A Review by Craig Plath - Gananoque, August 16, 1998

It is now the next morning and I am still tapping my feet and humming the tunes to all my favourite Gowan songs. Last night I travelled an hour to Gananoque to see him perform at the Festival Of The Islands in a small open air concert. My wife and I have seen him all except for one time that he came to Brockville to perform. Last night made it our fourth concert.

I have been hooked on Gowan since the days of Strange Animal, and have all his albums, including his self-titled debut. Last night I bought his U.K. released album so that I could get my hands on his dedication to the late Lady Di, and the only CD release of a song from his first album. I waited around after the show to get Larry to sign it for my wife, as well as The Good Catches Up for myself. Finally, I was able to get a picture taken with him. That will be a treasure to keep beside my desk. Because my wife and I are huge fans, our 1 1/2 year old son will be too. Last night was his first concert, and what a performance it was!

I remember Larry once saying that he liked performing before small audiences, and Gananoque must have been one of the smallest. There were only three to five thousand people there from my estimate. A large portion of the crowd consisted of the older generation, and so a good number of the audience were probably unfamiliar with our brilliant entertainer. That's what sets Larry apart from the rest of his peers. He has never been afraid of a challenge.

Two years ago, when he was last at Riverfest in Brockville, he did a radio interview on CHXL, The River. I was able to talk to him and asked him why he changed styles, from synthesizer to acoustic guitar on the Gowan ...But You Can Call Me Larry CD. He said that he was never a fan of artists who stuck with something just because it worked for them in the past. He felt it was time for a change, but assured us all that he would still perform his old songs. That's what I call a true artist; he continues to always fine tunes his skills.

The night started, as it often does, with Cosmetics. The crowd was proving tough. However, Larry remained unshaken. After a few short quips and some humourous renditions of folk songs he soon had the crowd loosened up for a good time. Not long after, the crowd, young and old alike, die hard fans and soon to be fans, were singing along with him, tapping and swaying to the music.

Larry's improvisational humour, quick witt and calm confidence had the crowd cheering, laughing and loving every minute of the show. Always the show off, Larry did a rendition of a ragtime song in triple time. It was truly amazing. I have never known another musician that can play the keyboard like him. His lightening fast hands glided across the keyboard in a way that would have made the grand masters of classical music blush.

We were also treated to a pre-release of his song Insane, that he hopes to put on his next album. It was another classic like Criminal Mind. I have no doubt that it will chalk up another gold single for him. The crowd was silent as he related a story about his family. Yesterday there was another sensless bombing in Ireland, this time in the hometown to much of his extended family. Thankfully, none of them were hurt, but he dedicated the song Holding This Rage to them. So many of his songs hold so much feeling and meaning.

When the night was over, Gowan showed his usual concern for his fans. For more than an hour after the show he signed autographs, posed for photos and chatted with them. There were more than a few new ones, and I am sure he sold plenty of concert paraphanelia, music and the like. It was all too soon over with, but I for one had my love for Gowan renewed, and can't wait for the new album. Thank you Larry and team, for your continued entertainment!

   
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