Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Happy Together Again Tour

The Happy Together Again Tour finally makes its way into the Chicago area this evening with a performance at the Genesee Theatre in Waukegan.  If any of our readers are planning on attending the concert, we'd love to run your reviews next week.  (Of course this goes for ANY of the stops left on the remainder of the tour!)

Today we've got a few comments to share with you ... an absolutely POSITIVE review ... a surprisingly NEGATIVE review ... and a plea from a Rob Grill fan for the remainder of the tour.  (We've even got a vintage Turtles clip to share with you today!)

Here goes:

After reading all the good reviews on FH, I purchased tickets to the Happy Together Again tour. 
I was not disappointed ... it was outstanding!

All the groups were great.  I can’t say one negative thing.
I didn’t catch the name of the singer who took Rob Grill's place, but he was right on. 
All the acts had a lot of energy for people who are not young anymore. (That would be my age.)

Now comes the good part.  We went backstage after the show and talked to all the performers. I have to admit for a 65 year old man I felt like a groupie!  They all were great.  Talking to us, posing for pictures, telling us stories about the old days.
If you get a chance to see this show, don’t pass it up.  It’s more than worth the price of admission.  Looking forward to next year already.
Joe Fuller
Exactly what we would expect from such a stellar line-up of artists.  Between them, The Turtles, The Association, Mark Lindsay, The Grass Roots and The Buckinghams had over FIFTY Top 40 Hits in the '60's ... we've heard VERY good things throughout the tour.  (kk)
Which is why we were SO surprised to receive this letter from a disgruntled fan who saw the tour on the east coast when it first opened.  Normally, I don't run emails from folks without anything positive to say (unless some constructive criticism might inspire and artist to change their approach to their performance.)  The big negative here seems to be the whole "old folks" theme that runs throughout the show.  We covered this recently in Forgotten Hits as part of our "What Is An Oldie?" series.  For the most part, we found that the MAJORITY of our readers ... and oldies music fans ... don't mind the "oldies" name tag ... we all acknowledge the fact that this music is from 40-something years ago and we don't care ... we LOVE it!!!  And hey, we're ALL getting older!!!  (We've also heard that one of the funniest lines in the show is when Mark Lindsay explains how he's been able to experience the '60's twice ... once during the band's hey-day and now again that he is IN his 60's!!!)

Anyway, presented ONLY from the perspective of constructive criticism (and let's face it ... if we only ran positive reviews we'd border on bias anyway!!!) here comes this not-so-nice critique from FH Reader Bob Kacerow:

I attended the very first concert of the Happy Together tour in Westbury, NY, a few weeks back and would like to share my comments as well. 
Overall, I thought the show was great, surpassed last year’s tour with the inclusion of the Association, and a good value based on the all the groups performing and the ticket cost.
I have two gripes:
1.  The Buckinghams: I’ve seen them many times and they have always put on a great show. I was very disappointed this time. Understanding the tight time format, they chatted more than they performed. They were incessant with their constant references to age, senior citizens, how this was the “senior’s tour”, etc. Enough already. The old-age jokes wear thin after a while. I don’t need to be constantly reminded how old I am. Trying the 60’s jacket on was a further waste of time. They never got to perform many of their songs because they were too busy talking all the time. What were the fans there for? Just shut-up and play already!
    As much as I’m being critical of the Buckinghams constant references to the age of the audience, I feel all the performers were guilty of it. The show was peppered throughout with those comments from all the performers. I just don’t get it. After 3-4 times, where’s the humor? I’m 57 ... maybe they should be gratified that these “senior citizens” still have the desire and the disposable income to attend these shows and stop mocking the audience. Personally, I think Nick Fortuna should cut off his pony-tail and transition to a more current look hair style than trying to hold on to, or preserve some image from the 60’s that really out of date. Nick looks like he’s the one stuck in the 60’s.
.   The Grass Roots: It’s a sham to call them the Grass Roots. Why not just call them the Grass Roots Tribute Band? Without Rob, there are no original members; they have no actual connection to the real Grass Roots other than the fact that Mark Dawson & Dusty Hanvey previously played with Rob Grill. It was well known way before the tour commenced that Rob Grill was not going to participate in this tour due to health constraints, and that was before his fall and further health deterioration. Why include them on the bill? Was that just to infuse some cash for Rob’s on-going medical expenses?
    Other than those two issues, a great tour to see and musical experience. Kudos to the Turtles, Association, & Mark Lindsay.
    Thanks for your consideration.
Bob Kacerow
In order for us to do our job right, we've gotta tell both sides ... otherwise our forum is pointless.  Thanks, Bob ... sorry to hear you had such a bad time at the show.  (kk)
And finally a Happy Together Again Tour plea ...

02 August 2011
Dear Mr. Kotal:
I apologize for sending this unsolicited idea to you, but I guess I'm bold enough to risk somebody getting ticked off at me.  I'm trying to get a real "grassroots" movement going here, but such a thing requires a wider sphere of influence than I have, stuck in a law office 21 hours a day.  Plus, I have no "target audience", no way to get the word out and around -- not even a show to attend to try to coordinate things in an on-site, face-to-face, person-to-person appeal.
But, you being in Chicago, maybe your work can reach some of all those Buckinghams fans headed to see their favorite band this coming weekend?
As we all know, just three weeks ago this year's Happy Together Tour 2011, which is on its way to the Chicago area posthaste, lost one of the all-time great guys on the "oldies" circuit -- Rob Grill, the heart and soul of the GrassRoots.  He was actually not with the tour this year, but everybody hoped he'd be able to join in sometime, somewhere.  Poor Rob seemed to have nothing but bad luck in the health department for the last decade or so, yet he showed up for duty wherever and whenever he felt he could (even when rest would have been the better way to go), and gave it everything he had.  He loved the Grass Roots, he loved the music, and he loved the fans.  Unfortunately for all of us, after the really bad fall in June and the resulting traumatic brain injury, the miracle it would take to pull him through this time just didn't happen.  We shall not look upon his like again.
The sad news is noted during the GrassRoots portion of the Happy Together Tour and, well, the show goes on.  So I have an idea:
When the GrassRoots band (hand-selected by Mr. Grill, by the way) plays "Midnight Confessions", each time they get to the final line of the "in my midnight confessions ..." chorus, specifically the line that goes: "I LO-O-OVE YOU", it would be a great way to let the band know the folks in the audience still have Rob Grill right up front in their GrassRoots thoughts if the crowd were to shout out in unison with that line:  "WE LO-O-OVE YOU, ROB!!"
I don't mean to "shout out" in the usual audience-participation wimpy-wimpy wishy-washy self-conscious mumbly way.  I mean:  People!! Shout it loud, shout it clear, so Rob up in Rock-n-Roll Heaven can hear!!
If you made it this far reading what I have to say, ... wow, THANK YOU for your indulgence.  If you'd like to take the idea and run with it, bless you, young man.  And now we are done here.
Really, thank you.
E. Briggs
Northville, Michigan
Well, I'm happy to pass your plea along to not only our Chicagoland readers (where The Happy Together Again Tour will be appearing this evening at the Genesee Theater in Waukegan) but also to any other fans planning on attending the show elsewhere in the USA later this summer.  Honestly, we've heard from quite a few disappointed fans that The Grass Roots are continuing to perform without a single original member ... but I think out of love and respect for Rob Grill, who hand-picked these guys to carry on the band's name, most folks are giving them a chance (although the majority of these seem to feel that the group should be retitled "A Tribute To Rob Grill and The Grass Roots" rather than carry on the name under what is now essentially false pretenses.)  I've also heard they've been putting on one hell of a show and had hoped to see the show when it passes through here this weekend ... but I don't think we're going to make it out there tonight ... so please report back with your review!  (kk)
And here's a blast from the past ...
Check this out ... The Turtles on Hollywood A Go-Go:

And don't forget the 2003 film "My Dinner with Jimi" by Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan, on their crossing paths with Hendrix.
Ken Voss
Thanks, Ken!  We LOVE "My Dinner With Jimi" ... and are ready to watch it again.  Hoping some of our readers get the chance to catch the guys when they make their way to The Genesee Theatre this evening!  (Be sure to send us a complete report!)  kk
You can still catch The Happy Together Again Tour this summer ...
They've got several more dates scheduled in August ... 
But you'd better hurry ... tickets are selling fast!
August 6th - The Genesee Theatre / Waukegan, IL
August 7th - The Wisconsin State Fair / West Allis, WI
August 10th - The Wild Horse Pass Casino / Chandler, AZ
August 11th - The Chumash Casino / Santa Ynez, CA
August 24th - The Kentucky State Fair / Louisville, KY
August 25th - The Effingham Performance Center / Effingham, IL
August 26th - The Paramount Theatre / Aurora, IL
August 27th - The Corn Palace / Mitchell, SD
August 28th - The Meadows Ballroom at the Prairie Mills Casino / Altoona, IA
August 29th - The Minnesota State Fair / St. Paul, MN