Sunday, July 25, 2010

Review of Happy Together Tour, Keswick Theatre, July 20, 2010

Shared this on Facebook, and wanted to post it here as well. Thought our friends would enjoy one of the many great reviews from the Happy Together Tour.

Review from, from Keswick Theatre, show:

Twenty-five years ago, the “Happy Together” tour brought together some of the signature artists from the 1960s pop/rock sound to help celebrate the music’s influence and longevity. Now the tour is back for its 25th anniversary, and it brought a lot of fun and excitement to the Keswick Theatre last night, July 20th. Everyone in the room, on stage or in the audience, young and old, felt the 60s experience wash over them when the show began.

As I entered the sold out show, I saw a lot of fans wearing various band T-shirts and discussing the music they grew up with. There was barely any room to move (which is a testament to the Keswick’s ability to book very popular shows). I actually expected to see more children. On the stage hung two peace symbols (orange and yellow), and that was really it for the decoration (but it was enough). At 8:00 pm exactly, the lights dimmed and the announcer began welcoming us to the show with some humorous, tongue-in-cheek banter involving key 1960s phrases. It was purposefully clich├ęd and successful. The crowd cheered at the first act took the stage.

The Buckinghams’ Carl Giammarese and Nick Fortuna opened the show with a great energy and some funny exchanges. They were clearly happy to playing their hits again. And speaking of hits, they performed favorites “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy,” “Susan,” (which turned into a sing-a-long), “Don’t You Care,” and my favorite, “Kind of a Drag.” They also covered the Soul Survivors’ “Expressway to Your Heart.” It’s surprising how well these guys can still sing, and the back-up band (who stayed for the entire show) played the tracks confidently. After they finished the set, the lights dimmed again and we were introduced to Mark Lindsay of Paul Revere and the Raiders (one of my dad’s favorite bands of all time).

Mark ran out on stage with sunglasses and a rock start attitude. He jogged across the stage as he sang famous tracks like “Stepping Out,” “Kicks,” “Just Like Me,” and “Good Thing.” He even did a medley with “Louie, Louie” that included snippets of “Sunshine of Your Love,” “Everyday People,” and “My Generation.” It was cool to have him pay homage to other artists who shared the spotlight in the 60s. He was having a lot of fun performing, and when he was done, The Grass Roots took over.

Highlights of their performance included “Midnight Confession” and “Let’s Live for Today” (their first top-ten hit), but they also played “Temptation Eyes,” “Heaven Knows” and “I’d Wait A Million Years.” Honestly, their music was a bit too commercial and bubble gum for me, but the audience loved it. People sitting next to me were singing with every word. After their performance, there was a brief intermission.

Monkee drummer Micky Dolenz ran out on stage next. His set didn’t focus as much on the songs he sang as it should’ve, but he still performed “Pleasant Valley Sunday,” “I’m a Believer” and “Last Train to Clarksville,” and his voice was pretty much the same as it was on those late 60s classics. He also sang “Daydream Believer,” “That Was Then, This Is Now,” “A Little Bit of Me, A Little Bit of You” and “Stepping Stone” (Mark Lindsay came out and sang with him). Dolenz recounted a story of what it was like for Jimi Hendrix to open for him and how he was in the studio when the Beatles’ recorded “Oh, Darling” (which may have been a falsification, but it was a good story anyway).

Finally, The Turtles’ Flo & Eddie (Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman) closed the show. As they always do, they poked fun at pop culture and the trends, stating that they’re the newest American Idols. Volman made a poignant comment about how popular taste has changed over forty years by comparing Jim Morrison to Justin Bieber. And of course, classics like “You Baby,” “It Aint Me Babe,” “Eleanor,” and “She’d Rather Be With Me” were played. Kaylan’s voice isn’t what it used to be, but you have to give the guys credit for still touring. My favorite moment of the night was when they paid homage to Frank Zappa with a brief version of “Peaches En Regalia.” They received a standing ovation when they ended the night, as expected, with their biggest hit, “Happy Together.” It’s still a great song after all these years and it was another great night at the Keswick Theatre.