By Charles Walton, Central Iowa Music Examiner
I had the privilege of attending my first Bob Pace show Oct. 1 at Down under Bar & Grill (8350 Hickman Road in Clive). For those of you have never seen the Bob Pace Band play, let me share with you what I have learned from the experience.
- I knew that Bob Pace was in the Iowa Rock and Rock Hall of Fame. As Bob, himself, points out, “So are a lot of people.” Bob belongs there.
- Bob Pace can play just about anything….While Pace is known for rock and blues, he will mix in some country, swing, and other genres. At Down Under, Pace spliced in riffs from AC/DC’s “Back in Black”, Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven”, Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man”, and Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” amidst his set list of music from the likes of Stevie Ray Vaughan, Eric Clapton, and Marc Cohen. He covered The Charlie Daniels Band, Jimi Hendrix, Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash, The Doors, ZZ Top, and Bad Company, as well. He even played versions of “Happy Birthday” (for a birthday party sitting up front), the National Anthem, and “Meet the Flintstones” on Saturday. Pace mixed in originals like “Howl at the Moon” (from his recent Live at Blues on Grand album), too.
- Do not ask Bob Pace to play Pink Floyd.
- Whatever style of music Bob Pace plays, be it blues, rock, swing, metal, country, TV show theme songs, or patriotic songs, he will be amazing.
- Bob Pace is a magician with a guitar. While I am referring to his ferocious riffs and blistering solos, Bob will also perform a few tricks….to make sure he has your attention. At Down Under, Bob played right-handed, left-handed, one-handed, and two guitars at once. He played with his fret hand on top and on the bottom….. Bob played the guitar flat in his lap….with his foot and used a table as a slide…. Pace is a true entertainer.
5 1/2. If you offer Bob Pace a piece of your birthday cake, he may (continue playing one-handed while) eating birthday cake with his other hand.
- …All tricks aside, when Pace is scorching hot on stage, it is enthralling….
- Pace is a modest everyman. He will play a smoking set, only to come off stage and ask how it was. He will sit down and talk to you, and he will never let you convince him that he is the legend that he is. He approaches his shows like he is still working his way up, not like an Iowa legend that has opened for (Jimmie Vaughan, Jonny Lang), John Mayall, Johnny Winter, Delbert McClinton, Bernard Allison, Tower of Power….and others.
- If you have not yet experienced the Bob Pace Band in person, do not wait as long as I did. Go to www.bobpaceband.com and find a show that fits into your schedule. Bob Pace is an Iowa treasure, and seeing one of his shows should be on every adult Iowan’s bucket list.
- Once you have seen the Bob Pace Band perform live, you will see them again. Trust me.