Ronnie and Kid Rock Wow Toronto
August 25, 2008
On the 12th of an 18 song set, Kid Rock took the audience to a reverent state as he sang “Only God Knows Why” and paid homage to the troops in Iraq. The next song was a tribute to Toronto. The crowd roared as he brought on stage their local legend, The Hawk. Applause was a mix both for Ronnie Hawkins and the Kid’s knowledge of the history of music in Toronto.
Together they sang “Who Do You Love” with a compilation of “Bo Diddley.” Kid Rock played guitar and let Mr. Hawkins hold the stage for almost seven minutes.
Earlier in the day, Ronnie interviewed with CHUM AM for a complete hour of Hawkins music, conversation, and laughter. When asked about the evening performance he was hesitant to leak the secret. Yet, he did say “That Kid Rock is a lot smarter than he looks.” …laughter trickled between both the AM and FM recording rooms.
Later in the day, Ronnie ran through the song three times during a sound check without Kid. But when the two artists got on stage, it was nothing like practiced. It was pure improve and talent, and better than ever! Ronnie led the boys (and female drummer and back-up singers) just the way he did with The Band in “The Last Waltz”. He referred to Kids band by saying, “Those were some talented musicians. That added a new funk to the beat.”
Backstage Ronnie posed for multiple photos with crew and musicians. One worker for the venue stated, “We usually have strippers back stage. This was much more educational.”
As guests left the performance, they were once again reminded of the historic moment. Ronnie Hawkins was at each exit. He was bigger than life on flanking billboards. As spokesperson for Cambria, The legend was rocking with the slogan “Who Do You Love?.”
Ronnie Hawkins final word, “This is the big time, boys! The Big Time.”
Rompin’ Ronnie rocks Stratford
Party in the park draws thousands
By Paul Cluff, Stratford Beacon Herald Staff
A sea of Civic Holiday music fans descended on Lower Queen’s Park yesterday for classic cars and classic rock ’n’ roll.
Rompin’ Ronnie Hawkins entertained thousands of supporters with a show that proved age is no object in the music world.
The 73-year-old legend showed he can still work the magic on stage, and his mischievous nature, with shout outs to fine women all night long, proved he is still freewheeling.
“Can you imagine that this would be so fabulous?” MC Dave Marsden told The Beacon Herald backstage.
Thousands of fans were thinking the same.
The Hawk entered the park with a police escort in a baby blue Cadillac and performed in a black suit and dark sunglasses that clearly stood out next to his white hair and white beard. “Ruby, Ruby” and “Lodi” were among his early song selections before “Mary Lou,” the song that made him a teenage heartthrob all those years ago. Son Robin Hawkins got into the act with a few of his own originals, and daughter Leah Hawkins also showed off her vocal talents.
Hawkins was born in Arkansas but adopted Canada as his home after a performance at the Grange in Hamilton in 1958. He has called Canada home ever since.
A performer and mentor known for his encouragement of musicians, Mr. Hawkins is known as much for being a mentor as a musician. Bandmates often changed. Among them was Stratford native Richard Manuel. They started as the Hawks, earned their way into the role of backup band for Bob Dylan and then evolved into The Band. Over the years, Mr. Hawkins worked with numerous talents on stage, performing for former U.S. president Bill Clinton, and off stage championed causes, once hosting John Lennon and Yoko Ono at a peace festival.
Warming up the stage in the afternoon and early evening at Lower Queen’s Park were former members of the Revols, a popular Stratford and area band in the 1950s and ’60s.
P.W. Pauley and Plum Loco, featuring former Revol John Till, performed classics like “Cripple Creek” and “Great Balls of Fire.”
Next up was Reload with former Revols Garth Picot and Doug Rhodes. They performed their versions of “Mustang Sally” and “The Shape I’m In,” among many others.