Concert reviews from the first leg of the tour have been consistently positive. Writers have remarked how true the artists’ voices are still today to the original records from the 60s and 70s. Also noted is the high energy that the artists show on stage, individually and together, make revisiting those decades like a ride in a time machine.
Of course, each of the groups had multiple chart hits on Billboard’s Top 40 for years. Audience members have been flooding YouTube with videos from each stop on the tour, and maintain the best of classic rock can be found in this artist grouping.
Shows feature Carl Giammarese and Nick Fortuna, The Buckinghams, best known for “Kind of a Drag,” “Hey Baby, They’re Playing Our Song,” “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy,” and “Susan.” The Buckinghams performed in concerts with their full band during the hiatus and are scheduled to do so again later this month.
Singer/bassist Mark Dawson and guitarist/vocalist Dusty Hanvey bring Grass Roots hits to life (“Temptation Eyes,” “Midnight Confessions,” “Two Divided by Love,” and “I’d Wait a Million Years”). A special part of the shows is Dawson and Hanvey singing and playing, while a film of Rob Grill plays in the background on the video screen, which audiences always appreciate. Even more poignant will be tonight's performance, as it marks one year since Rob Grill's passing. Dawson and Dusty Hanvey have carried forward the music of the Grass Roots with the blessing of Rob's wife Nancy.
Gary Puckett’s baritone rings on “Young Girl,” “Woman, Woman,” “Lady Willpower,” “Over You,” and “This Girl is a Woman Now.” His favorite songs from the days of Gary Puckett and the Union Gap provoke audience singalongs almost instantly. Some who attend the concerts bring their well-worn Columbia 45s for Puckett to sign. His discography is extensive.
Micky Dolenz brings back the hits of The Monkees, including “Pleasant Valley Sunday,” “(I’m Not Your) Stepping Stone,” “I’m a Believer,” and “A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You.” A video tribute to Davy Jones accompanies Dolenz’s performance in poignant memory of Jones’ passing earlier this year. Micky has generously performed in Davy's place in concerts such as Walt Disney World in the past months, in tribute to his fellow Monkee, in addition to his regular full solo concert schedule.
Then, the music (and comedy) of The Turtles, featuring Flo and Eddie, comes to the front of the stage. Each night is different as headliners Mark Volman (Flo) and Howard Kaylan (Eddie) combine fast-paced ad libs with dead-on vocals that showcase some of the most popular singalong hits. The Turtles are the driving force that maintains the high energy of each show.
In fact, audiences are welcome to sing along and they do, and from many of the early venues in the tour, fans posting pictures show the audiences on their feet, not just for a standing ovation but for the entire show. Dancing in the aisles is permitted, when there’s space as many venues such as the Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater were filled.
Video by YouTube user BigDaddy1958: Happy Together Tour at the Plaza Theater Orlando June 12, 2012
Last year, the Happy Together Tour -- which featured five incredible artists performing some of the greatest pop rock of the sixties -- took to the road in celebration of the tour's 25th Anniversary with many of the same artists that shared the stage together in 1985 including The Turtles featuring Flo & Eddie, The Grass Roots and The Buckinghams. The Happy Together Tour 2012 promises to be another good time had by all.
The highlight of the show is the grand finale, where all the artists come on stage together and sing “Happy Together,” thus concluding the evening’s return to the 60s. Meet and greets with the artists are popular parts of the show and Facebook traffic shows the popularity of these sessions, as evidence by fans posting pictures with the artists on their individual Facebook pages after each show.
Ahead this week:
Wed. July 11 San Diego, CA Humphrey’s Concerts by the Bay
Thur. July 12 Santa Ynez, CA Chumash Casino
Fri. July 13 Sacramento, CA California State Fair
Sat. July 14 Costa Mesa, CA Orange County Fair, Pacific Amphitheatre
Sun. July 15 Fountain Hills, AZ Fort McDowell Casino
Mon. July 16 Santa Fe, NM Buffalo Thunder Resort & Casino
Tue. July 17 Sandy, UT Sandy City Amphitheatre
Tonight’s show at the scenic Humphrey’s by the Bay is sold out, just another indication of how Baby Boomers are embracing these high energy shows.
Later this month, the tour will return to the northeast United States before concluding with 17 shows this August.
Fri. July 27 Bangor, ME Waterfront Park
Sat. July 28 Asbury Park, NJ Paramount Theatre
Sun. July 29 Vienna, VA Filene Center at Wolf Trap
Mon. July 30 Bethlehem, PA Musikfest Café at ArtsQuest Center
In total, 43 audiences will have the opportunity to see the Happy Together Tour this summer, almost twice as many as in the 2011 tour. And the hits just keep on coming.
Here's a pic of Marie with Grass Roots' lead singer, Mark Dawson