Donna Simms has always loved music, especially live music. "It has moved me from an early age. In grade school I took piano lessons, but when your parents and sibling ask you not to practice, you begin to realize you are not going to be the next Jerry Lee Lewis. I never considered singing. Should you ever accompany me on a road trip, you'll know why. Thus, my lack of talent leaves me to greatly appreciate the gifts of others. These are my Five Favorite Live Performers and Concerts."
Jerry Garcia Band
Many people associate Jerry Garcia with the Grateful Dead, a legendary rock 'n' roll band. However, put Garcia on guitar and vocals, John Kahn on bass, Melvin Seals on the Hammond B3 organ, with Jaclyn LaBranch and Gloria Jones on backup vocals, and you had the Jerry Garcia Band, an outstanding musical experience, like no other, in rock, folk, jazz, blues, country, rhythm & blues, gospel or soul.
September 1989: Hoffman Estates, Ill.—Poplar Creek Music Theater.
The Allman Brothers Band
The Allman Brothers Band has been called, among other things, "the principal architects of Southern Rock" and "the best damn rock and roll band this country has produced" in 1971 Rolling Stone magazine. Live performances showcase the band's unique mix of jazz, classical, blues and hard rock.... and their live shows most certainly do rock 'n' rock hard.
September 1995: St. Louis, Mo., River Port Amphitheater.
Bruce Hornsby is a virtuoso pianist, as well as an accordion player and distinguished songwriter. I first saw Hornsby in 1988 touring with the Grateful Dead. I thought, "An accordion player? Come on." Needless to say, after that opening set I was, and remain, a solid Bruce fan. Influenced by classical, jazz, bluegrass, folk, Motown, rock, blues and jam band styles, his live shows are spontaneous, creative and a real good time.
April 1996: St. Louis, Mo., Mississippi Nights.
Chuck Berry is an immensely influential figure and pioneer of rock 'n' roll music. He is a great songwriter, guitarist and performer. As John Lennon said, "If you tried to give rock 'n' roll another name, you might call it 'Chuck Berry.'" Berry was among the first musicians to be inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame, on its opening in 1986.
October 1996: St. Louis, Mo.—Blueberry Hill, on his 70th birthday, with legendary bluesmen Johnny Johnson and Benny Smith .
Bonnie Raitt is a guitar virtuoso, an esteemed title not bestowed upon any other woman in the history of modern rock or rhythm & blues. Her slide guitar style is unconventional, using a middle finger, but very effective in producing that smooth, sexy sound. While attending Radcliffe College in the 1960s, she became friendly with Dick Waterman, much to the chagrin of her parents who did not expect their freshman daughter to be running around with a 65-year-old blues man. Through Waterman, Raitt became friends with Howlin' Wolf, Sippie Wallace and Mississippi Fred McDowell. A reporter from Newsweek magazine saw her perform in 1970 as the opening act for McDowell and as they say, "the rest is history."
August 2006: Ketchum—River Run; with Keb' Mo and Carole King.