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Lorie Line, Fab Five hit all the right notes

In all honesty, it would only be fair to note I have been a fan of Lorie Line since I attended my first Holiday Extravaganza in December of 2002.

The occasion was notable on two accounts. First, I was seated next to the recently un-elected Congressman John Thune, who is now serving his second term in the U.S. Senate out of South Dakota — and who has twice made the “short list” for higher office.

Second, it marked the first concert I attended in which I actually lost track of time. Two hours went by, and it hardly felt like 20 minutes had passed. And, after that first show, I was hooked.

Not long after I met my wife, I introduced her to Lorie Line and her style of music. It was a perfect match. And, as our children grew up, Lorie Line Style was frequently our “road trip,” “going to the store,” and “running errands” music.

So, going into Friday night’s performance at the Newton Community Theatre auditorium, my family already knew what to expect. And, once again, we weren’t disappointed. In fact, longtime fans — known as “Linebackers” — were amazed by the show they got.

Now, about the show. If one were to use a single word, other than “extraordinary,” to describe Lorie Line and Her Fab Five’s Friday-night show, it would have to be “eclectic.”

The show, titled after Line’s recently released “Come Together” album, started with a couple of tributes to The Beatles. Then came some Classical music, some Bluegrass and Country standards, a cover of Glenn Miller’s “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” and even some ’80s hair-band covers, albeit Lorie Line Style.

The military tribute, a staple of most summer shows, was easily a fan favorite this year. It featured a dance routine by the Fab Five that eventually broke into a Lorie Line Style rendition of “Gangnam Style.”

Line, as one can always expect, was perfection at the keyboard, whether she was bringing home a Classical arrangement from her days on the talent show/pageant circuit or if she was tickling the ivories to the hits of the original Fab Four. As she noted, new arrangements of Beatles hits is a challenge for Line and her ensemble, but she definitely pulled off the feat.

As is typically the case during her Intimate Evening Series, each member of the Fab Five had a chance to showcase his talents. And, as one might expect, each member of the ensemble wowed the all-ages crowd.

Violinist/fiddler Robbie Nordstrom, the most veteran (this is his fifth year with Line) — and youngest (he’s only 22 years old) — showcased his talents in both fiddling and classical playing. Meanwhile, trombonist Derek Bromme — not inconspicuously labeled the eye candy for the ladies in the audience — demonstrated his prowess with the bass trombone, which was used in lieu of a tuba.

The newest member of the Fab Five is guitarist Mike Linden, a magna cum laude graduate of Berklee College of Music, who played in high school in a band with Line’s drummer, Jean-Piere Bouvet. During a wardrobe change, Linden performed an incredible rendition of Jimi Hendrix’s “Star Spangled Banner” that captivated the audience.

During another costume change, Bouvet became the focus, performing his award-winning drum solo. He is the first person to ever win both the Guitar Center Drum-Off and the Roland V-Drums Competition in the same year, which he accomplished last year. And, if his performance Friday was any indication, it’s easy to see why.

Josh Fink, previously of the group The Gentlemen of NUCO, which was a popular classical fusion band that performed during Season 5 of “America’s Got Talent,” pulled out the cello for his spotlight performance. His performance with both the bass and electric bass guitar were equally inspiring.

“Mr. Lorie Line,” her husband, Tim, served as master of ceremonies for the evening, a role he has taken a shine to over the past 24 years. And once again, he successfully warmed up the crowd, and added to the down-home atmosphere that often accompanies the “Intimate Evening Series” each summer.

The biggest change this year was the absence of Jack Edwards’ costuming. Edwards, who developed the costumes for Line’s shows for more than 17 years, passed away before this year’s summer series was planned. In his memory, a couple of favorite costumes were rolled out, with a portion of show performed while Line wore everyday clothes straight out of her closet.

If there was any disappointment to be had, it would be the somewhat small crowd that turned out for the show. After the show, however, Tim Line said they were happy with the nearly 300 who attended.

After the show, as is almost always the case for Lorie Line, the pianist went to the lobby to meet and greet with her fans. She took time to talk casually with each fan, posing for photos, and signing as many autographs as fans wanted until the last fan had left.

In my case, she spoke with my wife for about 10 minutes — a thrill for my wife — while signing five CDs before posing with my wife and children.

After recounting how much they enjoyed dinner at the Newton Maid-Rite, Tim shared how much he enjoyed visiting Newton. He also said he looked forward to coming back again soon.

I, for one, hope it’s very soon. And judging from the audience’s reaction Friday night, I don’t think I’m alone in those sentiments.

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