When you sit down to a Lorie Line concert, whether is is one of her world-famous “Holiday Extravaganza” shows, or the spring/summer “Intimate Evening Series” tour, like that which will come to Newton in two weeks, there is something you can expect.
Expect the unexpected.
“My favorite aspect is the surprise element,” she said. “First-time members of the audience who come expecting a piano recital are usually shocked. I like to put on a show that is energetic and lively, and full of charm.”
Sometimes, though, even Lorie is surprised.
Take, for instance, a show a couple weeks ago in Fairmont, Minn., during which almost nothing went according to plan. As a true professional with more than 23 years of touring experience under her belt, Lorie got the show off with nary a hitch.
“We always go to dinner at 5 p.m. (the night of a show),” she said. “Just as we were getting ready to leave, the power went out in the whole block.”
When they returned from dinner, power had not yet been restored to the Fairmont Opera House, and immediately Lorie and her crew went to work. Powering some of the most essential elements of the show from one of the tour vans, they prepared for an acoustic event in front of a packed, full house.
“At 7:06 p.m., the power came back on,” she said. “But, we hadn’t even done a sound check yet. So, we closed the main drape and checked our microphones to make sure we had them working. At 7:45 p.m., we opened the show.”
Hiccups can and do occur from time to time, such as how to get Lorie’s 1,450-lb. concert grand piano up more than 30 steps, or around a tight corner. But, overcoming the glitches and putting on a great show makes the obstacles all the more memorable, she said.
“I’ve performed in more than 2,000 shows,” she said. “So, I’ve seen it all ... but [the Fairmont power failure] was still a first for me.”
Perhaps another constant for Lorie is the fact that no two shows are ever the same. That will once again be the case as this year’s “Intimate Evening Series” tour features all-new music, an all-new set, a new “Fab Five” and all-new stories to be told.
“I always try to do everything fairly new,” she said. “It’s always my show ... I have a somewhat magical format, and it seems to work. It’s going to be another grand production with, as its centerpiece, a piano show on a silver platter.”
With more than 40 albums to her credit, Lorie has plenty of material to pull from for a two-hour show. But, with the recent release of “Come Together,” a tribute to The Beatles, the show already has, at its heart, quite a bit of variety.
“I’m going to pull a few favorites from one of my more popular CDs, ‘Crazy,’ as well as a couple of classical pieces,” she said. “Then, we’ll have ‘Orange Blossom Special,’ which has some country fiddling in it. So, if there’s one genre of music you don’t like, keep listening, because the variety will be the spice of the show.”
When putting this year’s show together, Lorie said she asked herself what her No. 1 fan would want to see and hear. She then pulled together elements of her repertoire and began crafting a show she believes will thrill both her long-time fans as well as those who are seeing her show for the first time.
“If a wife drags her husband to the show, especially if he thinks he’s coming to a piano recital, it’s a lot of fun to watch what happens next,” she said. “Usually, the husband becomes my No. 1 fan for the rest of his life.”
The Fab Five
As always with the “Intimate Evening Series” tour, Lorie will be performing with her Fab Five. This year, the group consists of national championship solo drummer Jean-Pierre Bouvet, multi-instrumentalist bass player Josh Fink, and the “eye candy for the women,” trombonist Derek Bromme.
“Derek is pursuing his doctorate degree from the University of Minnesota,” she said. “He’s a very handsome young man; he looks like he’s Fabio’s son. He’s a really good dancer, too, so we’ve got plenty of choreography in this year’s show.”
Some fans may recognize Josh from his performances with Gentlemen of NUCO on the 2010 season of America’s Got Talent. Lorie said his talents and versatility have made him a huge asset when planning a show.
Joining him will also be fan favorite Robbie Nordstrom. Despite his young age — he is 21 — he is a veteran member of the Fab Five who began performing with Lorie at the age of 17, but took a couple years off from touring to pursue his music degree from the University of Minnesota.
The newcomer to the group will be Mike Linden, 23, on guitar. He is a recent graduate — Magna Cum Laude — from the Berklee College of Music in Boston. Lorie said it has been fun to watch him grow as a performer on stage.
Lorie grew up in Reno, Nev., studying classical piano. At the age of 9, she entered and won annual statewide competitions until the age of 18, when she enrolled at the University of Nevada, Reno, where she received her degree in piano performance.
Shortly after getting her degree, she and her husband, Tim, relocated to Minneapolis because of his job transfer. Using her piano performance degree, she got a full-time pianist job at the Dayton’s department store, serenading shoppers.
“Shoppers” at Dayton’s soon became her first fans, encouraging her to record her own CD of her particular brand of music. She did, and became both pianist and vendor at the same time. Little did she know that she was onto something big.
Since then, Lorie has turned piano playing into one of the largest independent record companies in the world, Lorie Line Music Inc., which has now sold more than 6 million albums and published more than 30 books of music.
She and her “Fab Five” perform to 75,000 people on over 85 stages a year, touring throughout the year.
Lorie’s passion for playing the piano has made her one-of-a-kind in today’s music world. Her show has become an institution for many families across the country. She has been an inspiration for thousands of young musicians and her entrepreneurial spirit has encouraged many women.
“I had no idea it would be like this,” she said. “Still, to this day, I tell others that I’m taking this one step at a time.”
Lorie said she thinks because she and Tim “took all the risk” in launching Lorie Line Music Inc., it sometimes can be hard to remember that what she’s doing now is a pretty big deal. It’s an expensive process, she noted, saying she has never “celebrated the bigness” of her music career.
“This is not a job, it’s a lifestyle,” she said. “But, that being said, it’s still a lot of hard work. I love what I do, and I think it’s really been a perfect fit for me.”
Lorie has helped to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for charities benefiting children. She and Tim, her business partner and master of ceremonies for the past 27 years, have two adult children and reside in Minneapolis.
“Fans keep asking me, ‘How are long are you going to keep doing this?’ and I tell them, ‘Ten more years,’” she said. “Well, it’s already been 10 years, so here’s looking to 10 more. I really love it.”
Daily News Editor Bob Eschliman may be contacted at (641) 792-3121, ext. 423, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.