Dave Rowley & Friends made their annual visit to the Pearson Lakes Art Center and really rocked the place.
This group of musicians are good friends and they love to entertain. In addition to Rowley on guitar, harmonica, penny whistle and vocals, his friends include Ryan Sather of Okoboji on piano and vocals, Perry Pearson of Okoboji on guitar and vocals, Brent Wallin of Sioux Falls, South Dakota on bass and vocals, Carlis Faurot of Cedar Rapids on violin and vocals and Carley Wells of on drums. Wells is just starting her junior year at Okoboji High School this week and is considered one of the best young drummers in the state of Iowa. There was a lot of talent on the Lauridsen Performing Arts Theatre stage at PLAC Saturday night as they took us from fast to slow to fast and everything in between.
The show is designed each year to be an informal evening of music and humorous exchanges between the musicians. The stage is always decorated with shiny, aluminum palm trees and girls in hula skirts. Everyone on stage is dressed in Hawaiian shirts except Sather, who obviously thinks a black polo shirt will go with anything!
They started our evening of musical adventures off with "Welcome Back" — an obvious choice since most of the sold-out crowd had been there to hear them previously. The Beatles song "When I’m 64" was done to recognize Rowley’s birthday the previous Sunday.
I very much enjoyed Sather's rendition of Tim McGraw’s hit "Humble and Kind." His amazing skill on the piano, soothing vocals and backup drumming by Wells made it a special part of the show.
Rollin's "sincere" singing of "Lord It's Hard to be Humble" had us all laughing. He was singing to his new wife seated in the audience. I hope she enjoyed it as much as we did.
Faurot is incredible on that violin of his. He did an Irish jig called "Toss the Feathers" that had the audience applauding before the song was over.
Rowley treated us to his annual singing of the "Vasectomy Song." He also performed one he composed in honor of Captain Steve Kennedy. It always brings tears to my eyes and those of many of us who knew Capt. Steve. We also look forward every year to his singing of "Walleye" to the tune of "Rawhide." The epic tale about fishing around here is so much fun.
When Faurot and Wells showcased their incredible talent on "Orange Blossom Special" we in the audience tried to clap in time to the beat. But as it got faster and faster, more of us gave up. They got a loud, length ovation at the conclusion of that number.
Being a newlywed, Rollin decided to sing a hilarious ditty to us about things you don't say to your wife. His sage advice had us all laughing.
I really enjoyed the band’s bluesy version of "See You In My Dreams."
One of the unique aspects of Saturday night's show was watching Wells on the drums. She smiled all night long. It was such a joy to watch that 17-year-old playing with five "old guys" and enjoying every minute of it. She is an incredible talent but really knows how to "play with the team." I am so glad she had as much fun playing with them as we, the audience, did watching all of them all night long.
The encore we demanded was three songs long. "Hotel California" really showcased the drummer’s skills and all six of them really rocked that number. We reluctantly left the theatre after singing along loudly and enthusiastically to Neil Diamond’s "Sweet Caroline." It didn’t matter what age we were, we all knew that song and how to do it justice.
Rowley & Friends have been doing this show for us for 15 years now and I never get tired of witnessing it. All six work so well together, compliment each other’s talents and have such a good time in the process.
I can’t wait for the 16th show by this group in August of 2019!