I have such fond memories of warm summer nights on the lawn of Meadowbrook Hall in suburban Detroit, listening to live music performed by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. Flash forward to Des Moines , which has a new outdoor stage in Waterworks Park for concerts by, among others, the Des Moines Symphony. Last night’s weather was not ideal – light intermittent rain – but what a treat to sit on a lawn chair on the green grass, watching clouds drift by in the sky, eating ice cream served from The Outer Scoop’s truck and listening to John Williams’ movie scores played by the Des Moines symphony. Oh, and did I mention that the concert was free? there were two free symphony concerts this year. Next up, performances by Ben Folds and Maren Morris …neither free.
One of my bigger regrets is not going to see the real Prince when he performed years ago in Ames, Iowa (not far from where we live in Des Moines). So last Friday, we took the best we could get, especially now that Real Prince is, sadly, no longer with us. We went to a tribute band that rumor has it was the only fake that the Real Deal approved of.
Simon Estes Amphitheater was packed, with a sold-out crowd, and it was a lovely, albeit wickedly hot and humid June night on the river. “The Prince Experience” wasn’t bad. Fake Prince was a little shorter and thicker around the midriff than Real Prince but he sang well and proudly wore his white ruffled shirt and long purple sparkly duster . Fake Sheila E was working hard too. We didn’t understand why the keyboard player wore what appeared to be medical scrubs, looking like he just left his shift at Mercy Hospital. But he proudly announced several times he was a West Des Moines native so we gave him a pass. It was the kind of concert where you had to be prepared to laugh a little — at the band and yourself.