Steve Wilson

There is something about eye contact that lets two people know that for just a split second, just a flicker of time, there has been a meeting of minds, a very brief acknowledgment of each other’s existence. I had just such an encounter last Friday evening in Paso Robles when Ringo Starr turned toward my section of the arena seating and I showed him a specially designed shirt I was wearing, which read “Sir Richard … thank you!” with a drum kit separating the words. He saw the shirt, smiled and gave me one of his trademark finger “V” for peace and love; and I have the moment on video. Cool.

Now obviously I was not the only person in the vast multitude the superstar of rock ‘n’ roll noticed, some people he spoke one-on-one with and many people he pointed to and smiled or made quick little comments, but for one of those people from the Beatlemania generation it was a very nice moment. But it was not the only nice moment of the evening. Some 10 days prior to the concert there appeared on the porch, where I rent a room, a package of flat brown cardboard about two feet square, but only two inches thick and addressed to me. Inside were four items: a tote bag, a T-shirt and two laminated cards, one attached to a neck halyard, which informed I was a Ringo Starr VIP Package member.

I wore the VIP pass, but because I have a half dozen tote bags from one organization or another and I never use any of them and because I have never really been a big wearer of clothing with printing or logos unless they are of events in which I have been involved, I decided I would give those two items away.

I informed two of the ushers of my plan and after about a half hour of just milling about the venue one of the ushers pointed out a family of four; wife, husband and small boy and a girl around 12, 13, 14 (who can tell?) sitting in the lawn section. So, I explained I thought it was cool that young people were getting exposed to good ol’ rock ‘n’ roll and offered the bag and shirt to the girl and, after a quick look at her parents (smart move on her part) and got the nod OK, she quickly accepted and donned the colorful shirt. I hope she keeps them until they are old and faded and ragged and that she keeps on rockin’ til that happens.

Because of the magnitude of talent that appeared on stage with the legendary drummer were six musicians of equal talent, but apart from one old timer, Edgar Winter, I did not know their names but of course knew their music. My not knowing much about rock bands is no mystery to people who know me, as I have not been a big concert attender over the years nor do I really get into the names of performers unless they are, or were, in groups prior to about 1974. And I must be honest, I was not knowledgeable of groups like Toto and Average White Band or Men at Work and Kansas, although I knew some of their more popular songs.

What I found when a song began that I knew but really had not cared for when it was popular, and overplayed on FM radio, that what this super ground did with that song, “Rosanna” by name, made it a whole different experience; what musicians with years of experience can do with a song is quite remarkable and I found myself caught up in the excitement of a song I did not really care for. I suppose that is what live performances do, they bring out the best of both performers and audience, and in my humble opinion we were a darn good rock ‘n’ roll audience, so the band got its money’s worth just as we did.

And of course, of the early Beatles and Ringo songs there was universal awareness of music and lyrics so much of the evening was sing-along with the band and that is always a bit of a treat for me as I can sing loudly and my off-key voice is drown out by the multitude, so I do not offend those with sensitive ears. As a collective group of thousands, we were on our feet for a good portion of the evening; ya just cannot help it with vibes like they were putting down. And the “we” I refer to includes some familiar faces as I saw Steve there, and later Andy and I met up and toked a bit out of security scrutiny, and I know Mark was there as he posted videos.

But two in attendance were blasts from the past, as Sara and Lisa were also there and neither have lived in South County for many moons now. Lisa is a King City gal, graduated back in 1972 I believe, and Sara was a Sycamore Flats raised Arroyo Seco denizen from a large family. I knew Sara’s family as their place next to the river was a favorite place for a huge contingent (there were eight kids spread over a dozen years or more) of young people over the years, back 50 and more years ago, and Lisa was always part of the flatlanders’ crew of those years.

Sara lives in Sonora now and linked up with Lisa, who traveled from the Nashville area, for both the Friday concert and a day of music and food on Saturday up at Steve and Lynn and Jestin’s place in Arroyo Seco. I joined them along with Lynn’s brother Oliver and Jeanette from here, and it was a very nice place and a very nice way to top off very nice weekend.

Take care. Peace.

Previous articleSalinas Valley Police Reports | Published June 21, 2023
Next articleArts and Cultural Impact grants awarded to Monterey County arts organizations
King City and Greenfield columnist Steve Wilson may be reached at [email protected].


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here