Steve Wilson

According to English language experts, the phrase “Third time the charm” dates back to the 1800s in Old Britain when the number 3 was thought to be fortuitous, and whenever it appeared at a significant time in a person’s life, it would bring good fortune. In time it became common when a third attempt at the same endeavor was eminent; later the Brits changed the word “charm” to “lucky,” dropped the word “the,” and today “third time lucky” is the more common usage.

My favorite origin story is that if the hangman failed in the third attempt to properly execute his task to execute his client, then the condemned was freed with a sore neck and a second chance. Thus, endeth the etymological lesson. Now to my situation.

And what might that situation be, you ask? (And if you didn’t ask and want to keep reading something, then I suggest get a good book because the remaining words of this column will bore you…just sayin’.) In spring of 2019, I became aware that down in a vineyard venue just east of Paso Robles was one of the Fab Four, one of the Liverpool Lads, one of a quartet that brought madness to America via television on Feb. 4, 1964, when the Beatles appeared on the popular Ed Sullivan Show. Beatlemania was born.

Along with about 10 friends huddled on a neighbor’s floor in front of their black-and-white set, and for the first time saw the band perform, the band who had brought a new era to rock-and-roll. I could go on about how in Greenfield in those years, a small agricultural town where one was more likely to hear country western tunes or Mexican ballads or songs from Ticino, there sprung up inside me and my contemporaries a thirst for the new music of the day.

We took sides on the Beach Boys vs. Beatles War, an ongoing struggle that eventually brought in allies Jan and Dean and the Rolling Stones. And with the Stones came an onrush of music from the other side of the Pond (in what came to be called The British Invasion) and that in turn led to a plethora of hitherto unknown American bands finally getting some attention. But I digress.

To get back on track, with a few quick asides, such as this: In 2015, I appeared on the “Late Show with David Letterman,” and prior to taping, I was in the same Green Room in the Ed Sullivan Theatre in Manhattan that the Beatles were in way back in 1964; so there.

OK, in spring of 2019, I purchased a ticket to see Ringo Starr and his All-Starr Band in Paso in August or September; I forget the date because I had to sell the ticket. After my purchase I got the opportunity to work at The Western Stage at Hartnell College, I played “Slim” in “Of Mice and Men: A Musical Drama” (yes, with two months of intensive work with professionals I can sing and dance) and performance dates conflicted with the concert.

That was a bummer as I have been determined for years to see one of the two remaining Beatles live before I kicked the proverbial bucket. Never able to afford concerts back in the ’60s and when so many I knew were off to venues from San Francisco to Santa Barbara, I did finally see the Stones at the Hollywood Bowl and the Beach Boys in San Bernardino in my later years, and theirs.

And last year, lo and behold, Sir Richard was coming to Paso again! Now, here I would interject that if you are reading this and are confused about my using Ringo Starr and Sir Richard interchangeably, well, then you are very young and are unaware that the British monarchy bestowed knighthood on Sir Richard Starkey MBE (Most Excellent Order of the British Empire; I had to look that up).

So, I once again saved up my pennies and nickels and purchased a ticket for that show. It could not have been a week before the event that word came out that Ringo had Covid and was cancelling the last three shows of the tour. Curses, foiled again! After which followed many emails and eventually conversations with a well-known ticket sales outlet, I finally got a refund of my money and a promise of better treatment should I ever need their services in future. That turned out to not be an empty promise.

At that time, I frankly thought that at 82 years of age the Lad from Liverpool was not going to tour again, and if he did then small venues like Paso would not be on his list, and as I am not a big fan of concerts, I doubted I would ever use their service again. But, may the gods of rock and roll be praised, I have.

About two weeks ago an email appeared in my inbox from Vina Robles Amphitheater, the concert venue east of Paso Robles. Upon opening it, I was informed that for the third time Ringo Starr and his All-Starr Band would appear in June and the ticket sales company had a special link I should use, they gave me a code. I had set the refund money just in case of such an eventuality so I used it. And a good deal it was.

At the same cost of my previous ticket, I got a seat, one of a two-seat aisle, one row behind the two seats comprising the front row; the stage only a few feet away. The distance between my seat and the one in front of me is 36 inches. I checked two days after I made my purchase when general public sales opened and without going into too much detail, those two seats cost more than mine to the tune of $15 and inch.

Take care. Peace.

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King City and Greenfield columnist Steve Wilson may be reached at [email protected].


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