You know you’re getting old when the bands you go to see have members in it which are all older than me (a spritely 63). Some have joked that the Happy Together Tour could be called the AARP Tour, as it consists in bands that were formed between about 1965 and 1968, and no later. I’m talking about the Buckinghams, the Cowsills, the Grassroots, the Association, Mark Lindsey of Paul Revere and the Raiders, and the Turtles. All of those bands had huge hits (the Cowsills the fewest), and some, like the Grassroots and the Association had lots of top five and number 1 hits. Many of them coming during ‘the summer of love’ when the music actually was getting much heavier and less poppy due to festivals like the one at Woodstock. Never mind, these folks were putting out fun songs with great hooks that you could, and still can sing along to. And the miracle is— most of them can still sing and play too! It gives a 63 year old hope…. well, sort of. Here is a You Tube sample to give you an idea of what the Tune Dude and I enjoyed through the raindrops at one of our favorite venues— Fraze Pavilion in Kettering Oh.
The M.O. for the show is each band comes out and does 4-5 of their number 1 hits, and then bows out to the next band. The one surprising moment in the deal was when the Grassroots saluted the troops with a rendition of Crosby, Stills, and Nash’s classic ‘Find the Cost of Freedom’ (see the You Tube clip above) as an intro to ‘Live for Today’. It actually worked rather well. This meant that each band had about 13-15 minutes to do their thing (remember 3 minute songs), and then exit. The Bands which should have been given a bit more time due to the number of their hits was of course the Association and the Grassroots. Each of these bands have about 2-3 of the original members, with the exception of Mark Lindsey, who now tours as a solo act basically (with a back up band).
Full credit to Flo and Eddie, otherwise known as the Turtles for putting the tour together. The new act for this year’s tour (47 dates!) was the Cowsills, and they were alright, but how about the Lovin Spoonful next year, or Rare Earth or Tommy James and the Shondells, or the Box Tops….I’m just saying. The problem with an act like Three Dog Night is that they had so many many number 1 hits between the late 60s and the mid 70s they wouldn’t fit neatly into this more limited format. You will also note that when the tour is in California, more of the original members of the Association were able to participate– 5 instead of the three we saw in Kettering.
This was just fun, and the audience sang along to most of these songs quite readily. The highlights were— the Buckinghams singing ‘Mercy, Mercy Mercy’, the Cowsills singing ‘Hair’, the Grassroots singing ‘Temptation Eyes’, the Association singing ‘Cherish’ ‘Never my Love’, and ‘Along Comes Mary’, Mark Lindsey singing ‘Kicks’, and the Turtles singing ‘Eleanor’ and of course ‘Happy Together’. A good time was had by all….. though it took a while for all the audience to get out of their seats and shuffle back to their cars.