Wednesday, September 11, 2019

The Grass Roots At The Apple Fest

Another guest concert review from Shelley Sweet-Tufano ...

The band is setting up and testing their equipment. At 9:00 PM, the announcer says, “It’s about a half hour before The Beatles come out.” REALLY? THIS I WANNA SEE!

OK, I know it’s The Grass Roots who are here, but he wanted to get a reaction from the crowd, and he did! He wanted to break through all the crowd chat quickly. When 9:30 PM arrives, he gives a killer introduction of fact and glory bestowing garlands of praise on the group and bringing the crowd to a near frenzy as The Grass Roots break into ‘I'd Wait A Million Years.’

The next few seconds are inspirational to me. I can visualize Rob Grill’s face hovering over the pavilion, smiling in affirmation. I also feel a friend of mine, who unexpectedly passed away on the first, poking me. When I was afraid of writing and concerned about others’ reactions to my reviews, Judy gave me loving advice: “DO IT!” Maybe that’s what Rob said to The Roots when he told them to keep singing his songs.

And here we all are. I am squeezed into the crowd on stage right, pen in hand, while The Grass Roots jump into their roles as talented musicians and again bring the past to life. I have to stop saying that. BRINGING THE PAST TO LIFE. Music is the past, present and future. It is timeless. To the person here listening for the first time, it is their present and they will look for it in the future. It becomes their past later.

This is The Apple Fest in East Haven, CT. I have not seen The Grass Roots perform in almost a year, and I will be seeing them twice this month. Just how it rolls. This crowd is really loving their show. They know the songs, as they are cheering when each one starts and they are singing along …with the correct words.

Don’t Pull Your Love Out On Me Baby
Heaven Knows
Sooner or Later
Things I Should Have Said
Baby Hold On

Top Songs, great guitars, keyboards and percussion. Rock music is NOT simple music, and these four guys can truly play! Also they own the best heads of white hair - bar no other band. As the heads bob and Mark Dawson’s hair swings back and forth, it visually completes their talented performance. When Dawson’s joke that the number one question asked is “What conditioner does he use on his hair?” I almost fall for it tonight. Must have been the lights.

‘Love Grows Where My Rosemary Goes’ is an ironic next selection. Like The Grass Roots,  Edison Lighthouse began as a studio band, that one headed by Tony Barrows. After their #1 hit, they no longer existed. After The Grass Roots had a #1 hit, the studio decided they better develop a live band to continue recording under that name. It’s a good song for The Roots. It compliments their style.

A darker song, Let's Live For Today’ is dedicated to our American Veterans. For those who returned to cheering crowds, and to those who are serving now, we thank you. To the Vietnam Vets who are the only ones to return home from a war and not receive a hero’s welcome, we give it to you now.

Where Were You When I Wanted You
Lovin’ Things
The River Is Wide
Come On and Say It

And then … it is Drummer’s Request time! 
Joe Dougherty, what song do you want?
What song, Joe?
Joe … hey Joe … what song?

Dusty Hanvey: Joe wants to do ‘It’s Raining Men’


Mark Dawson: I think we’re going to revoke Drummer’s request.


Finally! Thank you Joe.

Did you know that The Grass Roots appeared in the movie ‘With Six, You Get Eggroll’? 
In the lava lamp first date sequence, it is The Grass Roots who are performing in the club. They sing a song named ‘Feelings.’  I have never seen nor heard it performed live till tonight. And although Dusty wanted them to appear in Gone With The Wind (nah, that would require acoustic) or Ben Hur (THAT would require lutes), I must say that I came home and listened to THIS song after the show and relished its distinctive style and slight departure from the other songs of Grass Roots fame.

Because I was being asked questions by those around me, I missed the next song, but it is for sure that I shut my mouth as they finished the show with ‘Temptation Eyes’ (my favorite) and ‘Midnight Confessions’ (everybody else’s favorite).

I drove 12 minutes to get to the East Haven, CT Apple Festival for this free concert and, for my first time, saw The Grass Roots as an entire show. Just them, a crowd of fans and fanatics and the required blooming onions, sloppy sandwiches, and assorted paper cup drinks. They were great. They were animated. They were happy to be there. Or at least made us think so. 

Next week I see them again, driving two hours, spending cost on a hotel, ticket, tolls and gas. Isn’t life wonderful!? If it’s really like a box of chocolates, I am being indulged. When, where and cost is of little importance. 

See you next week, Larry, Joe, Mark and Dusty.

Hey there! Where were the apples????

Shelley J Sweet-Tufano

We haven't seen The Grass Roots in a couple of years ago ... hard to believe it's been two years already since I guested on Mark Dawson's radio show to count down our favorite songs from 1967!  And now our salute to 1969 is nearly over!  Time flies.

Great music ... great times.  Thanks for sharing, Shelley!  (kk)