A night of authenticity, honor, heartfelt appreciation and admiration was surrounding the audience as Frankie Ballard performed a memorable show at the historic Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa on Saturday night. This was one of the stops on his National Tour.
Frankie Ballard felt a true sense of admiration performing at the last place his idols, Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J. P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson ever performed, the night before their infamous plane crash. He stood on stage and opened up to his fans about just how much the night meant to him.
A crowd of all ages, ranging from parents with grade school children to the elderly, was in attendance. Frankie brought a timeless and energetic show to all the fans in Iowa. Ballard, a uniquely inspirational artist with a 50’s soul; his slicked hair, insanely cool leopard jacket, and guitar in hand, showed up ready to dance. Ballard opened the show with his hit, “Young and Crazy” to the fans excitement.
Playing off the crowd’s excitement, Ballard played his feature film hit, “Drinky Drink” as the crowd belted out the song with the band.
It was evident that as Frankie Ballard stood on stage it was a night that meant more to him than a normal show. He spoke of how much his song, “Helluva Life” means to him and how much the night as a whole meant to him. His dad raised him on music, listening to songs from Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and “The Big Bopper.” He thought he was growing up in the 50’s until he was 10-years-old.
He was now playing on the same stage that those men performed their last show on in 1959 and Ballard spoke of how he would not be the artist today without their influence. He was in awe being able to perform on the same stage as his idols, knowing that he was performing as they were in what would be the last performance of their lives.
In true Frankie Ballard fashion, and a heart-felt tribute, Ballard dedicated his performance of “Helluva Night” to those three men; Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, “The Big Bopper,” and everyone else in the plane that died that night.
A classic mix of Johnny Cash and Buddy Holly with a touch of new county, Ballard’s unique taste was clearly adored by all those in attendance. Having had three consecutive number one hits in 2015, Ballard gave the audience some insight to his new album with his song, “Cigarette.” His new album, whenever it comes out, will showcase more of his rock and blues influences.
Based on the wide range of fans’ love of his song “Cigarette,” his new album is sure to be a hit. He continued showcasing songs from his new album, performing another fan and radio favorite, “It All Started with a Beer” as the audience screamed in excitement. The room echoed with the sounds of everyone singing along.
A true musician sure to make Richie Valens proud, Ballard did not disappoint as he drilled out some of his amazing guitar skills with wild guitar solos of, “La Grange” by ZZ Top, Bo Didley’s, “Who Do You Love?” and Keith Urban’s, “I Want to Love Somebody.”
Ballard’s set was a classic mix of his music throughout the years, most recent and brand new, but of course he paid tribute to some of his favorite artists with fantastic covers of, “Oh Donna” by Ritchie Valens and “A Boy Name Sue” by Johnny Cash.
Closing out the night, he once again talked about his gratitude for this specific venue and ended with Buddy Holly’s classic, “Oh Boy” while everyone danced and sang along. It was the perfect song to close out the night, and you could feel the gratitude and admiration that Frankie Ballard was radiating.
If you do not have one of his shows on your upcoming concert list, then you need to add it. It is surely a performance that gives you a wide variety of musical eras and brings a refreshing and energetic feeling to a country concert.
Frankie Ballard is an incredibly talented and unique artist. There is truly no one like him in country music, and that is his biggest appeal. His shows stay true to his personality, his background and his love of music as a whole.
February 3 may have been the day that the music died, but if Frankie Ballard has anything to say about it, he will be sure to keep the memories of those times very much alive. It is easy to say that Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and “The Big Bopper” would be proud of the footprint that Ballard is leaving on country music.