Peter Rowan, Durango Arts Center, Durango, CO – 10/31
Peter Rowan earlier this year in San Francisco- photo by Suzy Perler
Peter Rowan took a break from his tour with his current bluegrass project to play a solo show on Halloween night in Durango, Colorado. Rowan played a benefit show at the extremely intimate Durango Arts Center which seats about 200 people. For a solo acoustic show, the crowd was quite raucous. It seemed this was the beginning of a long Halloween night for many people in attendance and Rowan definitely fed off the energy in the small room.
Rowan would please the crowd with some of his more well known songs throughout the evening, but he also dabbled in some of his catalogue from his new album, Legacy. “Jailer Jailer” a tune off the new album showcased Rowan’s dry sense of humor, which was on display throughout the night as he bantered with the crowd. It seemed like Rowan was really cherishing the opportunity to play some of his tunes in this rare solo acoustic show.
He played the classic crowd pleaser “Panama Red” with an adlibbed verse about the local marijuana dispensaries in the middle of the tune. He declared in a low voice, “They will legalize it soon,” much to the crowd’s delight. He also told a fairly long story about how he came up with the idea for “Free Mexican Air Force,” a tune that became a sing-along with encouragement from Rowan. He also played a heartfelt “Wall of Time” a song he wrote with the help of Bill Monroe that was preceded by a wonderful account about his early career playing with Monroe. “Land of the Navajo” then demonstrated how well Peter Rowan’s voice has held up through the years.
Rowan brought the opening act, a local bluegrass band Wild Mountain, out for the end of his set. Rowan led the group through the traditional “Rollin In My Sweet Baby’s Arms” and then into a set closing medley that started with “Midnight Moonlight” and led into “Pay Bo Diddley” which segued into a surprising “Not Fade Away.” This version of “Not Fade” seemingly came out of nowhere, but was executed with perfection. Rowan ended the night with an encore of “Wild Horses” that was backed again by Wild Mountain.
The energy in the room was both palpable and contagious as Rowan performed poignant new tunes and classics alike. To see a man that has been around for as long as he has give as much to a solo acoustic performance in an intimate setting was a real treat on this Halloween night in Durango.