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
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.
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.
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
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
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