Monday, December 1, 2014

Reaction to Our Recent Reviews ... Up-Coming Shows ... And A Brand New Reader Review!!!

re:  The Temptations:   
>>>I couldn't find ANY listing for the Otis Williams version of The Temptations at all!!!  I wanted to list play dates for both acts but couldn't find a thing on Otis, as to whether or not he was even still performing at all.  kk   
Kent ...
Here you go ... the REAL Temptations website ...

>>>While doing research for our Temptations piece, I found TWO headlines announcing the passing of Otis Williams when, in fact, nothing could be further from the truth!!!)  kk    
The confusion surrounding the Otis Williams obits is due to the fact that there have been two recording stars with that name.  The leader of the Temptations, of course, and the lead singer of the 1950s R&B group, Otis Williams & the Charms.  Their most memorable hit was “Ivory Tower.”  The Temps’ Otis has told me that this caused confusion among music fans and historians for decades and, yes, the two men had met on occasion as well. 
Scott Paton 
Guessing the same could be true of his bandmate Paul Williams!  (lol)  Thanks, Scott.  (kk)      

re:  Burton Cummings:  
WOW … Kind words indeed. 
Thank you. 
This is flattering and humbling. 
I simply feel the exact same way I did as a teenager in my first band. It's all I've ever really worked at. Thanks again ... 
Well deserved ... and thank you for posting our review on both your Facebook page and official website ... our site views went thru the roof again!  Thanks, Burton!  (kk)   

I had no idea what a Burton Cummings fan I was until I took your advice and bought tickets to his show at the Arcada Theater.  I knew nearly ever song!  I guess I just never equated the name Burton Cummings with all of the great Guess Who music I grew up with.  A surprising delight - and an excellent concert!  Thanks again.  

Hi Kent,
I  enjoyed your review of Burton Cummings and it's good to know that his voice hasn't changed.  I am glad that he has gone back to entertaining. It sounds like a great show. 
Thanks, too, for the information about the upcoming movie, Wrecking Crew.  I definitely want to check this movie out.  Sounds like an excellent " rockumentary".   
Some good news that you will be happy to hear ... the local am oldies station I am keeping on in my car now has increased the number of songs in their repertoire and the broadcasting distance in which the station is heard and there is a much stronger signal with less static.  (I used to be a DJ in at the college radio station, many moons ago so I am aware of these things.)  It was great hearing such "forgotten hits" as "Five O'Clock World, "Bristol Stomp" and  "These Eyes."  And the best part is that it is all free. Its not Sirius radio.  WMTR rocks ... check out website for a complete list of the last 100 songs played over radio. Yes, I believe in miracles ... :)  By the way, America and Judy Collins and Tommy Roe all look great ... and you, too!!!  :)

re:  More On The Little River Band:
Hi ya Kent ...
Wow, this story about LRB has grown legs. I guess a few of my prejudices came out in my original post but the point of view from here in Australia is that the later ‘hits’ weren’t the real LRB. In a lot of ways, LRB were considered in Australia to be a clone band of US acts like the Eagles, Poco, and America and you might find that after their success most Australian acts had a sound more typically ‘Australian’ rather than an imitation of US bands.
In regards to their leaving our shores to find fame, this is a typical story from that period about Australian acts.  LRB, like other bands before them (Bee Gees), had a string of hits here before heading overseas, simply because the overseas market is so much bigger. Australia’s population at the time would have been around 16 million, which is a relatively small market. The chances of an act having success in the US and European markets, while being based in Australia was negligible and there were acts like the Dingoes who tried it ... and failed.
Glenn Shorrock had already tried a series of songs that targeted the US market (with his band Axiom) with little or no success, although these tracks did have success here in Australia. LRB’s song Cool Change, although a big hit, wouldn’t be considered a national song. It did garner some cred with surfers after it featured in an Aussie surf film but didn’t have the impact of say Men at Works’ ‘Down Under’.
I still think the biggest part of the puzzle is how LRB or their management never registered or protected their name. It was a fair while after they had made it big before they lost control of the LRB name (???)
Thanks again Kent ... this has been a very interesting thread ... the story from both sides of the Pacific makes for great reading.
It certainly HAS "grown legs" ... and I think that's important ... I'm still amazed that I had never heard about ANY of this before your first email arrived ... I would have thought this would have been a little bit bigger story here in The States ... so I'm glad to help spread the word (or, at the very least, dissect the evolution.  That's why I found that timeline chart to be so helpful.)
Reiterating again, the group that we saw (with Wayne Nelson in the lead) put on a VERY good and entertaining show.  My biggest objection is these guys taking credit for all that came before them ... which includes each and every one of The Little River Band's biggest hits.  NONE of these guys (Nelson included) were part of those recordings ... or part of the band that recorded them.  THAT's my point in exploring this story in the detail that we have.  (kk)

From the perspective of one born in the first wave of the WWII baby boom generation, in reading about the 'fake' bands out there, I had the thought that anybody who'd pay to see these singers billed as the real deal are probably also eating Great Value brand 'cheerios' and don't care very much as long as they're pretty good.  And let's face it ... in 2014, it'd be a feat for 50s & 60s hit group members to put on a show with all the band members awake, if even still alive.  Sure, there are phenoms ... the Peter Noones and Paul McCartneys & Mick Jagger ... and some may be a little irascible like your review of Johnny Rivers hinted he may be, but we still love them. 
People have been attending the medicine show and buying the elixir before and since Dorothy exposed the Wizard.  I don't for a minute enjoy the little sideshows at theme parks any less because the quick change artist singers aren't the originals, but they are still very talented and put on a good show.  So, yeah, frauds should be exposed, but, as you said, buyer beware.  Let's also support the amateur novices putting on shows in our local schools ... some of whom will be the stars of tomorrow. 
As we all get older ... and our idols get older ... it is less and less like to see the original ANYTHING anymore.  (We saw The Spinners over the weekend and they're down to their last original member, too ... and he really doesn't sing any of the leads.  I would have to imagine that the Otis Williams version of The Temptations would be pretty much the same thing, as Otis was never really the "featured vocalist" on any of The Temp's hits.)  As long as they make a valiant effort to put on an entertaining show that stays true to the sound of the original band, MOST people don't mind.  (And, from what I understand, Otis' version of The Temptations features some KILLER lead singers that do justice to the original material ... what else are you going to do when all of the original lead vocalists have since passed on???)
But I still feel that there really ought to be SOME acknowledgement that these shows are TRIBUTES to The Spinners.  (It was nice to see that The Spinners' lead guitarist is the SON of original founding member Bobbie Smith ... and that the Dennis Edwards version of The Temptations Review features Paul Williams, Jr., on vocals.  THAT to me is not only a nice touch but shows respect to the band that allows THESE guys to still take the stage every night after all these years!)  kk

Ok Kent -
Since you feel that way, why not say the same about Ringo? He is not an original Beatle.
Clapton, Beck, and Page are not original Yardbirds.
My friend Aritimus Pyle is not an original member of Lynyrd Skynyrd but they put him in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
We've already addressed the Ringo aspect ... EVERYTHING commercially released by The Beatles during their worldwide phenomenon featured Ringo has their drummer ... I don't think you could find a single band on the planet (other than perhaps The Ides Of March) where the same guys who first stepped foot in their basement or garage ended up remaining members through every evolution of the band ... as we all know, it just doesn't work that way in rock and roll.
The only reason Clapton, Beck and Page have drawn the attention they have as former Yardbirds is because of what they became AFTER they left The Yardbirds.  The Yardbirds didn't benefit by any resounding success while these guys were onboard ... it's all who they became afterwards.  (And if you're next going to tell me that you consider The Yardbirds a viable comparison to The Little River Band situation because Wayne Nelson has achieved the same success and notoriety of Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page, let's just end this conversation NOW and put it to bed permanently ... 'cause you ain't never gonna win THAT argument either!!!  I doubt that one out of a hundred people would even recognize Nelson's name ... again, not a slam ... just a fact!)
And as for your Artimus Pyle analogy, we ALL know how credible The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame is ... there was a HUGE controversy last year because latter-day members of Kiss weren't allowed in, even though they had spent a significant amount of the band's history as part of the line-up.  Yet apparently they must have bent those same rules on the Lynyrd Skynyrd thing.  (By the way, you might come across as a closer "friend of Artimus Pyle" had you spelled his name correctly!  Another big difference between Pyle and Nelson ... he actually played drums on all of Lynyrd Skynyrd's hit records ... so more of a Ringo situation again.  You'll notice that Pete Best and deceased member Stuart Sutcliffe were NOT inducted into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame alongside John, Paul, George and Ringo.  They were, in fact, means to an end ... and not much more.)  Since about their third year of inception The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame has had no rhyme or reason to its existence or logic ... MOST people today don't even pay attention anymore (and that includes many of the musicians currently enshrined ... in addition to the countless others that have been unceremoniously overlooked time and time again due to the jaded viewpoint of the powers that be that control the nominating process.) 
Word to the wise:  Putting The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame up as a "credible source" in any argument will pretty guarantee your losing that argument ... not a good idea!  (kk)

Kent, you said Wayne Nelson joined after the hits?  I just found this:
>>>After finishing their U.S. tour in January 1979, bassist McArdle left after one final appearance with the band at the Nambassa Music & Alternatives Festival in New Zealand on 29 January 1979. He went on to take up Bible study, eventually pursuing a path as a minister. Barry Sullivan took over on bass until American Wayne Nelson, currently the group's lead singer, joined in April 1980. In 1981, he provided lead vocals for their Top 10 U.S. hit "Night Owls", the debut single from their Time Exposure album and shared duties with Shorrock on the next single "Take It Easy On Me".  Time Exposure had been recorded in Montserrat with famed Beatles producer George Martin.
Actually what I said was:
>>>A guy who joins a band five years in ... and after all of their Top Ten Hits have been released ... is NOT an "original" member.  That's not just my opinion ... that's a cold, hard fact.)  This is taking nothing away from Wayne Nelson ... he DID appear on some of the band's last charting singles ... and he's put in thirty years with the outfit ... that's longer than any other member of the band has stuck it out ... certainly this qualifies him for SOME entitlement and notoriety ... but it DOESN'T make him an original member of the band ... or "the last original" member ... you can't just rewrite this one little piece of history and call it a "fact".  (kk) 
By the time Nelson was a member, The Little River Band had already been together for over five years and had nine of their sixteen chart hits, including the Top Ten smashes "Reminiscing", "Lady", "Lonesome Loser" and "Cool Change".  Nelson had absolutely NOTHING to do with these hits that he now refers to as his own in concert.  For the record, Nelson did NOT sing lead on "The Night Owls" ... that distinction belongs to John Farnham.  (Check the credits listed on their Greatest Hits CD and you'll see this to be the case.)  The other Top 20 Hits that followed ... "Take It Easy On Me", "Man On Your Mind" and "The Other Guy" ... were all written by original members Graham Goble (three of the above) and Glenn Shorrock ("Man On Your Mind").  We've already covered the story behind "Take It Easy On Me" ... Shorrock sang the lead on the album but Producer George Martin always preferred the Wayne Nelson lead vocal ... so after Glenn Shorrock left the band, ALL of the subsequent releases have featured Nelson's lead vocal ... but that's NOT the way the song was originally recorded.  Sorry, but under these circumstances, I cannot rank him with "equal credit" with the guys who created the music and started the band.  But I repeat what I stated earlier ... "Nelson DID appear on some of the band's last charting singles ... and he's put in thirty years with the outfit ... that's longer than any other member of the band has stuck it out ... certainly this qualifies him for SOME entitlement and notoriety ... but it DOESN'T make him an original member of the band".  Period.
I now declare this debate over ... as it is clear to me that neither one of us is EVER going to convince the other of our position on this topic.  Suffice to say The Little River Band created some INCREDIBLE music over the years that have stood the test of time ... and it was through the combined efforts of a variety of players over the years that allowed this to happen.  However, there were only SIX original members ... and Wayne Nelson, for all that he has done, wasn't one of them.  The founding members include Glenn Shorrock, Rick Formosa, Beeb Birtles, Graham Goble, Roger McLachlan and Derek Pellicci ... and the distinction of "Original Members" belongs to those six ... and ONLY those six ... and NOBODY else.  (kk)

The Simple Facts Of Life ...
Like it or not, we're ALL getting older ... it seems that rarely a week goes by where we aren't reporting the death(s) of some of our musical heroes from back in the day.  The day will come where NO original members exist anymore.  Will these band cease to exist?  Is radio right ... eventually this music will just die out as will its prime listening audience.  We'll all just become extinct (like the dinosaurs they already believe us to be???)
Chet Coppock states below that as long as the band remains true to the sound of the original band he can still enjoy the concert.  I get that ... it's all about the music.  As stated previously, MY biggest object is when they try to con the audience (who paid good money for their tickets) into believing that they ARE the original real deal when, in fact, nothing can be further from the truth.
Band turn-over is a natural thing ... it's existed since the beginning of time.  Members leave to start solo careers ... then often try to come back when they realize that the grass isn't always greener on the other side. 
So it was quite comical to receive this link from FH Reader Frank B this week, showing bands who have gone through the most members over their evolution of time.  (65 different members?!?!  Wow!!!)
I'm sure this list just barely scratches the surface ... but it still makes for a fun read":  (kk)

In early 1969 an agent (here in SoCal) wanted our band to pose as Jay & Americans for a show in San Jose. (We had a few of their songs in our repertoire). I didn't want to do it but the leader thought it would be cool, so we flew up and did it. We were in and out very quickly so I didn't even see any of the other acts perform, but it was my understanding that there was a fake Shirelles, fake BJ Thomas and a kid named Little Dion, who was somewhat known from a West Coast bandstand-type show. The MC was Wolfman Jack. This was when he was still on the Mexican radio station and wore black makeup for appearances.  I should add that, to his credit, Wolfman didn't introduce us directly as "Jay & the Americans." He simply mentioned a few of their hits  - "You've heard "Crying", you've heard ... "etc. - and then he said, "Here they are!"
I've backed several fake oldies acts on club gigs, so I have several such stories.
Gary E. Myers / MusicGem

And, in honor of The Little River Band, "Happy Anniversary Baby!!!"
Forgotten Hits celebrated our 15th Year this past week ... so congratulations to us ... AND, Happy Anniversary to Me and Mrs. K, too ... we just hit #13!

Hi Kent,
Congratulations on 15 FANTASTIC YEARS of Forgotten Hits!!
You are the MASTER of all ...
Well, I don't know about ALL ... but it HAS been a pretty fun and rewarding fifteen years!  Thanks, Carolyn!  (kk)

re:  Forgotten Hits Concert Reviews:
Hi Kent,
I've been thoroughly enjoying your recent concert reviews.  You should really consider penning more of these for a local publication out there in your spare time (ha!).
You're so lucky to have a venue such as the Arcada Theater in your area that specializes in booking legacy acts.  There's nothing comparable here in the Baltimore - DC corridor, and even if there was, it's been years since there was an oldies station in either metro area, so the most organic means of promotion for such a venture would be non-existent.
Oops, did I say "oldies station."  According to the genius consultants who program the 250-song format at the remaining outlets around the country, it now must be referred to as the "greatest hits" format.  I wouldn't be averse to that if the playlists even remotely lived up to the new moniker.
I've always said, "Read the children's book, 'The Emperor's New Clothes,' and you'll know everything you need to know about radio programming."  There have always been a small percentage of brilliant programmer / broadcasters in the business, and a whole lot of dummies.  And sadly, over the decades, the opportunities for the medium to nurture and allow the natural talents to develop have dwindled.
Living in an absolutely dismal region for radio, I listen exclusively to NPR and a Triple-A-format, university-based station, WTMD 89.7, which is my exclusive broadcast window to new music.  A decently programmed oldies (er, "greatest hits") format in this area would be a goldmine.  No pun intended.  Then we could build that theater for heritage acts.
Please note how I tried to make that digressive rant circle back to its original premise!
Thanks as always, Kent, for the good work and fellowship!
Scott Paton

Hey Kent,
I'm glad you got to see and hear The Spinners at the Arcada. I was fortunate to catch their very entertaining show, seven years ago, when Bobbie Smith and Pervis Jackson were still around. Bobbie is one of my singing heroes, and still had that "smooth-as-glass" voice, after all those years. Thanks for featuring a couple of their songs on FH. "Games People Play"(the album version) is never heard on today's pop stations. That's composer, Thom Bell, on the two-fingered piano solo! Pervis ended up with the nickname, "12:45", because of his bass-vocal solo. I have mixed feelings about "Rubber Band Man". It's a fun, entertaining song and Philippe Wynne (formerly Phillip Walker) did a masterful job on lead vocal. Unfortunately, after it became a big hit, Wynne hired his own manager, and the two called a meeting with the rest of the guys to demand that the name of the group be changed to Philippe Wynne and the Spinners, or he was going to walk. The guys stated that they had always been a team and had been identified with that name since the mid-50s, so "See ya later, Philippe"! After practically hiring him off the streets, this is how he thanks them? I admire them for how they handled the situation. I hope The Spinners will visit this part of the country soon, because I will be there!
- John LaPuzza

By the way, we've dressed up our review of The Spinners / Ray Parker, Jr. concert with some GREAT photos supplied to us by Arcada Theatre Photographer Luciano Bilotti ... scroll back and check it out!  (kk)

Hey Kent,
And another stellar review on your part.  I would have loved to have seen that show, especially the Ray Parker, Jr. segment, whom I knew a bit when I lived in L.A.  He always said that he played that great guitar lick on "It's A Shame," but I think he was simply playing it on the road.  I don't know that the Funk Brothers would have had a 14-year-old sit in with them on a session, even when "Little" Stevie Wonder was producing!
It's funny how we will accept a group with only a single original member left in the line-up (The Spinners) due to the attrition of time and nature versus a calculated re-staging of personnel (Little River Band).
Happy Thanksgiving, Kent!
When members of the original group have died (and The Spinners have lost FOUR of their five original members!), one really doesn't have much of a choice.  Yes, there are certain groups who probably should just hang it up at some point and figure that they've milked it for everything it was worth ... remaining Spinner Henry Famrbough was never a main focal point in the band ... he didn't handle the majority of the lead vocals (if any at all), but he HAS retained 60 years of loyalty ... so it's kinda tough to draw a hard line.  (Kinda like Otis Williams and The Temptations ... all of the other original members have passed before him ... and even though Otis was never really the main attraction, he WAS the "constant" that carried the band through the decades.)  At least these guys have "true ties" to the legacy ... once they go, I wonder if (or how) these musical institutions will carry on.  (kk)

This is reality. I know it irritates a lot of people when they go to see an oldies act and the originals or at least most of them just aren't there.
Who wouldn't want to see Levi Stubbs, Phillipe Wynn, David Ruffin or Eddie Kendricks one more time?
But, this is how I choose to "grade" the "newcomers."
If they allow my imagination to wander, if they essentially replicate the sound that I loved in my teens, 20's and 30's, I really can easily overlook the personnel issue.
I emceed an oldies show with "The Flamingos" about ten years ago and I swear there wasn't an original to be found, but when they broke into "I Only Have Eyes For You" and just nailed it - big time - I was completely enamored.
Yes, we loved our musical heroes ... .but as long as the sound evokes memories and positive vibes, who could ask for anything more?
That's why I love Ronnie Onesti. Ronnie recognizes that we want the "sound."
Best example ... Paul Revere and the Raiders. Sure, I'd love to see Mark Lindsay ... but the group with its current lineup is so accomplished and enjoyable that I really don't care who the bass player is.  (By the way, I suggested that with Paul's demise that the group travel as "A Tribute to Paul Revere and the Raiders." Why not?
Chet Coppock
Actually, they're carrying on as "Paul Revere's Raiders", which is exactly the way Paul wanted it ... he set this up once he realized he would not be returning to the road again.  Paul Revere's Raiders return to The Arcada Theatre next May ... and I can't wait to see them.  Meanwhile, Mark Lindsay is still in fine voice and puts on a heck of a show, most recently as part of the Happy Together line-up.  Ron's got some GREAT shows coming up for 2015 ... already booked are The B-52's, Billy Ocean, Rare Earth, Howard Jones, Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, Jefferson Starship, The Smithereens, The Charlie Daniels Band, Taylor Dayne, The Orchestra (featuring members of Electric Light Orchestra), The Purple Rain Party starring Morris Day and the Time, George Clinton and Parliament / Funkadelic, Edgar Winter with Rick Derringer and Herman's Hermits featuring Peter Noone. 
Complete details on the OShows Website ...  (kk)

Speaking of which ...

Hi Kent -
Was the Leann Rhimes Christmas Concert cancelled at the Arcarda theater? I thought she was scheduled to be there in December? If so, why?
Thank you so much!
Not to my knowledge ... in fact, we talked about going to that.  (We're heading off next weekend to see The Nelsons and The Cadillac Cassanovas for THEIR Christmas show ... one of the best double bills we saw all year was this pairing ... and the pot has been sweetened because Ron added The Cowsills to the bill, who I had to miss the last time they were here.  We can't wait!  That'll be next Friday, December 5th.
I just took my own advice and just checked the OShows Website ... and LeAnn Rhimes is still scheduled to appear on Thursday, December 18th!  Maybe we'll see you there!  (And The Ides Of March are scheduled for Saturday, the 13th, too!  Ronnie Spector will do HER Christmas Show on Sunday, December 7th!)  kk

And here's some news about a couple of other interesting upcoming concerts ...
This first one boasts a very unique line-up of artists ...
PITTSBURGH'S ROCKIN' REUNION will feature Hit-Makers Lou Christie, Jimmy Beaumont and the Skyliners, Donnie Iris, Chuck Blasko's Vogues, The Marcels, and Jimmie Ross and the Jaggerz. Even though all of the artists are friends who have performed together on the road from time to time, they have never performed all together on one stage -- until now.

And then this from Ron Dante (who we're trying to bring to Chicago for a special Bubblegum Concert at The Arcada Theatre!) ...
Hi Kent -
Great column as always.
I'm doing a show in Los Angeles with some very special guest stars.  
It will be at The Catalina Jazz Club date with my friends Bo Donaldson, Dennis Tufano plus, sitting in that night, Frank Stallone, James Darren, Kyle Vincent and The Cascades lead singer, John Claude Gummo. It all takes place in Hollywood on December 4th. 
Here is the link to tickets for my show at The Catalina Jazz Club in Hollywood, CA:    Ron DANTE & Friends with:Bo DON... at Catalina Bar & Grill on Thursday, Dec 04, 2014 8:30 PM PST

The Genesee Theatre in Waukegan has just booked Foreigner for an appearance in March!  Details on their website:  Click here: Genesee Theatre :: Events

re:  The British Invasion Tour:
More dates have been added to the 2015 British Invasion Tour ... and I am happy to report that the show will be stopping in Chicago this time ... Peter Asher (of Peter and Gordon), Chad and Jeremy, Billy J. Kramer, Mike Pender (of The Searchers), Denny Laine (of The Moody Blues and Wings) and Terry Sylvester (of The Swinging Blue Jeans and The Hollies) will be appearing at The City Winery on Saturday, March 7th.
More dates below ... and more dates are being added.  (In fact, we secretly working on adding a SECOND Chicago date as I type this!!!  Stay Tuned!)  kk
Sun 2/22/15 - Rams Head On Stage, Annapolis, MD
Wed 2/25/15 - Union County Performing Arts Center, Rahway, NJ
Thurs 2/26/15 - The Wilbur Theater, Boston, MA
Fri 2/27/15 - American Music Theatre, Lancaster, PA
Sat 2/28/15 - Tarrytown Music Hall Tarrytown, NY
Sun 3/1/15 - The Birchmere Alexandria, VA
Wed 3/4/15 - The Kent Stage Kent, OH
Fri 3/6/15 - The Pabst Theatre Milwaukee, WI
Sat 3/7/15 - The City Winery, Chicago, IL
Sun 3/8/15 - Pantages Theatre (Minneapolis, Minnesota)

re:  And A Brand New Concert Review:
Time in New England is, to me, a beautiful song that epitomizes the beauty of my area, as well as falling in love.  I have two get-away musical weekend interludes this November.  One was this past weekend.  The first concert was in Rhode Island, the second in New York State.  Since Herman's Hermits starring Peter Noone appeared in both, I will overlap the reviews into a fall musical tapestry.

I could not WAIT to leave school.  It is the retail holiday season and I am wheeling and dealing with my store, working extra hours at odd times, to enable me to GET AWAY.  For school, the over 300 sick days I have accumulated, are being used.  *Cough Cough*.  These things are not secrets to my superiors, so I feel free to write about them.  They know it keeps me sane, and sanity in both jobs is a plus.  So off to my friend's house and then ON TO RHODE ISLAND. 

I am given my ticket at the theatre.  The friend that I picked up was the one in charge of purchasing.  I was hotel booker on this leg.  I walk to my front row seat, directly in front of a monitor, with the stage at my eye level.  I turn and say, "We are no longer friends."  NECK CRAMPS!  The front row of people at this venue looks like a flock of baby birds ... probably hungry at that, even though all have just eaten.  My pictures look like aliens glowing on stage.  But the concert was great!  Worth driving, worth rushing, worth my new neck brace and upcoming spinal surgery.  Thank you Peter Noone, Vance Brescia, Rich Spina, Billy Sullivan, and Dave Ferrara.  I will move on because we will revisit this group next in New York.

Schenectady, New York!  Proctor's Theatre!  Hotel within walking distance, and seats in the middle of the theatre.  Mine being dead center!  It is the annual SIXTIES SPECTACULAR!  Are you ready?  It was pretty wild!

I am thankful for the local radio stations who send their DJ's to these events to emcee while the band set-ups change.  Their support keeps these concerts continuing each year.  Opening act is THE HAPPENINGS. 

As I have already related, I have a personal connection to The Happenings and always enjoy these concerts.  Bob Miranda ... how can one person smile so much?  And keep jumping like he's a pogo stick?  Not ON a pogo stick ... he is merged with this toy.  The regulars on this team are Three Bobs and a George.  They also brought in the horns for this performance.  I always love the 60's Spectacular at Proctor's Theatre in Schenectady.  It is packed, the audience is psyched, and everyone gets involved.  This is no truer than when The Happenings sing 'Proud to be an American'.  I had already decided that when the phrase, 'and I'd gladly stand up' was sung I would indeed, this time, have the courage to stand.  Well someone beat me to this.  A man down front stood up at the beginning of the song, and valiantly motioned the audience to rise with him.  Most, if not all of the audience, did so.  Growing up, we must learn self-control ... in concerts I try to induce fun, participation, and personal enjoyment without adding obnoxious actions.  It's nice when others do the same.  Thank you, Sir!  You did a good job!

Next up?  Dennis Tufano!  My first time viewing Dennis in concert.  No, I don't know him.  Let's move on.  He surprised me in a wonderful way.  He is lively, energetic and in good vocals.  No particular reason I am surprised.  Remember, I just said I have never seen him, so I have no pre-conceived expectations.  He can't ignore his Buckingham past, so he embraces it with some opening songs.  His Bobby Darin medley, which must come from his solo shows, is grabbed by the audience, who not only remembers Bobby, but also the words to his songs.  The emceeing DJ's really like Dennis.  They bring him back onstage after he has left to praise him and his work.  The one thing I missed at this show were The 1910 Fruitgum Co. songs.  I missed a concert in October, where they were part of the performance.  Here, they were Tufano's backup band, but did not perform separately.  Maybe next time ... I plan on attending again after enjoying this one.

Mitch Ryder?!  Yeah, again I get to enjoy this artist fresh from The Happy Together Tour.  He adds some psychedelic 60's to his set, which received mixed reviews from the audience as I listened to comments afterward.  However, there were two men seated in the row ahead of me who obviously loved it, and they had not seemed to enjoy the other parts of the concert as much.  I believe he was giving tribute to The Hendrix Experience and The Rolling Stones, who definitely were a huge part of the 60's.  A person of great importance in the planning of this show was heard to state that he had not been sure Mitch's inclusion would work.  Well, I would have enjoyed hearing more Mitch Ryder and The Detroit Wheels songs than were performed, but HEY!  The Sixties were a time of contradictions and multiple music choices.  The man is from the sixties for sure, stating that he did not fit in when the psychedelic sound emerged, and at that time, was not in to drugs as that wash of new sound appeared to be.  He admits to drinking ... and swallowing.

The first act ended with BJ Thomas.  I guess I saw him the night after you, Kent.  Therefore, I did not read your review on his concert.  This was also the first time I had seen BJ perform and I did not want to be swayed.  Promise, I will read it after I push the 'send' button.  Unlike the other performers, when BJ was announced he appeared on stage to applause only.  No music intro from his band.  They just stood there.  He asked if he had come out too early as his band did not seem ready.  But at no time did the band even attempt to start the music until BJ said, "OK, let's get the music going."  So maybe this is the way it was planned.  I will read your take, Kent.  Off to a slow start, but once he began, I was in love with hearing his music live for the first time.  Several members of the audience made it clear they did not ever want him to leave the stage.  He did make a comment about time ending, and then proceeded to say that even so ... he was going to sing more songs.  Having never seen BJ and his band perform, I would classify them in the 'laid back and easy' category.  At times he almost seemed shy and reserved.  Toward the end of his set, he made a comment about all the time they have spent on the road during this tour, and he apologized for himself and his band being tired and not being up to snuff.  That may have been what I saw, but I have nothing to compare it to.  The staunch vocal supporters in the crowd did not seem to notice.  Oh I absolutely must see another concert to compare.

Intermission, and there is only one more group to perform.  I am a little concerned.  It was a heavy first act, and parts of  the audience were so supportive, particularly of BJ Thomas.  Will it be naptime for me?  Ah, NOOOOO!  Someone obviously knew what needed to be done, and did it.  From the moment the Hermits hit the stage, they were vibrant.  The crowd went into shock, not expecting this, but soon joined in with our clapping and Peter prepping.  Peter Noone came out as if shot from a canon, and there is victory in the last set.  I have often said that if the American Revolution had been fought in the 1960's with music, we might be singing 'God Save the Queen' in its entirety at concerts.  Imagine it though ... Beatles invade, Surf music splashes back, 2nd wave of British Invasion sets in.  We throw the Chicago groups, folk rock, bubblegum and psychedelic sounds back.  Who knows how this might have changed history.  I am glad we didn't fight with music in 1776.  I have listened to it.  It was just awful!!  Both sides have greatly improved musically since colonial times.  At the end of the concert, there was a mass of humans, shoulder to shoulder, trying to get to the autograph table for pictures of Peter Noone who was signing autographs.  I turned right, walked to the hotel and relived a wonderful night of memories, knowing that in two weeks, it would happen again.

Shelley J Sweet-Tufano