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Friday, 22 August 2014 10:07

Richie Rocks SPAC…And Life Is Good!

By | News

SARATOGA SPRINGS— Andy Warhol once said: "In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15

minutes." In the case of Rich Ortiz, he received a little over 20 – each of which was deserved.

 

One of the most talented, hard-working and likable musicians to ever perform in this market received a

singular honor on Tuesday, August 19 at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC), when Rich Ortiz

played a well-received opening set for national acts REO Speedwagon and Chicago.

 

This one-man band (in addition to guitar, harmonica and vocals, Rich brings his own rhythm section to

the party, accompanying himself with bass pedals that he plays with his feet) is always much in demand.

 

Consider his upcoming week. We reached him by phone in Boston following Tuesday’s set, where he

opened for the same groups at the Blue Hill Pavilion the next day. Following that, a typical week for Rich,

with six gigs in the next eight days:

 

Sunday, 8/24- The Horseshoe Inn – 6 p.m.

 

Tuesday, 8/26- Late Night Happy Hour at Caroline St. Pub – 10 p.m.

 

Thursday, 8/28- Prime at Saratoga National – 6:30 p.m.

 

Friday, 8/29 – A double shift in Trio mode with band mates Chris Kyle and Chris Carey:

- Afternoon: Saratoga Racecourse Gazebo

- Evening: Druthers, 9 p.m.

 

Saturday 8/30 and Sunday 8/31— Final Stretch Festival (Adirondack Trust Drive-Through) – 7 p.m.

 

So, suffice to say that if you are one of the, perhaps, three people left in this market who has yet to see

this remarkable songwriter perform, you certainly will have several opportunities in the near future.

 

Back at SPAC, it was obvious that there were several in the audience who arrived early just to root Richie

on, as people were already clapping and cheering during the first notes of some of his popular originals

such as "Summer Song" and "Face of a Lion." But there were several people next to me in Section 5 who

had a "where has this guy been hiding?" look on their faces, so Rich apparently picked up a few new fans

this evening.

 

"I was oddly surprised how comfortable it was," Rich said. "I really felt right at home. It was relaxed and

natural. A little bit different with such a distance between me and the audience. Usually, people are

dancing two feet in front of me."

 

Rich had opened for REO Speedwagon before, at the Glens Falls Civic Center, but this time it wa

s Chicago’s management that reached out to him for the SPAC gig. "I came away with an appreciation for

all the logistics that go into a tour. It’s impressive. Normally I’m carrying my own gear everywhere. But

they made me feel very welcome."

 

It says here that this idea of a local act getting a boost in his or her hometown is the sort of thing that

should happen more often, and big kudos to Chicago’s management, as well as SPAC and presumably

LiveNation for making this event – and it was an event – happen. Rich would probably be the first to say

that there are several other deserving candidates in our talent-laden market for this kind of lift.

 

But I say: there is no one more deserving than Rich Ortiz for this honor. Truly, an idea whose time has

come.

 

Richie is a very easy person to root for. It has been my pleasure over the years to write about him, but

also, in a former life, to contract his services for various festivals and clubs. On one occasion, we traveled

to his gig in NYC and I had the pleasure to act as "Richie’s roadie," (with me on crutches in the snow –

another story for another time). Sometimes, we even just get to hang out and talk about fishing. In his

world, it may not always be a sunny day, but it always appears to be.

 

It’s nice when you can write a nice story about a nice thing happening to a nice person. When that

happens, life is good.

 

And life is very good today.

 

 

For more information, visit RichOrtiz.com

 

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