Friday, September 09, 2011

Mini Review: Happy Together Tour 2011 at the Effingham (IL) Performance Center

Being a huge fan of 1960's pop music, I snatched a four pack of tickets to the Happy Together Tour 2011 concert at the Effingham (IL) Performance Center shortly after tickets went on sale. So ... with my wife and two friends from our Italian dinner club, I headed down Interstate 57 on August 25 to Effingham, a town where I had lived for three years many moons ago. It was time well spent.

I would post a blow by blow description of the concert, but a review of the current tour's stop in New Jersey sounded almost exactly like what I would have written. Instead, I will focus on a few of my personal insights.

As you might guess, the crowd was rather ... mature. I saw a few youngsters in the 20's, but this tour is really designed to attract people in their 50's, 60's, and beyond. Needless to say, I saw more concert attendees with oxygen tanks than I had ever seen at any concert before!

The first act to take the stage was The Buckinghams ... er, at least the 2011 version of The Buckinghams. Actually, they consisted of original members Carl Giammarese and Nick Fortuna. Unfortunately, former lead singer Dennis Tufano is no longer with the band, and years ago Giammarese stepped in to sing the lead vocals. Unfortunately, as much as I love Chicago area 1960's bands like The Buckinghams, the sound is not the same without Tufano. I did not like the fact that Giammarese sings the songs cabaret fashion and seems to have an affinity for back phrasing.

Next up was The Grass Roots. I wrote a post six weeks ago about the passing of Rob Grill, the long-time lead singer of the band. Current bass player and lead singer Mark Dawson is actually pretty good in filling Grill's role, but without Grill the band is, well ... what it is. Long-time guitar player Dusty Hanvey played his heart out, but the glory days when Grill and a cadre of decent singers and musicians (Creed Bratton, Terry Furlong, Brian Naughton, and Dennis Provisor) were The Grass Roots are long gone.

The Association, featuring Larry Ramos, Jim Yester, and Russ Giguere, took the stage, looking like angels that came down from heaven, dressed in their all white outfits. Although their harmonies were a bit rough at times, it was a thrill to hear classics such as Cherish, Windy, Along Comes Mary, Never My Love, and Everything That Touches You. However, they also did a kick-ass version of California Dreamin'. Yes -- the show finally started picking up!

Mark Lindsay, former lead singer of Paul Revere and the Raiders, showed what an unbelievable amount of energy -- and flexibility -- is possible at the ripe old age of 69. He was thinner than I expected and was actually able to kick above his head. Lindsay tore through some Raiders songs and some of his solo material, covering hits like Hungry, Kicks, Arizona, and Indian Reservation. I need to find out what this guy did to take care of his body!

The final act was The Turtles -- Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan. Volman's long, wiry hair made him appear much younger than he is. But sheesh --  I would never have recognized Howard Kaylan. The Turtles bring a really light hearted approach to their performances (could anyone sing Elenor with a straight face?) and were the perfect group to bring the show close to the end. It is amazing how the song Happy Together is totally ageless.

The show ended with all the performers returning to sing a short snippet of one of their biggest hits with the others providing background and harmony. It was a fitting end to a show that brought back many good memories of a time when pop music was relatively innocent at the same time that our country was embroiled in an awful war.


Blogger crafty said...

I remember, back in the dark days before file sharing, iTunes, and even the Internet itself - my mom tried to describe the song Eleanor to me by singing the chorus: Eleanor gee I think you're swell/and you really do me well/you're my pride and joy et cetera... I said to her if you're going to describe the song, at least sing the right words, and don't substitute that garbage! hahahahaha

4:32 AM  
Anonymous KenP said...

Interesting. Even the groups I might have followed are mostly nameless individuals. Being the era just before is even more divisive. But, I can see you went beyond normal passion. Nice when something like that survives the eras.

6:29 AM  
Blogger lightning36 said...

@ Gary -- What a great tongue-in-cheek song! "Your looks intoxicate me/ even though your folks hate me."

@ KenP -- Last night I was looking at some old posts from about five years ago. The passion for online poker was running high then. Oh, that someday we may get our little baby back!

8:36 AM  
Blogger Josie said...

Damn, you're old!

10:19 AM  
Blogger Memphis MOJO said...

A trip back in time, nice, even if some of the trippers used walkers, lol.

2:53 PM  

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