Tonight’s Friday After 5 will feature a reunion performance from one of the event’s longest-running bands — the Velvet Bombers, who will play together for the first time in five years. As part of the FA5 25th anniversary reunion, musician Larry Maglinger will perform a number of Rod Stewart songs before the Velvet Bombers hit the Jagoe Homes Patio Stage at 8:30 p.m.
While many believe the Velvet Bombers were the first band to perform at Friday After 5 in 1996, bassist and vocalist Gordon Wilcher said that’s actually a long-running myth.
“We were the second band to play at Friday After 5,” Wilcher said, noting that the Arnold Chin Band deserved credit for being first. “We were the first band to play on the big, outdoor stage, and we did perform for 18 consecutive years at Friday After 5.”
When the Velvet Bombers last performed together five years ago, the five-person band teamed up with Maglinger for the FA5 20th anniversary event.
Both Wilcher and Maglinger said it was “hard to believe” it had been five years since they’d played on the same stage together.
“They’re a great band,” Maglinger said of the Velvet Bombers. “We all grew up with bands in the ’60s and ’70s. There were a lot of dances and places to play back then. It was a great experience we all shared.”
For Wilcher, the excitement of getting back on stage outweighs any of the nerves he initially had about bringing the band back together to perform for a large crowd again. He called this year’s performance “a little more challenging” than the last one, because three of the band’s original members have passed away.
However, Wilcher said it only took a couple of rehearsals with the group’s newest additions to know that the Velvet Bombers were back in business and ready to play.
“It’s gone better than I expected,” he said. “We were really in step with each other and in tune with each other.”
Both the Velvet Bombers and Maglinger have maintained strong followings over the years, and Wilcher said that, if all goes well tonight, there’s a big chance the band could begin performing on a regular basis for the first time in years.
“After the 20th anniversary show, I had inquiries about us playing at weddings and other big events again. At the time, I said I had no plans to,” he said. “We’ve actually discussed it as a possibility this time around. We’re not going to shut the door on that opportunity.”