Gone, But Never Forgotten, Tribute Concert for Jerry Riopelle

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Jerry Riopelle Tribute Concert at Talking Stick Resort Showroom, Scottsdale, AZ on May 6th, 2022

Review and Photos by Fred Kuhlman
Promoter: Danny Zelisko Presents (https://www.dannyzeliskopresents.com/ )
Venue: Talking Stick Resort – Showroom (https://www.talkingstickresort.com/ )
Date:  Friday May 6th, 2022
Tour: Tribute Concert for Jerry Riopelle 2022

Jerry Riopelle at Talking Stick Resort Showroom, Scottsdale, AZ on March 10th, 2017

If you were in the Phoenix area during the 70s and early 80s there was 1 radio station that most all rock & roll listeners listen to, KDKB 93.3.  It not only played some of the best rock & roll songs of the time, but it was also known for playing songs that were outside of the top 40.  You got to hear music that you never heard anywhere else.  One of the things I loved about KDKB was that they played up and coming or little know artist.  This is where I heard Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Al Stewart, Billy Joel, The Tubes before they became big.  The other thing they did was play local artist like Has Olsen and of course Jerry Riopelle.

Like a lot of people in the 60s and 70s in Phoenix, we were immigrants from other parts of the US.  Phoenix was very open to welcome us.  Jerry Riopelle was one of the artists that seemed to make his home here.  Almost every year Jerry and his band would perform at the Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix on New Year’s Eve to a sell-out crowd.  I remember one night, some women in the audience even through underwear on stage with their phone numbers.  Jerry was beloved in the valley.  Almost all of his concerts were sold out here and he performed with a number of touring bands when they came through the valley.  He was considered Phoenix’s Elvis and was inducted into the Arizona Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame in 2007.

Jerry Riopelle Tribute Concert at Talking Stick Resort Showroom, Scottsdale, AZ on May 6th, 2022

Everyone that knew Jerry considered him a really nice guy and fabulous musician.  Many of the members of his band since 2000 were fans back in the 80s.  Llory McDonald told a story that when she went to Arcadia HS, they would have Riopelle parties, where you were required to bring 1 Riopelle album to the party to get in.

In December 24th, 2018, we lost this wonderful person.  Jerry was so well liked and meant so much to the music scene here in Phoenix in the 70s and 80s, that a number of friends and fellow musicians along with long time friend and promoter Danny Zelisko decided to celebrate his life each year by putting on a concert where his fellow musicians and Jerry’s band would perform Jerry’s music for his adoring fans.

The show this year was at Talking Stick Resort Showroom in Scottsdale, AZ.  The venue was packed with standing room only.  Everyone in the audience seemed to have a great time.  Many were standing and either dancing or singing along with the music.  Numerous times there were standing ovations.

Jerry Riopelle Tribute Concert at Talking Stick Resort Showroom, Scottsdale, AZ on May 6th, 2022

The show was divided into 2 parts with different local musicians performing one or two of Jerry’s songs with Jerry Band.  During the 2nd set, they brought out Jerry’s wife Naomi and they sang “Naomi’s Song”.  The setlist is below and indicates who performed which songs.  At the end of the show, everyone came out to sing “Loaded Like We Used To Do” and there must have been over 30 musicians and friends on stage.  People say that your life can’t be judged by what you own, but by the friends you have.  Let’s just say, Jerry was extremely loved and lived a life well lived.  We all hope you are “Walkin’ on Water” with the other greats.  We miss you, Jerry.


Photos by Fred Kuhlman, All Rights Reserved


Jerry Riopelle songs setlist:              Featured Artists
Set 1
Steppin’ Out                                       Chuck E. Baby
Livin’ The Life                                     Goodstein & Tara
Cryin’ Out Loud                                  Ryeland & Tara Austin
Real Fat                                               Walt Richardson
You And I                                            Chris Price
Blues On My Table                              Chris Price
Talk To Me                                           David Goodstein
100 Proof Hi Way Romance                Alfred Johnson
Candy Barr                                          Chuck E. Baby
Real Man                                             Steven Wolfson (The Motion)
Carry Me Away                                    The Motion (Steven & Paul)
Easy Driver                                           David Plenn

Set 2:
Follow Your Dreams                             David Plenn
Gulf of Mexico                                     David Goodstrein
Take a Chance                                      Llory McDonald
Naomi’s Song                                      Chuck E. Baby
Hey Old Friend                                    Tara Austin
River On The Run                                David Goodstein & Chris Price
Dangerous Strangers                           Michael Nitro & Tara Austin
Walkin on Water                                   Jesse Valenzuela & Mark Zubia
Red Ball Texas Flyer                              Ray Herndon
So Young                                              Goodstein/Llory/Tara/Plenn
Over and Over                                      Jerry Riopelle Video
Loaded Like We Used To Do                Everyone include Danny Zelisko

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