On this Saturday evening, the Detroit crowd saw the Michigan native bring some friends to help support a local charity.
Calling Battle Creek, Michigan his hometown, Frankie Ballard takes a night off from his regularly scheduled tour to support and perform with friends at the first annual Gigs For Digs charity event.
The event is hosted by Humble Design, a Detroit company that provides home furnishings for homeless. They assist families coming out of homeless shelters and abuse shelters with the process of rebuilding their home lives.
The curtain rises for the musical part of the show, Frankie greets the crowd with his latest hit “Young & Crazy.” This is his third career #1 song from his album, Sunshine and Whiskey (2014), on Warner Brothers Records. It’s about living life as full as you can so that you can share your life stories when you get older.
As the crowd warms up, the tables and chairs in front of the stage are moved back and replaced with rows of singing and dancing bodies. Frankie continues on with songs from Sunshine & Whiskey, along with his debut album, Frankie Ballard (2011), released by Reprise Records. Songs include his other two previous number one singles, “Helluva Life” and “Sunshine & Whiskey.”
Frankie takes a moment to introduce the band. The band consists of Eddie Robinson on lead guitar and vocals, Ross Webb on drums, Billy Justinean on keyboards and vocals, and Robbie Harrington on bass and vocals.
After introducing the band, he talks about his days growing up in western Michigan and playing the clubs while perfecting his musical skills and stage presence. He did this with his best friend and right hand man, Eddie. He then proceeds to jump behind the drum kit on stage and strike up a beat, while Eddie showed off his vocal skills by entertaining the crowd with his version of “One Headlight” by the Wallflowers.
As Frankie emerges from the drum set , he introduces some friends he met while on tour in 2011 with Detroit’s own Bob Seger, The Motor City Horns. With them behind him, Frankie starts with Bob’s song “Katmandu” and followed with “Turn The Page.”
Next, Frankie reintroduces Billy who sang Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition” with a little help from the horn section.
The show continues with Frankie singing his favorite Bob Seger song, “Rock And Roll Never Forgets,” and concludes with “Old Time Rock And Roll.”
With no barricade between the floor and stage, there is an obvious interaction with the crowd as they high-five and shake hands with Frankie throughout the performance. For those who were in attendance for the charity part of the evening and didn’t before know Frankie Ballard or his music, they are converts by the end of evening.