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Ronnie Lane - Inspiring Rocker
by Joel Selvin
San Francisco Chronicle; San Francisco, Calif.; Jun 20, 1987

Traveling around the country when he can barely walk, playing his music one more time on nightclub stages, Ronnie Lane is a man living with - not dying from - multiple sclerosis.

The 41-year-old former Small Faces bassist, who appeared Thursday at Wolfgang's, was the central force behind the 1983 ARMS tour with Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page and others that raised money for MS research.

Currently living in Houston, where he moved after the tour hoping to establish a U.S. wing to the ARMS organization (although he has since dissociated himself), Lane appeared with a fine, young Texas quartet, the Tremors, and saxophonist Bobby Keys, who is not only a veteran of tours with Joe Cocker and the Rolling Stones, but played in the original Alan Freed rock and roll orchestra.

Lane had to be carried on and off stage and sang seated on a stool, but this was no pitiful display. He sang strongly, running through an hour's worth of new songs, a few old Faces tunes and a couple of covers, including, with no apparent sense of irony, "Shakin' All Over."

Not many people attended the show, but Lane was never a well-known figure. He wrote and sang many of the Faces staples but was overshadowed by colleagues Rod Stewart and Ron Wood. His fruitful 1977 collaboration with Pete Townshend, "Rough Mix," never got its due acclaim and, in fact, Lane, regardless of the peer respect he enjoyed, never really got much of a spotlight until the ARMS tour, where he rolled onstage in a wheelchair to close the show singing "Goodnight Irene."

But crowds were practically beside the point. It must have been a major personal victory for Lane to merely mount this tour, and the broad grin he wore throughout his stint onstage spoke volumes about his joy at the accomplishment.

Hot Tickets

Dates have been nailed down for two big shows break coming up - Madonna on July 20 at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, and Bob Dylan with the Grateful Dead on July 24 at the Oakland Coliseum Stadium.

Actually, the Dylan-Dead show slipped quietly into the BASS system Wednesday and word-of-mouth on the extraordinary Dead grapevine already has tickets selling at a steady clip. The two acts will perform both separately and together in one of a series of joint appearances around the country this summer.

Landing Shoreline as a site for the Bay Area appearance by Madonna, who is playing stadiums virtually everywhere else in the country, qualifies as something of a feather in the cap for the Bill Graham outfit, which owns the Mountain View facility.

On the Town

Sixties rock instrumentalists the Ventures ("Walk Don't Run") give free concerts today and tomorrow at Crissy Field, as part of the O'Neill/Jolt Cola Classic, a bigtime windsurfing competition.

 


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