to punctuate his ever endearing songs, getting as much as 2″ off the stage, enough to flip his toupee a little. “Chrimson and clover, over and over…”

Published by rike52

I retired from the Rheumatology division of Michigan Medicine end of June '19 after 36 years there. Upon hitting Ann Arbor for the second time (I went to school here) it took me almost 8 months to meet Kathy, 17 months to buy her a house (on Harbal, where we still live), and 37 months to marry her. Kids never came, but we've been blessed with a crowd of colleagues, friends, neighbors and family that continues to grow. Lots of them are going to show up in this log eventually. Stay tuned.

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