Pavlo @ Lee Theater, Touhill Performing Arts Center, St. Louis, MO

Words and photos by Duane Clawson
Pavlo Simtikidis, probably not a name known to many but if you take a moment to listen, it’s a name you won’t soon forget.  Oddly enough, I came to know the name Pavlo from my mother some ten years ago.  She had seen Pavlo perform at the local cultural center in Ohio and knew I would love his Mediterranean-based style of guitar playing as she purchased a copy of his Irresistible CD for my collection.  As I listened to the album, I was transported to clear blue seas and tropical breezes.  From that moment on, I was a fan of the man known as Pavlo!

A bit of history on Pavlo, he was born in Toronto, Canada to Greek immigrant parents.  Pavlo describes his childhood as happy “with music playing in the home and me dancing on the kitchen table”.

Pavlo has been around the world a few times with sold out venues in South Korea, but strangely enough, he has never been to St. Louis in 20+ years of touring.  Tonight, he would show St. Louis what they had been missing.

An intimate gathering of around 250 greeted Pavlo and his band at the Lee Theater.  Pavlo had taken four flights in the past 14 hours to make it to St. Louis but showed few signs of jet lag.  In fact, quite the opposite, he almost seemed to be on a high (maybe it was the Expresso at Bissinger’s).  The band of musicians he has assembled are top notch.  Dimitrios Bogris on bouzouki, Curtis Freeman on bass, and Gino Mirizio on various pieces of percussion, bring it all together for a polished live mix.

Throughout the night, Pavlo can be heard onstage yelling out, “Opa”, a Greek emotional expression that he uses to let the band know he is changing the arrangement of a song.  Covering a vast majority of his own compositions, Pavlo does take a moment out to recognize a few of the greats in the history of music, one being Gordon Lightfoot with a smooth cover of, “If You Could Read my Mind”.   Getting close to his audience is a Pavlo forte', as he exits the stage to stroll and play amongst those in attendance.  Later in the evening, he recites a little-known fact that 91% of St. Louis likes to belly dance (completely made up) and he gets two audience members to join him for some impromptu belly dancing.

The theme of music being a gift is echoed during Pavlo’s 90-minute set.  True to his word, Pavlo personally gave away the guitar he played, via a drawing to one lucky fan at the end of the night’s performance.   Pavlo stated he had given away over 1,000 guitars, truly confirming that music is a gift.  Visibly touched by a five-minute standing ovation after the band’s encore, Pavlo wandered amongst the gathering, repaying their generosity with a personal handshake and thank you.  Thanks to the staff at the Touhill Performing Arts Center for being so accommodating and to Pavlo for allowing MTC MAG to be front and center for this great show!  Photos of the show are below:

Contributed by Duane Clawson
Pavlo @ Lee Theater, Touhill Performing Arts Center, St. Louis, MO Pavlo @ Lee Theater, Touhill Performing Arts Center, St. Louis, MO Reviewed by Scott Rowe, Editor on 1:00:00 PM Rating: 5

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