Mediagraphy - Discography - Trackography - Videography - Gigography - Biography - Chronology

01 September 2010

Ray Charles Is In Town - Chronology 1988

Photo by Thomas Ammerpohl.
At unidentified venue in U.S., c. 1988.

Photo by Jean-Paul Guilloteau.
Unidentified gigs, c. 1988.
Publicity shoot... with tour bus. 

1 - 2 January
Harrah's Lake Tahoe, Stateline NV.

28 January 1988
 Deutschlandhalle in Berlin, with the Hannover Symphony Orchestra (also cf.comments to this page).

31 January 1988
CCH Saal 1, Hamburg.
Strange phrasing: "Musicians and Orchestra". The musicians may refer to Ray's own rhythm section. 

February 1988

When Ray Charles joined the Roanoke Symphony and a mostly black local chorus for a production of Quincy Jones Black Requiem in February 1988, the concert sold out the Salem Civic Center and probably attracted more blacks - about half the 4,000-plus audience - than any event in the orchestra's history. "No one could have asked for more," said Melody Stovall, director of the Harrison Museum.
Concert in Oklahoma City (bootlegged). See this.

4 February 1988
Kuppelsaal, with Philharmonische Orchester, Hannover; review here.

19 February 1988
With Dallas Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Eduardo Mata, at Music Hall, Fair Park, Dallas; tickets $12-$25.

20 February 1988
Los Angeles.

4 March 1988
In a press conference at his arrival in Sydney (reported by AAP, quoted from The Advertiser of March 5), Ray said:
"'South Africa is exactly the same as is happening here'[...] I got an awful lot of flak from people who thought I shouldn't have gone. We were invited by the very people our critics said were the reason we shouldn't have gone, but I don't feel it is my right to go to countries and start talking about how they ought to start handling their situations.'
He said he had not really thought about the plight of Aborigines but, if they asked, he would return to play for them just as he had responded to an invitation from the South African blacks. 'I just go to countries to play my music. All I am trying to do is just make people happy,' said Charles, 57, rocking back on his chair."

5 March 1988
On Willie Nelson, Texas Style (air date; the show was taped in February), see this.

6 March 1988
Leeuwin Winery, in Margeret River (West Australia) with The West Australian Symphony Orchestra (Or 7 March; later simulcast on tv and radio). See this.

10 March 1988
Tucson AZ.

16 March 1988
Constitution Hall, Washington DC.

?21 March 1988
Lausanne? CH.

4 to 11 April 1988
Touring Japan.

28 April 1988
With the Pacific Symphony at the Orange County Performing Arts Center in Costa Mesa.
LA Times staff writer Mike Boehm reported on April 30, 1988:
"Sometimes, to make the game more interesting against a lesser opponent, a chess master will take a valuable piece or two off the board and play with a limited arsenal.
Ray Charles, reputed to play a mean game of chess, performs under that sort of limitation when he fronts a symphony orchestra rather than his own musicians, as he did Thursday night in a pops concert with the Pacific Symphony at the Orange County Performing Arts Center in Costa Mesa. He brought no Raeletts with him, so there was no chance for soul-stirring call-and-response singing. There was no horn-driven band to help Charles stomp through such rough-and-tumble staples of his songbook as “I Got a Woman,” “What’d I Say” and “Unchain My Heart.”
No castles, no queen–no chance for the lightning moves or the unfettered soul-shouting style that Charles virtually invented more than 30 years ago. Just a large army of strings, brass and woodwinds forcing a more measured, circumspect approach.
Few performers could sacrifice such a cornerstone of their greatness, such a swath of their most memorable material, and still come up with a winning show. But Charles did just that, proving along the way that soul can manifest itself in subdued hues as well as splashier, swaggering tones.
Most of the concert, just under an hour long, was an affecting lament, full of unforced sadness and convincing pain expressed with a number of thrilling vocal inventions. Whether Charles sobbed in a low register or rose to a keening falsetto, the Pacific Symphony, led by the singer's own conductor, Sid Feller, generally underscored his emotions with sensitivity and dignified restraint.
"Georgia on My Mind," a song that Charles has sung thousands of times since 1960, came across with the immediacy and eloquence of a fine tragic soliloquy. Playing a long sigh of a piano roll while uttering a heartsick interjection--"God's sake, Georgia"--Charles reached for spontaneity where others might be content to polish a chestnut.
"If You Go Away" was a deep dirge, with Charles clenching and twisting his voice to convey an encompassing, obsessive fear of loss. "Eleanor Rigby" offered Charles' imaginative reworking of the Beatles standard. While the Beatles' version has an omniscient narrator observing from a distance, Charles, as in his 1968 recording of the song, stepped out of the third person and into the shoes of Father McKenzie, who observes Eleanor's lonely life and death. With half-sung, half-spoken phrasing, he turned the priest into a gospel preacher whose sermon expressed anguish over "all the lonely people" rather than pretend to pose any theological answer. Charles, in another inspired stroke, interjected a dialogue in which the anguished priest turns to him for an answer: " 'Brother Ray,' he said, 'can you tell me, son, where they all belong?' "
Charles ended the concert on more of an upbeat, with a country song that got the audience clapping along, a soulful rendition of "America the Beautiful" and, backed only by the three-man rhythm section he had brought with him, some bawdy blues that harkened back to the lean style he pursued in the '50s before branching out frequently into lushly orchestrated pop.
There were some obstacles to overcome--microphone troubles that sabotaged the opening number, occasional chestiness in Charles' voice and some overbearing symphonic flourishes in the few upbeat songs. But they were overcome, and the result was a richly emotive performance worthy of the grandmaster that Charles is."

Photos by Don Tormey, LA Times.

29 April 1988

With the Pacific Symphony at the Orange County Performing Arts Center in Costa Mesa CA. Reviewhere.

30 April 1988
Wang Center, Boston MA; with Four Tops, Ben Vereen, Ashford and Simpson (benefit for the Judge Baker Children's Center).

11 May 1988
Performing at Irving Berlin's 100th Birthday Tribute Concert (air date 27 May).

14 and 15 May 1988
Performing in A Fool For You, a concert dansant with the New York City Ballet (aired on 15 May 1989). See this.

The last of these 3 shots was probably taken at a rehearsal. Photos by Paul Kolnik.

30 May - 31 May 1988
Double concerts at Crazy Horse Saloon & Steak House in Santa Ana CA.

1 June 1988
El Camino College's Celebrity Pops Series, at Marsee Auditorium on the Torrance campus, Lawndale CA.

5 June 1988
The Mountain Winery, Paul Masson Vineyards, Saratoga CA; co-billed with Robert Cray ("If a genius is a person who sees or hears or feels something that we all do, but is able to express it and give it a tangible form that makes us realize that we see or hear or feel it, Charles is just that. And he did just that").

9 June 1988
Community Auditorium, Thunder Bay ON.

10 June 1988
Manitoba Centennial Concert Hall, Winnipeg MB.

11 June 1988
Centennial Auditorium, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan SK. Photo here.

12 to 13 June 1988
Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium, Calgary AB.

14 June 1988
Century Plaza Hotel, Los Angeles CA.

16 June 1988
San Joaquin County Fairgrounds, Stockton CA.

17 June 1988
Eldorado Hotel, Reno NV.

18 June 1988
Wilson Theatre, Fresno CA ("a brilliant, virtuoso performance").

19 June 1988
Closing act at Playboy Jazz Festival,at the Hollywood Bowl, Hollywood CA; "brought the Hollywood Bowl sell-out crowd to their feet". Co-billed with Spyro Gyra, Dizzy Gillespie, Bobby McFerrin). Photo here.

Photo by Glenn Waggner (Getty). 
Photo  by Mark Gostin.

20 June 1988
Ft. In Good Morning America. See this.
Flying to Europe.

Two photos above: a symphony concert in Braunschweig, Germany (unknown date). The second photo was made by Thomas Ammerpohl.

22 June 1988
Palais des Sports, Caen.

23 June 1988
La Défense Puteaux, Centre Commercial les 4 Temps, Paris.

Photo by Guy Bertrand (Getty), taken in Paris in 1988, prob. at this concert.

24 June 1988
Futuroscope Théâtre Alphanumerique, Forêt de Chasseneuil.

26 June 1988
Théâtre Municipal, Calais.

28 June 1988
Glasgow International Jazz Festival; Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre, Glasgow ("he raised the occasional goosebump with his careworn voice [...]. His legs sought always to escape from their physical confines"; read review here).

29 June 1988
Royal Festival Hall, London.

30 June 1988
Palais des Sports, Porte de Versailles, Paris. More photos here.

1 July 1988
Palais du Prado, Marseille.

3 July 1988
Pala Trussardi, Milan.

4 July 1988
Performs in Detroit "for a television special" (according to an article in the Detroit Free Press of this day; probably incorrect) .

5 July 1988
Palais de la Musique et des Congrès, Strasbourg.

6 July 1988
Le Grand Angle, Voiron.

7 July 1988
Festival de Jazz, Sisteron.

8 July 1988
Theâtre de la Mer, Sète.

10 July 1988

Double concert at North Sea Jazz Festival, Congresgebouw, The Hague.

Photos by Frans Schellekens/Getty.
Photo: ANP.
Photo: Henk Koster.

12 July 1988
Teatro Greco, Taormina.

13 July 1988
Piazza Santuario, San Vito Lo Capo d'Orlando.

14 July 1988
Palasport, Messina.

16 July 1988
Géant Casino, Saint-Tropez.
Collection D. Solomon.

17 July 1988
Estoril Casino just outside Lisbon - canceled after plane developed mechanical problems in Toulon. Read this, this, or this.

18 July 1988
Parc des Sports d'Aguiléra, Biarritz.

20 - 21 July 1988
Paléo Festival, Nyon. Read review here.

22 July 1988
Interviewed in Lisbon.
Photo by Acacio Franco.
Diveramento Park, Torre Pedrera.

23 July 1988
Vallo di Città di Nimes, Verona.

24 July 1988
Piazza Duomo, Parma.

25 July 1988
Scalinata del Palazzo della Civiltà del Lavoro, Roma.

26 July 1988
 Stadio Adriatico, Pescara.

27 July 1988
Palazetto dello Sport Mario Argento, Napoli.

28 July 1988
Piazza Indipendenza, Reggio di Calabria.

29 July 1988
La Perciata, Siracusa.

30 July 1988
Piazza Politeama, Palermo. See this.

31 July 1988
Campo Sportivo, Vieste.

1 August 1988
Flying back to U.S.

4 August 1988
Rare double bill with Roy Orbison at Riverbend Music Center, Cincinatti OH (it was Orbison's 4th-before-last concert, 3 months before he died).

5 August 1988
Summer in the City Festival at Heinz Hall, Pittsburgh PA, with Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (crowd of 1,700; "finally he found a sequence of notes he wasted and remarked. 'That's three weeks of work on an album'"; read review here).

6 August 1988
Cigna Insurance Company, Bloomfield CT.
Filene Center at Wolf Trap, Vienna VA.

Wolf Trap's Filene Center.

7 August 1988
Canfield Casino, Saratoga Springs NY.

8 August 1988
New York, kick-off a 28-stop national tour, sponsored by California Raisins.
Wolf Trap Farm Park, Vienna.

11 August 1988
State Theatre, Minneapolis MN ("the quintessence of soul singing").
Marquee, from another concert at this theatre.

12 August 1988
Stevenspoint Entertainment Complex, Stevens Point WI.

13 August 1988
Meadow Brook Music Festival, Rochester Hills MI.

14 August 1988
Powel Symphony Hall, St. Louis MO, with Jimmy Smith. Tickets cost $15 and $20.

15 August 1988
Grand Ole Opry House, Nashville TN.

19 August 1988
Pier 6 Concert Pavilion, Baltimore MD.

21 August 1988
JVC Jazz Festival at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in Saratoga Springs NY ("fans were greeted [...] by demonstrators asking them to boycott the singer over a 1980 concert in South Africa. No one appeared to change their plans because of the demonstration, held by the Capital District Coalition Against Apartheid and Racism"). For setlist see this.

22 August 1988
Martin Luther King Jr. Series at Wingate Field, Brooklyn NY, with the Weather Girls.
Interviewee In Aretha Franklin: The Queen of Soul (air date). See this.

2 - 4 September 1988
142nd New York State Fair, Miller Court, Syracuse NY (7,000 people on 3d; for setlist see this).

3 September 1988
Chatham Theatre, Cape Cod MA.

7 to 11 September 1988
Ceasar's Palace, Las Vegas NV; with Natalie Cole.

14 September 1988
Symphony Hall, Salt Lake City UT.

16 September 1988
Alberta Bear Theatre, Billings MT.

17 September 1988
Piedmont Airlines National Balloon Rally, Statesville - "canceled for better paying gig in Las Vegas"(?); dubbed by Johnny Cash.
Rushmore Plaza Theater, Rapid City SD.

18 September 1988
Paramount Theater, Denver CO.

24 September 1988
Concert at Riverfront Coliseum, Cincinatti OH.
Celebrates 58th birthday at Beverly Hills Hotel, introducing a new TV commercial for the California Raisin Advisory Board. See this. Photo here.

25 September 1988
Savannah Jazz Festival at Civic Center Auditorium, Savannah GA.

26 September 1988
Playing at extravaganza/dinner meeting billed as the Georgia On My Mind festival, of Southern Governors Association, at Cloisters Hotel, Sea Island GA.

27 September 1988
Civic Center Alabama Theater, Birmingham AL.

28 September 1988
Prather Coliseum, Natchitoches LA.

29 September 1988
Mid-South Fairgrounds, Memphis TN.
From the archives of the Memphis Newspaper The Commercial Appeal, made (prob. on an earlier date) by Leonard Atkins.  
October 1988
Three concerts announced at Teresa Carreño Theater in Caracas.

4 October 1988
Scottish Rite Auditorium, Collingswood NJ.

5 October 1988
Country War Memorial Auditorium, Trenton.

6 October 1988
Fine Arts Center Concert Hall, University of Massachusets, Amherst MA.

7 October 1988
John Harms Performing Arts Center, Englewood NJ.

8 October 1988
'Star Night, Star Bright' Aids benefit concert at Stouffer Tower City Plaza Hotel Ballroom, Cleveland OH.
Photo by Richard Kendziersky.
*?and on same day?*
Paramount Arts Center, Aurora.

9 October 1988
Holiday Star Music Theatre, Merillville IN; tickets $18.50.

10 October 1988
Night on the Town, Great Hall of Wharton Center at Michigan State University, East Lansing MI.

12 October 1988
On The Tonight Show. See this and this.

13 October 1988
Henry Levitt Arena, Wichita KS.

14 October 1988
Benson and Hedges Blues Festival at the Fox Theatre, St. Louis MO; with Bobby Blue Bland, Albert Collins and Dr. John. ("50 protesters marched outside the Fox Theatre on Friday night, urging theatergoers to boycott singer Ray Charles. Organizers say Charles is on the United Nations Cultural Boycott List for having performed in South Africa seven years ago and for refusing to rule out a return trip.The pickets, part of the Coalition for Cultural Boycott Against Apartheid, said Friday night's effort marked the fourth time they had protested a performance by Ray Charles in St. Louis").

15 October 1988
Paramount Arts Center, Aurora IL.

16 October 1988
Piccard Auditorium, Neenah WI.
From souvenir brochure.
18 October 1988
State Theatre, Easton PA ("ached and moaned and swooned and zoomed; it dipped and ripped and soothed and scatted"; "Charles, wearing a grape-colored tuxedo jacket with black pants and white shirt, was a rollicking presence at the portable keyboard, swaying side to side and front to back with such energy he appeared on the verge of catapulting himself from the padded piano bench").

19 October 1988
Forum, Harrisburg PA ("Ray Charles may have set a record last night for taking the most bows in a given 90-minute period").

20 October 1988
Kenwood Town Center, Cincinatti OH.

22 October 1988
Top of the Mart Southern, High Point NC.
*conflicting with*
According to caption taken on this day in Toronto, by Keith Beaty (Getty Images).
23 October 1988
Portsmouth VA.

26 October 1988
Grady Cole Convention Center, Charlotte NC.

28 October 1988 (conflicting data:)
Myrtle Beach.
104th anniversary homecoming celebration of Northwestern State University, at Prather Coliseum, Natchitoches.

29 October 1988
Fox Theater, Atlanta GA.

30 October 1988
Louisville Gardens, Louisville KY.

1 November 1988
Arie Crown Theater, Chicago IL.

3 November 1988
Moody's On The Beach, Miami Beach FL. See this.

4 November 1988
Van Wezel Performing Arts Center, Sarasota FL.

5 November 1988
Windstar Country Club, Naples FL.

6 November 1988
Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater FL.

7 November 1988
Florence AL.

8 November 1988
Pier Six Concert Pavilion, Baltimore MD.

9 November 1988
Westbury Music Fair, Westbury NY

11 November 1988
Valley Forge Music Fair, Devon PA.

13 November 1988
Marriott Hotel Ballroom, San Antonio TX.

17 November 1988
Sports Palace, Rome.

18 November 1988
Charity concert for Unicef in Rome. See this. Photo here.

19 November 1988
Brown or Wortham Tower Theatre, Houston TX.

21 November 1988
Rehearsals for Legends of Rock ‘n’ Roll Live, in Rome, at Palalottomatic Arena. See this.

22 November 1988
With 6 More Legends of Rock 'n' Roll Live in Rome, at Palalottomatic Arena. See this.

?22? to 25 November 1988
The Coach House, San Juan Capistrano CA.

26 November 1988
Majestic Ventura Theater, Ventura CA.

27 November 1988
Bacchanal, San Diego CA.

3 December 1988
In French Telethon broadcast; see this.

Photo by Frédéric Reglain/Getty.

7 December 1988
Honored at The Kennedy Center Honors: A Celebration Of The Performing Arts (aired on 30 December). See this.

1 December 1988
The Symphonie Tour '88, Hannover ("Als aber der blinde Ray Charles auf die Bühne geführt wurde, war der Spuk von Kurpromenade und Nivea-Musik mit einem Schlag verschwunden, und die Aura eines bedeutenden Sängers unserer Tage begann zu leuchten, und dieses Licht erbarmte sich sogar des Orchesters und fiel auf dessen Schultern"; read review here).

8 December 1988

16 December 1988
With the San Francisco Symphony orchestra at the Nob Hill Masonic Auditorium, San Francisco CA ("His voice was beautifully integrated into the orchestral arrangements, conducted brilliantly by Sid Feller, ever sensitive to Charles' shifting dynamics and the nuances of his rhythmic feeling and phrasing. With his trademark lexicon of grunts, laughs, pained sighs, joyous shouts and quick falsetto cries, Charles worked his way through a dozen songs that never failed to move and delight. He navigated the emotional territory where pain and exaltation overlap, his voice throbbing with a sound that moved around the edges of hope and despair..").

17 December 1988
On Parade Of Stars. See this.

Festival Of The Continents, poster from 1988 or 1989. Who knows what/where this was?


  1. I attended a Ray Charles Concert at Berlin / Germany, Thursday Jan 28, 1988, 8 p.m., Deutschlandhalle Berlin, with the Symphony Orchestra Hannover.

    He played
    [after 3 Instrumentals by the orcherstra, "Rhapsody in Blue", "Progy and Bess Medley" and "Ma Fair Lady Medley"]
    - They can't take that away from me
    - If you go away
    - It hurts to be in Love
    - Georgia on my Mind
    - Take these Chains ...
    - [unknown to me then]
    - Eleanor Rigby
    - [? - something like "She's gone for me"]
    - Lay around in Love on you
    - [unknown to me then]
    - All I ever need is you
    - Träumerei [instrumental - Robert Schumann]
    - Yesterday

    I just found my note made then during the concert...

  2. I remember one his concert in Italy In Udine,I think on 1988 who can confirm this?