Bob Pace at Botanical Blues

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The last time I saw Bob Pace was with his band at the Gas Lamp, a live music venue at 15th and Grand near Western Gateway Park in Des Moines. He plays the Work Release Party every Friday from 4:30-7:30 p.m. Even at that early hour, the band was on fire, trailing its Baby Boomer fans around the bar while playing a rousing blues version of “When the Saints Go Marching In.”

IMG_4617He was a bit more subdued at Sunday’s Botanical Blues event at the Des Moines Botanical and Environmental Center. To start with, the band was mostly absent – he had only a keyboard player and a sometimes harmonica player. Mostly it was just Pace, with his electric guitar and Joe Cocker-esque voice playing such hits as “Walking in Memphis” and “With a Little Help From My Friends.” I have great respect for this guy’s talent (and his keyboardist is good, too).

IMG_4609The atmosphere both enhanced and detracted from the music. On the plus side, you’ve gotta love a steamy rain forest in the middle of Iowa in the middle of winter. On the flipside, there’s not nearly enough seating, if you pick the wrong place to stand the sun can bake you to a crisp, and the audience is made up of mostly retired folks. I’m not sure Sunday afternoon is really the best time for a blues concert, but at least you could buy beer and wine.

Botanical Blues runs every Sunday through the month of February, from 1-3 p.m. Concerts are free with regular Botanical Center admission ($5 adult).

  • Jan. 13: Cindy Grill & Alan Smith
  • Jan. 20: Big Mike Edwards & Jonathan Rowat
  • Jan. 27: Jodi Bodley & Dewey Cantrell
  • Feb. 3: Super Bowl Sunday Bella Soul Duo (Tina Haase-Findley & Brandon Findley)
  • Feb. 10: Terry Shropshire
  • Feb. 17: J.D. Flanaghan & Pat Hemann
  • Feb. 24: Mojo Jono Smith
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