My Dream Job (well, one of them)

I honestly didn't know who Jim Irsay was, despite being a football fan. I'm more of a casual than an avid fan. But I read his little invite blurb and checked out his webpage and was very intrigued
                                        The Jim Irsay Collection

Jim Irsay, owner & CEO of the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts - Colts Owner Jim Irsay to display world-renowned artifact collection of iconic artifacts from rock music, American history, and pop culture and perform a classic rock show in San Francisco  –  for one night only at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium.

The collection is highlighted by musical instruments and items owned and used by some of the greatest artists in music history, including Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Prince, Eric Clapton, Elton John, The Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia, Les Paul, Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour, The Doors’ Jim Morrison, and other music icons, as well as autographed photos, handwritten lyrics, and other historical music memorabilia. Outside of music, the collection includes signed Presidential artifacts, important original documents from American history like an original ‘Wanted’ poster for John Wilkes Booth, Jackie Robinson’s bat, Paul McCartney's original “Hey Jude” handwritten studio lyrics, and other historical relics.

Standing in front of Hunter S Thompsons Car The ‘Red Shark’!
with Simma Lieberman


If you don't know, I'm a rock and blues girl

and it's free and open to the public…

To be honest, I have a pretty jaded view of football owners, I see them as bloated selfish self-serving autocrats. But what I saw that night was nothing like this. 

At the press conference, I saw a commanding assured but humble and sick man. He has chronic pain which led to an opiate addiction which led to him wanting to give back to others caught in the grip of addiction. He often sat during the show.

At one point he was asked why he didn't charge at least $10, and he responded that he's a billionaire a few times over, why would he need to charge money? He would rather make an effort to brighten the night of people who need it most. He describes it as a spiritual mission involving a higher power expressed as a bigger love.               

And if that wasn't enough, he's making two “sizeable gifts” to two SF non-profits Ohloff Recovery Programs and Project Night Night that gives homeless children objects of comfort, like blankets and books

Irsay only sang a few songs, letting the professionals take lead. Buddy Guy put me in Awe, Ann Wilson almost brought me to tears with a tribute to her sister, but when he sang he was good! His voice was a gravely mix of  Johnny Cash and Tom Waits. Kenny Wayne Shepard was the front man and he killed it, pouring his heart out through his guitar.

When Irsay did sing, he always prefaced it with a story of rock and roll addiction, expressing sadness and a sense of lost potential, and ending with a call to life. He shared that he was an addict himself, and so understood how hard addiction was, but that we must fight for our lives and honestly live, then the band would break into a raucous joyful series of rock anthems. I felt all the feels. It was epic
                            Here is my attempt at capturing the night. 
                        Kenny Aranoff

I first clocked the drummer. He was flawless, all night, which was 3 hours! I later learned he's played with the best.


                        Jim Irsay

The man of the hour. He started us off and kept interjecting and singing between all the talent, like a punctuation to the night.

                        Nancy Wilson

Man, I was waiting for her. And she didn't disappoint. Her voice is still so full! She sang a tribute to her sister that recently passed away, and choked me up, and here she is banging out The Immigrant Song by Led Zeppelin! Hitting all the notes.

                         Buddy Guy

I felt so honored to hear Buddy Guy. A living legend. He played us some great blues, then got playful and played around riffing off the other musicians.


                        Buddy Guy with Billy Branch

I love me some harmonica, Billy Branch played throughout the concert, but he was highlighted when Buddy Guy played. Maybe because the blues is a much simpler sound, and the harmonica is an integral part. Here they are gettin' down.




























Kenny Wayne Shepard

At first, I thought 'who is this kid with all these rock legends' I mean I'd heard his name before but that was about it. But man, the rock legends sang his praises on stage and now I do too! He put his heart into the guitar. He made it cry and sing. You can tell it's good cuz he's got the stank face.


                        Kenny Wayne Shepard again

He dominated the show. There was a great light and video show as well. Here he is getting lost in the lights, and the sound, and the heart, and the feeling.

                            I hope you liked my little recap.