ROCKINGHAM – On Thursday, July 6, the evening air was filled with the entertaining sounds of Too Much Sylvia, well-known by music lovers of Richmond County that gathered for the Plaza Jam in Rockingham.
Mayor Steve Morris welcomed the crowd of over 500 people – young and old alike – to the event, stating that this was the 15th year the City of Rockingham and other sponsors have been putting on the Plaza Jam concerts.
Too Much Sylvia band members include Rick Lee, Steve Long, Eddy Howie, and Don Leonard. Their first official “gig” was in 1991 at Pfeiffer University, with Don joining them in the early 2000’s. Eddy’s son Matt, a student at Western Carolina University, is working with the band this summer as an “assistant technician,” and he displayed impressive vocals throughout the evening.
The band opened the evening with one of their classics “Red Sunglasses,” encouraging audience members that are fans to put their red sunglasses on! Following up with “Boogie Shoes,” they went into a medley of ZZ Top hits, including “Give Me All Your Loving” and “Sharp Dressed Man” as two of the singers wearing long gray beards danced and played their guitars through the audience. A string of Four Seasons hits came next, including “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Dawn,” and “Oh, What a Night,” as audience members clapped along with the band. After some playful discussion about singing the Bee Gees hits in the same set, Too Much Sylvia launched into “Staying Alive,” “More Than A Woman,” “Jive Talking,” and “You Should Be Dancing.”
The 2014 Carolina Beach Music Song and Smoothie of the Year, “Stepped Right Outta My Dreams,” was next on the playlist, one of Too Much Sylvia’s most requested songs. Music by The Beach Boys, including “Fun, Fun, Fun,” “Surfin’ USA,” and “Barbara Ann” followed, and information about an upcoming cruise in March 2019 out of Charleston, SC was announced. “The Electric Slide” brought many attendees out of their folding chairs down to the area surrounding the stage as they moved along to the popular group dance.
“Build Me Up Buttercup,” “Be Young, Be Foolish, Be Happy” and “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” brought many to their feet, including a gentleman named Jimmy who was proclaimed “the funkiest man in Rockingham” after the band asked him to come to the front.
In remembrance of the July Fourth holiday, the band then asked the audience to stand as they sang “God Bless The USA.” Too Much Sylvia then performed “Got The Rhythm,” a very popular beach music song getting a lot of air play on local stations.
As the evening drew to a close, “Up Town Funk,” “Don’t Stop Believin’,” and “Play That Funky Music” had the crowd on their feet, especially Dylan, a recent graduate of Richmond Senior High School. Although he required physical assistance from his mom to stay on his feet as he danced joyfully in front of the stage, his facial expressions relayed how much he enjoyed the music and the performance of Too Much Sylvia.
“Hey, Hey, Hey – Goodbye” served as the finale as many fans continued to dance in front of the stage until the very end. The skies were not yet dark as concert goers folded up their chairs and blankets, heading home after a fun-filled evening.
Too Much Sylvia is available for events including wedding receptions, college parties, fundraisers, and festivals. They have a Facebook page and an informative website, and many of their songs can be found on YouTube.
Make sure to put the next concert on your schedule now. The Fantastic Shakers will be performing on Thursday, August 2nd. The concert begins at 6:30 PM at Cole Plaza, 514 Rockingham Road, next to Rockingham City Hall.