Monday, July 18, 2011

The Happy Together Again Tour : First Report From The Road

While the recent death of Rob Grill, lead singer of The Grass Roots, may have cast a dark cloud of sadness at the start up of this year's Happy Together Again Tour, we're still hearing really good things from some of the fans on the list who have seen it. 

If you've got tickets to see the show in your area, drop us a line and let us know what you thought.  Meanwhile, we're also hoping to share reports filed by some of the artists performing again this year ... like today's "First Report From The Road", courtesy of Howard Kaylan of The Turtles.

But first ... here's one from the spectator seats, as experienced through the eyes and ears of FH Reader Eddie Burke!
Hey Kent,   
I saw the Happy Together 2011 Show last night at the Oakdale Theater in Wallingford, CT, and I’m very happy to tell you that the show was excellent!!  A very fast paced show with pre-taped introductions of each group by Shaddoe Stevens. The Turtles / Flo & Eddie touring band served as the “house band” for all the groups and played all the material very well ... excellent musicians, with bass, lead guitar, drums, keyboards and synthesizer (all horns, flute etc done on synthesizer as well) and backing vocals. Throughout the show there were many jokes about gray hair and aging and such, very funny, the majority of the crowd was well over 40. As I said, fast paced with no more than 5 minutes or less (literally) between groups. 
The Buckinghams were on first and played all their hits and were funny bantering with each other and the audience and Carl squeezed into an old Bucks long jacket from the ’68 era and Nick nudging him to try and button it.  LOL. I had seen Dennis Tufano many years ago when he toured with Olivia Newton-John, but had never seen the Buckinghams before and I was so glad to see and hear those songs performed live.  (“Susan” is a particular long-time favorite of mine and they got some good audience sing along on it). Great job guys!

Next up was the Grass Roots, (minus Rob Grill, of course, who they mentioned and asked for prayers) and they were very good, also playing some of their best songs with great harmonies with the backing band. I had seen them a few times before and was not at all disappointed ... they were better than I expected.

The third group was the Association, who did all their big hits with slightly mixed results. A few times the harmonies were off a bit and it seemed to be one person in particular (who shall remain nameless) but most of it was quite good with the backing band doing excellent vocals. Oddly, they played “California Dreaming” and the harmonies were fantastic. I had seen them before in ’81 in a reunion show (Double bill w/3 Dog Night w/Chuck Negron) with all the original members that was quite good. Overall, I was not disappointed with their performance.

After a short intermission (y’know us older folks need a bathroom break!) the show continued with Mark Lindsay, who hit the stage like a ball of fire. Very high energy performance and good rapport with the audience, joked about seeing the 60s twice, 1960s and now he’s in his 60s LOL. The band really let loose on his stuff, probably the hardest rocking part of the show, and Mark prowled the stage like a 25 year old, kickin’ and dancing and then slowed it down for a great performance of “Arizona”, another favorite of mine. He played many PRR songs, including Louie, Louie, joking that the Kingsmen had the hit with it, but, PRR got a TV show and many, many hits to follow from it. Great Performance by Mark!
Strange, out of place music started playing and as we recognized it as a Lady Gaga tune, Mark and Howard came out from behind the drums wearing weird white wigs and butterfly wing capes and ran around, then stopped and said “Hey, we don’t play this crap, we’re the Turtles” perfectly cueing the band to launch into “She’d Rather Be With Me” and they were, as usual, excellent!

Great singing and harmonies, all the expected hit songs and plenty of funny bantering. Towards the end of their set they mentioned that Dweezil Zappa had invited them to join the Zappa plays Zappa tour and that they would be doing so later this year after which the band launched into Zappa’s “Peaches En Regalia” instrumental (another favorite) and used their considerable vocal prowess to imitate the saxophone parts (which they also did last summer as part of their Flo & Eddie / Turtles solo shows, funny and very skillfully done) They ended with “Happy Together” of course, with the audience singing along. Before leaving the stage, Mark and Howard started an all-star jam / finale, inviting each group to come back out and do a short segment of one their songs with Mark and Howard acting as backing vocalists. Each group came out and the backing vocals grew and grew with each group contributing to the next groups vocals until the entire “cast” was there and doing a final sing-along of “Happy Together”. Quite entertaining and lots of fun!!
I highly recommend this show to all music fans!! Go see it if you can!!

Eddie Burke
Orange, CT
Sounds like a GREAT show, Eddie ... we're still hoping to catch all the guys when the tour moves through Chicago next month!  (kk)

And this from Howard Kaylan of The Turtles, right before he and Mark Volman (as Flo and Eddie) take a little detour to do the Dweezil Zappa Dweezilla Music Camp! (kk)
Hiya Kent!
Just a quick hello as we wrap up the first portion of this Summer's Happy Together Tour in the Northeast. On to Florida and Georgia before Flo and Eddie join Dweezil Zappa in the Catskills for his Dweezilla music camp. Then, the Midwest and the Left Coast by the start of September.

Losing Rob Grill was a huge moral crusher for us all, but Dusty and Mark Dawson are carrying on and the crowds respect their sincere and loving tribute as the Grass Roots continue to rock. The show must go on -- Rob would have wanted it to. 

Great crowds at Westbury, Hyannis, Cohasset, Philly and tonight in Asbury Park. 
Many surprises and, lots of folks have said, it's the best oldies Summer tour ever!
I'll let you guys be the judge. 
Check us out in a city near you.