NFL Owner Jim Irsay and All-Star Band Kickoff Colts Season in Rockstar Fashion

Joey Amato | September 13, 2022

The Jim Irsay Band came home Friday night to kickoff the Indianapolis Colts 2022 season and showcase The Jim Irsay Collection along with special guest performers John Mellencamp, Ann Wilson, Buddy Guy and John Hiatt. Showcasing historic and iconic artifacts from American history, pop culture, rock music and debuting many Colts artifacts, it was an unforgettable night spent supporting the community and celebrating the kickoff to the NFL season with more than 25,000 fans on hand. 

The Colts Owner & CEO and an active philanthropist, Irsay also announced donations to two Indianapolis hospitals – $500,000 to the Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital and $500,000 to Riley Hospital for Children – with patients and families representing both present on stage. The Colts Cheerleaders kicked off the evening’s festivities with a routine followed by an introduction of Colts players past and present including DeForest Buckner, Shaquille Leonard, Matt Ryan, Jonathan Taylor, Reggie Wayne and Pro Football Hall of Famer Edgerrin James.

Led by Irsay on vocals, the All-Star band included Kenny Aronoff on drums (Sir Paul McCartney, Mellencamp, The Rolling Stones, Sting, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson), Tom Bukovac on guitar (played on over 700 albums with major artists), Mike Mills on bass and vocals (founding member of R.E.M.), Danny Nucci on guitar and saxophone (actor from TitanicThe Rock), Carmella Ramsey on violin, mandolin and vocals (Reba McEntire, John Hiatt, Olivia Newton-John), Michael Ramos on keyboards (Mellencamp, Los Lonely Boys, Patti Griffin, Paul Simon), Kenny Wayne Shepherd on guitar and vocals (five-time GRAMMY® nominated), Mike Wanchic on guitar (John Mellencamp). A highlight of the night was Shepard’s performance of Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb” playing David Gilmour’s ‘The Black Strat’; a Fender Stratocaster and one of the most iconic guitars in rock n’ roll history.

“At the end of the day, last Friday night’s concert and exhibit was about bringing our fans together and treating them to a night of celebration – a celebration of football, music and our Indianapolis community,” Irsay said.  “I don’t own any of these items. I’m just the steward of this collection, and it’s my dream for as many people as possible to experience and become inspired by this history.”

Outside of music, the collection includes such historic items as:

  • An 1823 William J. Stone printing of the Declaration of Independence, one of the first exact “facsimiles” of the final signed document;
  • Renowned American author Jack Kerouac’s original 119-foot On the Road scroll;
  • The original manuscript for Alcoholics Anonymous’ Big Book, the organization’s founding document;
  • The original 1777 Continental Congress proclamation designating Thanksgiving as a national holiday;
  • Handwritten documents and artifacts from women’s suffrage pioneer Susan B. Anthony;
  • A Jackie Robinson game-used bat from 1953 (the founding year of the Colts);
  • Muhammad Ali’s 1965 first walkout robe that bore his new name, and his boxing shoes from the 1975 “Thrilla’ in Manilla” vs. Joe Frazier;
  • Artifacts and signed documents from numerous U.S. Presidents, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy and others.

Items have been displayed at the U.S.’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met), The Lincoln Memorial, the world-famous Beverly Hills Hotel, and the Indiana State Museum; as well as at The Centre Pompidou (Paris), the British Library (London), Auditorium Parco della Musica (Rome) and other locations around the world. For general info, visit