Considering that he’s been a key vocalist/keyboardist with Chicago mega stars Styx since 1999, it’s sometimes difficult to remember that before Lawrence Gowan replaced Dennis DeYoung with Styx, he boasted a pretty impressive solo career. We are fortunately reminded of his solo prowess when Gowan does take the occasional busman’s holiday to venture out for a series of solo gigs and this Wednesday in Peterborough, Ontario provided just such an opportunity.
Reminding the 10,000 fans In attendance of his Scottish ancestry (he was born in Glasgow) by decking himself out in traditional Scottish garb of doublet,kilt, pin (can’t tell if he was totally authentic as this photographer wasn’t able to shoot up his kilt)and dress sporran, Gowan’s 17-song set effectively reflected on his own successful song catalogue, performing virtually all the hits from his six solo recordings.
Kicking off the show with “Cosmetics” and “Guerrilla Soldier” from his self-titled 1982 debut, Gowan, boasting a striking two-tone hair do that Blue Jays’ Josh Donaldson would be envious of, enthusiastically delved into his repertoire, with “Dancing On My Own Ground”, “Lost Brotherhood”, “Soul’s Road”, “The Good Catches Up” “All The Lover’s Of The World” “Keep Up The Fight” and “One Brief Shining Moment” all showing the versatility of this gifted performer.
Supported by a band comprised of brother Terry on bass, Ricky Tillo on guitar, Ryan Bovaird, guitar and keyboards, back-up singer Divine Brown and Styx drummer Todd Sucherman, Gowan enthralled his audience with his infectious personality and witty banter.
He also has an awareness for the area he is playing, at one point the avid Toronto Maple Leafs fan donned a Peterboro Petes hockey sweater featuring the name of local junior star Andrew D’Agostini.
Even Gowan’s tribute to the recent memories of departed rock stars featured a dose of humour when kicked off by a rousing rendition of Stompin Tom Connors’ “The Hockey Song” before seguing into David Bowie’s “Space Oddity”. He then prefaced a tribute to Queen’s Freddie Mercury with an abbreviated version of “Bohemian Rhapsody” that was set up by Gowan honouring “the greatest movie ever made” as he launched into the theme song for Mike Myers’ Wayne’s World”.
You can normally count on a Gowan set to cover at least one Beatles’ cover and he didn’t disappoint Wednesday mashing “Tomorrow Never Knows with The Moondogs’ “Psychedelic Holiday”.
The night’s lone sombre moment was a dedication to Gowan’s father in which he got to display is classical chops by performing “Khedive Of The Cosmos” .
Sucherman’s energetic drum solo signalled the final phase of this two-hour show which concluded, as you would expect with his two hit classics “A Criminal Mind” and “Strange Animal” followed by an encore of “Moonlight Desires”
And it’s a tribute to Gowan that even though the band had to speed off to a gig the following night in Huntsville, he stayed backstage and signed autographs and posed for selfies long into the night. A total class performer!