Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Happy Together Tour 2015 - Including A Concert Review From Their Show in Bolingboork, Illinois, on Sunday, August 16h

Hey Kent, 

A short while back I went to see the “Happy Together tour” at the Orange County Fair just outside Los Angeles.  It’s quite a nice venue being an outdoor amphitheater with great facilities, stage, lighting, etc.  It holds around 6 or 7 thousand and was full.  We had 4th row seats which was great except for the one lady in front of us who insisted on standing through the whole show and jumping up and down.    

The only negative comment I have about the show is the same one we get with our shows.  We do a medley of our hits and there is always someone who says "great show but I wanted to hear the full length version of 'Hurt So Bad'", or one of our other hits.    

Now people just don’t understand that a live, in-person show is more than just doing your hits.  It needs to be a  carefully constructed piece of entertainment, and especially for us because the lion's share of our hits are ballads, and a whole show of just ballads does not constitute a very exciting show.    

Anyway, getting back to the Happy Together Tour, they have the same problem with all the acts ... each act only get to do about four songs each because of time constraints, so they do their four biggest hits and people want to hear the others hits, too.  Outside of the limited time and songs, the show was great.  

I was really impressed with the a cappella vocals of the Grass Roots on their opening number with the help of the four piece backup band that played behind all the acts.  I don’t know if these guys were with any particular members of the show or not but they were outstanding.  I suspect they were put together by Flo and Eddie.   

Since the Association are basically out of LA, we were graced by the whole compliment of five Associates instead of just the usual three including Jim Yester who, by the way, a while back for a short time was with the Four Preps replacing my brother (Letterman) Jim Pike when he left to devote full time with The Reunion.   

I would highly recommend the show but there was not enough of it.  I don’t think it would hurt to let each one of the acts add one more song. 

Gary Pike,
formerly of the Lettermen and now of The Reunion     

I think most fans would agree that we would LOVE to see more of each of the individual performers ... but within the context of a show like this, that's almost impossible.  (In fact, it's even harder this year ... normally The Happy Together Tour goes out with five acts ... but this year it's a full SIX headline performers:  The Turtles, The Association, The Cowsills, The Buckinghams, The Grass Roots and Mark Lindsay, former lead singer of Paul Revere and the Raiders.)  

As pointed out in Forgotten Hits several times before, between them these artists have accumulated over SEVENTY Top 40 Hits ... an absolutely INCREDIBLE accomplishment.  (Scroll back to June 28th for a list of the Top 50 combined hits list)  In fact, google "Happy Together" on the Forgotten Hits website and you'll find DOZENS and DOZENS of postings over the past several years.  We have been big supporters of this tour, which is celebrating the 30th Anniversary of their first tour back in 1985!  (That one included The Turtles, The Grass Roots, The Buckinghams and Gary Lewis and the Playboys!)  Incredible to think that THREE of these acts are still out on the road together this year (and Gary Lewis was part of the line-up last year!)  

Even within the context of a three hour show, you can only squeeze in so many hits (along with an intermission for all us old folks who may need to use the bathroom!)  However, I HIGHLY recommend seeing any and all of these acts in the various solo shows they put on throughout the year ... you'll typically get at least 90 minutes from each artist with a much more fan-friendly, full-expanded hit list.  Every one of these acts can still pack the house ... as we saw Sunday Night when we attended the 2015 Bolingbrook 50th Anniversary Jubilee.  

There was very little time wasted ... just a hit after hit assault of great music.  The Grass Roots opened the show in Bolingbrook and played five of their biggest hits:  "I'd Wait A Million Years", "Sooner Or Later", a medley of "Find The Cost Of Freedom" (that's the a cappella number Gary referred to above, performed as a tribute to our troops that segued into a slowed down version of "Let's Live For Today", "Temptation Eyes" and "Midnight Confessions".  That's five MONSTER-sized hits that left no room for other fan favorites like "Two Divided By Love", "Where Were You When I Needed You", "Baby Hold On", "Bella Linda", "Things I Should Have Said", "Lovin' Things", "Heaven Knows" and more.  (Of those 70+ collective Top 40 Hits assembled by this year's line-up, The Grass Roots were responsible for 18 of them.  Even as a medley, you can't cover that may songs in their allotted time slot!  

Next out came The Cowsills, who have been blowing audiences away ever since they went back out on the road.  A great blend of music, humor and story telling made their set fly by ...but not before they squeezed in their five biggest hits:  "The Rain, The Park And Other Things", "We Can Fly", "Indian Lake", "Love American Style" and "Hair".  The audience loved them and didn't want them to leave.  

The Buckinghams closed out the first half of the show with five hits of their own: "Don't You Care", "Mercy Mercy Mercy" (where Carl and Nick did a really nice job of throwing the vocals back and forth ... probably the strongest song of their set),"Hey Baby, They're Playing Our Song", "Susan" (which DIDN'T feature Susan Cowsill coming back out on stage as it has in many of the other shows across the USA) and their chart-topper "Kind Of A Drag".  

After a brief intermission,The Association kicked off Act Two with their four biggest hits:  "Windy", "Never My Love", "Cherish" and "Along Comes Mary".  This time Susan Cowsill DID come out to contribute some backing vocals to these last two tracks.  

And then it was all about Mark Lindsay, who thrilled the audience with his hits barrage of "Where The Action Is", "Just Like Me", "Hungry", "Good Thing", "Indian Reservation" and "Kicks". Mark was in fine voice throughout his segment of the show and the audience definitely wanted more.  No "Arizona" this time ... and his incredibly high leg kicks were held to a minimum ... but there was no question that many of his original fans were in the audience that night.  

And finally, the headliners ... Flo and Eddie ... Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan ... The Turtles ... for whom's hit the tour is named.  

Every year they come up with a new, clever, pop culture inspired opening ... so this time Mark Volman came out dressed as Olaf, the snowman from the hit Disney film "Frozen".  (Makes sense I guess ... you pretty much can't go ANYWHERE without running into these characters these days!)  

The hit attack began with "She'd Rather Be Me With", followed by "It Ain't Me Babe", an introduction to the band:  Greg Smith on bass, Bruce Something (from right here in Evanston) on keyboards (they said they couldn't remember his last night because they always paid him in cash), Steve Murphy on drums and Godfrey Townsend on guitar.  These guys backed up ALL of the acts that took the stage that night.  

After a false start on a Zappa tune (quickly aborted) The Turtles went into "Elenore" and then closed the show with their show-stopper, "Happy Together" ... four songs and that was it!   (By far the shortest performance I've ever seen them give ... and it felt very rushed, too.  Major hits like "You Baby", "You Showed Me" and "She's My Girl" were all missing in action.  You'd think the headliners might have gotten a little more time and, quite honestly, judging by the audience's shocked reaction, I think many of the fans felt cheated in this respect!  Nearly EVERYONE played longer than The Turtles ... and this was THEIR show!!!)  

Then, as they do every year, they brought every act back out for a brief encore performance of one of their hits before doing an ensemble reprise performance of "Happy Together" ... and then it was over.  Three hours pretty much to the minute ... but a GREAT way to close Bolingbrook's 2015 Jubilee.  

If you missed the show ... or simply want to see it again ... you can catch this same line-up at The Paramount Theatre in Aurora Friday Night, August 21st.  I'm told a limited number of seats are still available (and hopefully it won't feel like 110 degrees inside!!!)  

Great show ... great line-up ... great time hanging out with friends and fans of this music.  It looked to me like the lion's share of the crowd was older than The Village of Bolingbrook celebrating its 50th Anniversary this past weekend ... but as Mark Lindsay told us that night ... rock and roll music keeps you young ... and these guys certainly transported up back in time with their great show Sunday Night.  (kk) 

I live less than ten minutes away from Bolingbrook yet, were it not for Forgotten Hits, I would have had absolutely NO idea that The Happy Together Show was going to be appearing there.
I saw nothing advertised on their website or anywhere else for that matter.  SO glad you told us about it so we didn't have to miss this great, great show.
Having Dick Biondi on before the bands was another special surprise ... who hasn't grown up listening to Dick on the radio here in Chicago.
As for the artists themselves, I've ALWAYS been partial to Mark Lindsay ... ever since I was a little girl, he was always my favorite ... and he still looks and sounds great today.
As you have mentioned before on your website, The Cowsills were a very nice surprise ... they put on an excellent show.
All of the artists sounded great ... but I was surprised The Turtles played such a short set, especially since they were the headliners.  I understand that each artist can only perform so many tunes .. but I definitely expected more from the headliners.
Still, a great concert start to finish ... and a great way to spend a beautiful Sunday afternoon.

I, of course, was there to watch the great musical groups last night. Here is my feedback.  
They all were on stage for about 20 minutes. The set-up between each group was very fast and they were able to get the next group on right away.  That was nice. It was a very nice evening with the weather.  
So many people were proclaiming they knew very little in advance of this night of 60's groups. I can only imagine that there was some level of gag order because they are playing again in Aurora in the coming week, and wanted to have the chance of getting PAID fans before going to the free night of music.  
The Grass Roots started the evening off. They did just fine.
Then the Cowsills came out and again they sounded quite energetic.
Then The Buckinghams came out and they, too, sounded just fine.
Then Mark Lindsay came out and he sounded pretty darn good for being 73 years young. Most liked that he sang Indian Reservation.
Then the Association came out and tho I knew it might be a struggle to get close to achieving that sound that they were so good at, I thought they had the hardest time hitting those notes and the harmony was tough. So tough, that they invited Susan Cowsill out to sing some harmony with them.
It ended with Flo and Eddie of the Turtles. I will say this ... I understand the reasons for goofing around and wanting all to have fun, but I wish they would work on singing their songs a bit more seriously since they were such a great band with so many good songs. They really just laughed and pranced around while attempting to do their songs. I hope for those paying a decent price to see them on stage coming up, that they work on being more of a musical group than a comedy act.
Bob from Bolingbrook
There was a bit of a "gag order" due to the Aurora show at The Paramount Theatre ... contractually, Bolingbrook couldn't announce or advertise the show ... which is where we stepped in to get the word out to the fans.
It sounds like many of the folks there had already purchased tickets to the Auora show anyway so I don't think anybody really lost on this deal.  (The Paramount Theatre show sells out every August.)  It was just a REALLY nice way for Bolingbrook to celebrate their 50th year.  Kudos to Bolingbrook Mayor Roger Claar and to Entertainment Director Dale McClannahan, both of whom busted their respective butts to bring this show to The Bolingbrook Performing Arts Center as a way to thank and reward the citizens of Bolingbrook ... our hat is off to you guys!  And I'm glad we could help ... I'd say we had a GREAT turn-out of fans who REALLY enjoyed this show!  (kk)

I was very happy to be able to attend the Happy Together concert performance at Bolingbrook's 50th Anniversary Celebration this past Sunday night.
It was good being able to talk to Forgotten Hits boss man Kent Kotal during intermission.
I'll be looking forward to Kent's concert review but wanted to send along some quick impressions of what I experienced.
The show was preceded by a live interview with radio legend, Dick Biondi. He was interviewed by Bolingbrook's mayor and three guys who were somewhere on the edge of the music business. Biondi is 83 and, considering that, handled himself pretty well. He talked about being the first deejay in America to spin a Beatles record. I wish he would have thrown Kent Kotal a shoutout for being the one to definitively prove that fact. 
The Grass Roots - They sounded okay but neither of the two members were in the original band. I don't like cover bands and they don't belong on the Happy Together roster.
The Cowsills - They sounded absolutely incredible. They are great performers and have a definite stage presence. I was surprised at how enjoyable they were.
The Buckinghams - Their Chicago sound played extremely well. Carl Giammerese's voice is incredible and he hasn't lost any of it over the past 50 years. Excellent performance.
The Association - Oh my God! This was almost unbearable. They sounded so bad, I couldn't believe it. The mix was awful. The organ player was turned up way too high compared to the other musicians. The vocals were horrendous. The three guys missed notes, broke notes and did other travesties to notes that are hard to explain. God, they were bad.
Mark Lindsay - The only criticism here is that Mark's set was too short. I'd gladly pay to see him do a full show by himself. His voice was spot-on and he moved pretty darned well for an old man. I wish he would have taken a couple of seconds to give a little tribute to Paul Revere, who recently passed away. I've never seen Lindsay perform before and am kicking myself for having missed him. This was a five star out of five stars performance.
The Turtles - What can I say? They were exactly what I had expected. A great combination of great singing and wacky showmanship. The set was far too short for a group that has a catalog like they possess. I wonder if the crowd understood the meaning of the little Frank Zappa song snippet that they played. These guys appear to be having a ball on stage.
Howard Kaylan's voice is tremendous and he is quite a showman.
Happy Together - Overall, I give it a solid four out of five. I wish they could have deleted the Grass Roots and the Association and have let the Buckinghams, Cowsills, Mark Lindsay and The Turtles each play an extra tune or two.
Thank you
Steve Sarley 

As someone who grew up with pictures and posters of Mark Lindsay all over my walls, it was fantastic to FINALLY see him perform live.  Why this was my first time to do so is beyond me.  For me, he stole the show ... and hasn't lost ANY of the magic that captured my heart fifty years ago.  He's still got the moves AND the voice.  I'm making it a point to catch his complete solo show so that I can hear all of the other Paul Revere and the Raiders hits he had a hand it singing.  (It would have been nice to hear Arizona, too!)
Second best - The Cowsills - phenomenal ... I can't believe how youthful they still sound ... and the genuinely seemed to be having a ball up there.
I found all of the other acts to be quite entertaining as well but was surprised to see that The Turtles only played four songs ... not at all what I would have expected from the guys the tour is named after!
C'mon guys ... the fans are here to hear ALL of your hits!

The general consensus here seems to be "MORE TURTLES!!!"  As mentioned in my own review, I did feel a little bit "cheated" by such a short performance, especially knowing any many more great hits COULD have been included.  The headliners should have done more than just four hits ... so take that back to the dressing room (or the drawing board!) and give it some thought.  There's still quite a few tour dates left ... give the fans what they want to hear!!!  (kk) 


Wednesday, August 19th - Fraze Pavilion For The Perfroming Arts - Kettering, OH

Thursday, August 20th - Hard Rock Live - Northfield, OH

Friday, August 21st - Paramount Theatre - Aurora, IL

Saturday, August 22nd - Casino Rama Entertainment Centre - Rama, ON

Sunday, August 23rd - Foelinger Theatre - Fort Wayne, IN

Wednesday, August 26th - Effingham Performance Center - Effingham, IL

Thursday, August 27th - Kentucky State Fairgrounds - Louisville, KY

Friday, August 28th - Oaklawn Racetrack - Hot Springs, AR

Saturday, August 29th - Riverside Casino and Gold Resort - Riverside, IA

Sunday, August 30th - Bluestem Center For The Arts - Moorhead,MN

Monday, August 31st - Minnesota State Fairgrounds - Saint Paul, MN

Wednesday, September 2nd - Mahoning County Fairgrounds - Canfield, OH