Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo  – Ribfest – Shakopee MN – July 29th 2022

Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo  with special guest Rick Derringer at Ribfest at Mystic lake 7/29/2022

Review and photos by Tommy Sommers

I have been a fan of Rick Derringer’s since I was a kid. All American Boy was one of the first albums I ever bought with my own money. I can thank my neighbor Sue Fricke for turning me on to him. He’s had a very interesting career starting out in a 60s pop band The McCoys that created the hit “Hang on Sloopy”. continuing with the Edgar Winter Group creating some of the biggest hits of the early 70s like “Frankenstein”. I was always someone who loved his solo work best. I never thought I would get the opportunity to see him play live, yet here he is opening for Pat Benatar and Neil Geraldo.

He sounded and looked great and played most of the hit songs that you would expect him to play in front of a crowd that may not be familiar. They sure knew the songs and sang along. It was a nice trip back in time to revisit some of those songs I had not heard in many years. I only wish he would have done some more material off his solo records. I know there were many fans there that would have appreciated it. If you are curious, look up the song “Uncomplicated” on Youtube.

Headliners Pat Benatar and Neil Geraldo are true American musical treasures. I don’t use that term lightly, but they’ve stood the test of time. They’ve continued to release new material that is consistently on par with everything they’ve done in the past. The show at Mystic Lake was a very special one for me. I’ve seen them more times than I can count, and I know at one point I felt they were locked in a box. I believe I even had read an interview with Pat Benatar at one point that said they have to play The Dirty dozen, or people walk away disappointed. I know for sure I heard her say that on stage once. They’re trapped at times by their success just like any other artist who has a lot of hits. People show up to see them and expect to hear those songs. I understand that but at the same time it was refreshing to see them break away from that.

I have mentioned it before in reviews that I prefer to hear deep cuts and alternative versions of popular songs versus the same set over and over. Well, I received that in abundance last night and the crowd seemed to really love it. They did some of their biggest hits but change them around. They performed “We Belong” with just a piano. They also turned some of their songs into acoustic numbers. I for one found it to be extremely fresh and exciting to hear. The highlight of the night for me though was hearing them perform a scorching version of “In the Heat of the Night” off their debut album. They even covered The Beatles song “Helter Skelter” Which was a surprise. They opened with a Sweet cover “No You Don’t” and I knew right there that this was going to be a great night.

There is so much more that I could say about this performance because it was that incredible. I would say it has to be one of the best shows I’ve seen so far this year. And I believe I’m at about 140 shows as of the writing of this. If you grew up during the time when Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo were at the height of their fame and you know their music, there’s no excuse for you not to see them live. If you are a younger fan or even someone who wants to have a career in music, you need to go see them play. Not only will you see incredible vocals on display from Pat Benatar you will also see one of the greatest guitar players in the history of music. Neil Giraldo just doesn’t get the accolades that he should in my opinion. if you trust me at all and my musical taste, please get out and support the two of them. It’s worth the ticket price and you’ll never walk away disappointed. I was so taken by what I saw I almost jumped into the car and drove to Council Bluffs the next day to catch the show, Then it occurred to me that I had to work.