Unless you lived in the Phoenix area in the 70s and 80s, you probably have no idea who Jerry Riopelle is. For some strange reason, Phoenix took Jerry as one of our own and he became a mainstay in the Phoenix music scene. We were first introduced to Jerry when he was the lead-up act for Dr. John. That show was in 1974 at the Celebrity Theatre and it was just the start of a very long and wonderful relationship between Jerry and the Phoenix area. For over 2 decades, Jerry would perform at the Celebrity Theatre to sold-out shows with very rowdy fans every New Year’s Eve.
A few years ago, Jerry went into semi-retirement and only does a small number of shows each year. He currently spends his time living between Hawaii and Scottsdale, Arizona. So it was great to hear that he was putting the band back together again and doing a performance at the Talking Stick Resort Showroom. It has been over 40 years since I first heard Jerry and I still love to go to his shows. It was great to see old friends, talk to other audience members about their experiences at past shows and listen to some really great music.
At tonight’s sold out show, Jerry was surrounded on stage by a number of friends. At the front of the stage from left to right, David Plenn (Lead Guitar and Vocals), Jerry Riopelle (Lead Vocals, Guitar and Keyboards), Llory McDonald (Guitar and Vocals) and Tara Austin (Vocals). At the back of the stage from left to right, Jerry’s son, Paul Riopelle (Vocals and Guitar), David Jenkins (Percussion), David Goodstein (Drums) and Lloyd Moffitt (Bass).
The show consisted of a retrospective of all of Jerry’s greatest hits. They played favorites, “Gulf of Mexico”, “Walking on Water”, “Easy Driver” and “Red Ball Texas Flyer”. It really looked like Jerry and the band were having a great time on stage. Llory moved around the stage playing with Jerry, David and Lloyd. Jerry switch between playing guitar and sitting and playing keyboards. He even came out to the front of the stage to sing with the audience. I know that the audience had a great time because they were constantly in the aisle dancing and sing. The band came back to perform a 2 set encore where they played “Naomi’s Song” and then closed the show with “Let’s Get Loaded Like We Used To Do”.
Most of Jerry’s original albums/cassettes are out of print, but Jerry has a number of CD sets available via his website, “http://jerryriopelle.com/jrStore.htm” and at his concerts. The Works is a collection of all of his greatest hits. My personal favorite is In The Round, a collection of songs and a DVD from his Celebrity Theatre concerts in the late 70s and early 80s. If you liked tonight’s live performance or want to relive your experiences at his shows in the 70s, I would highly recommend this CD/DVD set.
Review and photos by Fred Kuhlman
Promoter: Danny Zelisko Presents
Venue: Talking Stick Resort Showroom
Photos © Fred Kuhlman 2017
Rear View (Rear View)
Back To Back (The Works / 1970-2000)
Gulf of Mexico (The Works / 1970-2000)
Hey Old Friend (The Works / 1970-2000)
Carry Me Away (The Works / 1970-2000)
Kill Me (The Works / 1970-2000)
Silver Dollar (The Works / 1970-2000)
Shoulder To The Wheel (The Works / 1970-2000)
Blues On My Table (The Works / 1970-2000)
Real Fat (The Works / 1970-2000)
Walkin’ On Water (The Works / 1970-2000)
You And I (The Works / 1970-2000)
Candy Barr (The Works / 1970-2000)
Easy Driver (The Works / 1970-2000)
Red Ball Texas Flyer (The Works / 1970-2000)
Naomi’s Song (The Works / 1970-2000)
So Young (The Works / 1970-2000)
Livin The Life (The Works / 1970-2000)
Let’s Get Loaded Like We Used To Do (The Works / 1970-2000)