I'm Steve Ludwig (which would make sense, being that's the name that follows the title of this blog...)
I'm so happy to be included in the Village Connection Radio family.
When Evan Ginzburg (host of The Evan Ginzburg Show, here at Village Connection Radio) presented to Jim Savalli the possibility of my having a show here at Long Island's #1 Internet Radio Station, and Jim was totally receptive to the idea, I was honored.
Of course, that means I already owe two people (Evan & Jim), and I've only just begun my first blog!
Anyhow, I'm a bona fide pop culture fan, and a bona fide bona fide music fan.
One of the shows I'm lucky enough to host here at Village Connection is The Beatles Hour with Steve Ludwig (each new show premieres Sunday mornings at 9 AM est).
So I suppose it's only appropriate that my first blog would be about literally touching a Beatle.
We Beatles fans are a unique bunch, I'll be the first to proudly admit. We pretty much go through life asking, Yeah, but what's that got to do with the Beatles?
On May 13, 1998, Ringo Starr taped an episode of VH1's Storytellers, a TV show that presented musicians performing their best-known songs, along with a neat backstory explaining each song.
Well, a couple of weeks before the taping, word got out that the Super Starr would be performing a warm-up show the night before (May 12) at the iconic (but, unfortunately, since closed) club, The Bottom Line, at West 4th St., NYC.
Say no more...Beatles peoples unite!!
The Bottom Line was an intimate music club that sat, tops, around 400 people. The possibility of seeing a Beatle that up close and personal was too good to be true. But true it was!
I'd seen Ringo perform five times before this, beginning in 1989, in various incarnations of his All-Starr Band. But to see him like this?
My friend Paul (no, not McCartney), was able to score us a couple of the sold-out show's tickets through a ticket broker. (I know why they're called "brokers;" the price of getting scalped broke me, indeed!)
May 12, 1998...
Seating at the Bottom Line was on a first-come, first-served basis. To give you an idea how early Paul and I got on line that day, we found ourselves sitting at one of the front tables (which were set up perpendicular to the stage).
At about 7:10 PM, the lights went down.
"Ladies and gentleman, Ringo Starr and the Roundheads."
The Roundheads consisted of, among others, Joe Walsh, Mark Hudson (Ringo's producer and a fine musician in his own right), and Simon Kirke (drummer for Bad Company and, before that, Free.)
As Ringo bounded on to the stage, not ten feet from us, Paul and I just looked at each other. We couldn't speak; we just smiled. RINGO!!
I mentioned earlier that I had seen Ringo prior to this, but this time was different; it was surreal. I remember thinking, I'm not supposed to be this close to a Beatle!
For the 75-minute set, those 400 of us in that club all lived in a yellow submarine, Captain Starr at the helm. We were all octopi in Ringo's garden!
As the show ended, and Ringo took his final Beatle Bow, an announcement was made for all patrons to please exit the club, as a new show was scheduled for 10:30 that night (a completely different performer, not Ringo; jazz-pop artist, Pete Balasco), and those ticket-holders were due to enter the club at 9:00 PM.
I stood up to leave. "Wow, great show, huh, Paul?"
Paul had an incredulous look on his face. "Where ya goin'?"
"We gotta leave so they can set up Belasco's show."
"Not yet. We're goin' to the bar." Paul had a plan.
The bar at the Bottom Line was at the side of the club. The only way for performers to get in and out of the club was through the front door; thus, they had to pass the bar to get out.
Hey...OK, yeah, I saw where Paul was goin' with this.
We bellied up to the bar.
Quite a few fellow Beatlemaniacs had the same idea; the bar was quite crowded.
Paul and I got ourselves in prime position for Ringo's exit.
Of course, after what happened to John Lennon in December 1980, no one in his or her right mind would make any dumb, quick movements to frighten the ever-cautious remaining Beatles. I simply wanted to be closer to the man who played the Ludwig drums.
Soon, a few people started: "Hey, Ringo! Ringo!"
I turned around from the bar, and I was face-to-face with Joe Walsh.
I was dumbfounded.
I finally thought of something clever to say.
"Hey," he replied, and then he grabbed my hand. Very cool.
I knew Ringo couldn't be far behind.
The back of my Beatle bubblegum card lists Ringo at 5'7" tall.
Actually, that measurement must have been made when Ringo had on his Cuban-heeled Beatle boots, because all I saw moving very quickly in the direction of the bar was the top of a very short Beatle's head.
All his guys had him surrounded quite securely, hustling him toward the front door.
I could hear Ringo saying, in his Liverpudlian accent, "Hello, Hello, Hello, Hello."
I knew I'd never get this chance again.
I timed it perfectly. Just as Ringo whisked by, I gave him two gentle pats on his back.
I touched Ringo Starr!
My right hand touched the back of the man who drummed on "Hey Jude."
Before I knew it, they had Ringo out the front door, and he and his entourage were gone.
But I had touched a Beatle...
Someday, I might even wash my hand.