TV Star works hard for tepid crowd
By BOB SAAR
for The Hawk Eye
The first omen was the nearly empty motorcycle parking area outside the Steamboat Days waterfront.
The next was the half–full general admission seating.
And the VIP section looked like the bird flu had hit it hard.
The huge crowd anticipated for Bo Bice never showed up.
Bo Bice is wildly loved by some and a non–entity to others. A runner–up on TV's "American Idol" talent show, Bice has a decent voice and a smooth southern manner.
"Y'all have a beautiful home here," he told the audience. "Thank you for allowing us to be here."
He's cute, too, which may explain the bevy of young women who swarmed in front of the stage and screamed when Bice came out.
We liked Bice. He worked hard at putting on a show with a decent repertoire of stage moves — his microphone stand brandishments were right up there with Eddie Montgomery's — and his singing was pleasant enough.
But he's no Gregg Allman, and "Whipping Post," Bice's breakthrough cover on "American Idol," failed to get the audience on its feet despite a strong run–through by the band of sidemen.
As a matter of fact, it failed to get any applause beyond the teen screechings at the front of the stage.
"At least he's playing good Southern rock I can recognize," Susan Shullaw of Iowa City said. "Hey, it's Steamboat Days."
One unfortunate facet of the fleeting fame that television has granted Bice is that he has no recognizable material of his own, and his set was filled with cover songs.
If you want to stay on top in rock, you have to have your own signature songs. Bice has none. It takes radio exposure, not television, to build up that kind of identity.
We wanted the crowd to warm up and work with Bice, but it didn't happen, and if it weren't for the Alaskan blondes, we would have left the show discouraged at the low turnout and poor reception Burlington gave Bo Bice, who deserved better.
It was known in advance that Bice fans were coming from outposts as far away as New Jersey and Canada, but when we ran into Jill Simmons and Donna Shock, we began to understand just how deep the Bice charisma runs.
Simmons and Shock flew down from Anchorage, Alaska yesterday for their first Bo Bice concert.
We wondered why they didn't pick a show in a more glamorous locale such as California or New York.
"We don't plan that far ahead," Shock said.
"Oh–my–God!" Simmons blurted out. "We forgot the Spam!"
"We have to have our Spam!" Shock gasped. "Go get us some Spam?"
Someone went up to Hy–Vee for a can of the tasty meat snack, but we never found out exactly why Simmons and Shock needed it. Apparently, it had something to do with attracting Bo's attention or that of his photographer.
Simmons and Shock were happy that they were allowed to attend the afternoon's meet–and–greet even though they didn't have passes for it.
"We told everybody we're from Anchorage and they felt sorry for us," Shock explained.
The two women will hang around Burlington until Monday, taking in today's Snake Alley Art Fair and anything else anyone might care to send their way.
The Steamboat Days committee made a good choice in booking Bice and the low attendance was a disappointment.
Bice fans who were not able to attend last night's show will want to know that Bo wore torn blue jeans and a T–shirt.
And he was barefoot. read the rest HERE