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Starship with Mickey Thomas and Bobby Kimball (of Toto) Concert Review – Wildhorse Saloon – Nashville, TN 5/22/09 (BLOG)

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    Written by Mike Arnold

    On Friday night, May 22nd, 2009, The Wildhorse Saloon in Nashville, TN brought one of the most talented bands still playing Classic Rock music today back to Nashville, Starship featuring Mickey Thomas. On this particular night, Starship had a special guest performing with them, Bobby Kimball of Toto, and one surprised guest that was later announced in the show. With all these artists playing the in the same set meant a night of nothing but classic rock hits.

    As the house lights went down and the band members took the stage, the loud, clear voice of Mickey Thomas belted over the PA speakers, “Hey Everybody!” The band immediately began the opening notes of “Find Your Way Back”. The band continued the set without hesitation or saying anything with, “No Way Out”.

    Mickey Thomas took time out to greet the fans in attendance saying, “Good to See ya!” Mickey continued to tell the Wildhorse crowd that tonight not only will we enjoy the music of Starship, but Bobby Kimball of Toto will also be joining them. He also informed us about a surprise guest joining them later.

    Mickey continued the concert by saying here’s one called “Jane”. Not only did the band nail the song, but Mickey hit every high note as if he recorded the song yesterday. Mickey Thomas has a voice that can hit more high notes than most anyone in the classic rock era and he definitely proved it that night.

    Mickey stopped long enough to tell the enthusiastic crowd “Thank You” as he introduced the next hit, “Sara”. Mickey introduced the beautiful backup singer, Stephanie Calvert, as they shared the vocals on the 1987 hit, “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now”.

    All through the night, Starship brought back memories to everyone there as they sang along, but what was coming next was something that sparked my memories. It was time for Stephanie to take the lead vocals for a while as Mickey Thomas said, “Stephanie will now take us way back.” I had no idea what was about to take place as Stephanie Calvert took us on a Jefferson Starship / Jefferson Airplane ride with a medley that included, “White Rabbit”, “Miracles”, “Count On Me”, and “Somebody To Love”. INCREDIBLE! While Stephanie performed the Jefferson Airplane songs, she took on the

    persona of Grace Slick. She looked at the crowd with wild eyes and authority. With her long, straight, dark hair, she resembled a young Grace Slick. At times I wondered if they were related. Not only did she capture our attention with her looks, she captivated the audience with her ability to get the crowd into the show as she worked the crowd from one side of the stage to the next.

    Mickey came back out front to introduce the special guest of the night, Bobby Kimball, formerly of Toto. Bobby came out and said hello to the crowd with a voice that was strong enough to sing without a mic. Bobby sat behind his electric piano and began to pound away the opening notes of his first Toto hit of the night. It was from first Toto album, “Hold The Line”. While Bobby sang the lead, Mickey and Stephanie provided the background vocals along with bassist, Jeff Adams and keyboardist, Phil Bennett.

    Bobby mentioned the next song won Toto multiple Grammy Awards in 1983, as they continued the set with “Africa”. Jeff Adams provided the lead vocals for the song while Bobby joined Mickey, Stephanie, and Phil Bennett with the background harmonies. Bobby then came out front to sing as guitarist Mark Abrahamian took the lead to rock the crowd on the hit song, “I’ll Supply The Love”.

    Bobby Kimball left the stage and Mickey Thomas came out from to introduce the surprise guest of the night, a Nashvillian resident, Tommy Tutone. When you hear his name, you immediately think of the one hit wonder he provided in the eighties, Jenny (867-5309). Tommy pleased the crowd with this hit and got the crowd singing on the chorus. Tommy Tutone stayed out front for another song, which I enjoyed even more, a Van Morrison tune, “Wild Nights”. Tommy sounded much like Van Morrison during this song and the crowd seemed to like it as much as I did. Excellent Job!

    Mickey came back out front to say goodbye to Tommy Tutone and to bring Bobby Kimball back to the stage. Bobby played three more Toto songs, an upbeat song, “Girl Goodbye”, a nice ballad, “I’ll Be Over You”, and the biggest hit that Toto ever had, “Rosanna”. At the end of the song, guitarist, Mark Abrahamian showed the Nashville crowd what he could do on the guitar. He wowed everyone there!

    The band said goodnight and left the stage. The yells of the Nashville, TN crowd brought the band back on stage for another number. When the band was set, there was a soundtrack clip that provided the first lines of the encore song as the band kicked into, “We Built This City”. Tommy Tutone and Bobby Kimball both came out and joined the band as the crowd sang along at The Wildhorse Saloon. The band once again said goodnight and left the stage. The crowd wanted more, but the show was over.

    This was one show I would love to see again. The band members were very friendly with us backstage and Stephanie Calvert joked around. I told Stephanie that she ages gracefully (referring to her being Grace Slick). She replied, “That’s why everyone calls me Grace!” When the show was over, Stephanie never left the stage until everyone that wanted an autograph and/or a picture were satisfied. That’s what you call being grateful to have a job like she does.

    I would give this show a Blast Scale rating of 9.0. There were a few changes I would put in the show. The show had all of the Jefferson Starship / Jefferson Airplane songs up front, then there were Toto songs, with a couple of songs from Tommy Tutone in the middle, then more Toto songs. I would had mixed up the set a little more. Instead of playing a medley of songs, I would have had the band play the entire songs. I would have also thrown in the Mickey Thomas signature song that got him noticed, the Elvin Bishop song, “Fooled Around And Fell In Love”.

    Starship Website:

    Written by Mike Arnold

    Concert Blast!


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      5 Replies

      1. This was a very suprising show. I didnt know what to expect without Grace Slick but I left the venue thinking “Grace who”? Mickey’s voice was in tip top shape and Stephanie was just awesome. I would love to see them again soon.

      2. Hi, good post. I have been woondering about this issue,so thanks for posting. I’ll definitely be coming back to your site.

      3. KonstantinMiller Jul 6th 2009

        I think I will try to recommend this post to my friends and family, cuz it’s really helpful.

      4. Just saw Mickey (wonderful voice) and Stephanie in Santa Cruz (night of 8/26/10). Mickey was, as always, in top form with vocal chords and vibration tuned to the music he has always been great at. Obviously there is a relationship with Stephanie, however I found her singing flat and the comments from the audience less than complementary. Mickey should stick to doing what he does best on his own and leave his feelings out of his musical decision-making. Stephanie will make this just another flat sounding cover-band with her attempts to change the notes of the music.