As previously mentioned, the Happy Together Tour returns to War Memorial Auditorium this Wednesday. It’s a familiar concept: 1960s one-hit-wonders and a couple mid-level groups playing their favorites to a room of mostly grey-hairs. It is worth noting we’ve heard not only that this thing has been happening annually since the ’80s, but that’s it’s also been the top grossing oldies package for as long. None of this could be confirmed though as the tour has no website or centralized social media.
Anyway, we thought this made for a great opportunity to do an increasingly rare non-Rundown post on the site. See, last year we got our buddy Jeffrey Novak of Savoy Motel into the show in exchange for one (1) review of said tour, but for some reason, we never got around to sharing it. Thank gawd there’s no time like the present! Check Jeffrey’s write-up after the jump, and see the show for yourself at War Memorial this Wednesday.
Wow, this show must have started right on time. I couldn’t have been more than 10 or 15 minutes late, and I missed the first act, The Buckinghams. Even though I grew up on oldies radio, specifically Cool 1.03, I don’t know who the Buckinghams are just like I don’t know who most of the groups are behind the best AM radio singles of that era. I couldn’t have cared less. I was only at this show to see two performers, Flo and Eddie, and sitting through the onslaught of opening acts was kind of a chore./blockquote>
The first band I caught was the Cowsills, who wouldn’t shut up about being related and being the inspiration for the Partridge Family. Luckily the three original members were able to drop the words “POOP” and “FUCK” in their long winded between song banter to keep it interesting for the very few young people in attendance.
I was stone sober at this show, but I have hard time remembering if the Association or The Grass Roots played next. I know that I got up to piss during the Association, because it was clear that I wasn’t going to miss a thing. As for The Grass Roots, I had no idea who they were the whole time they were playing. They didn’t seem to do that great of a job introducing themselves, and none of their material sounded vaguely familiar to me until they kicked into “Midnight Confession.” That song will always make me think about Robert De Niro shooting Bridget Fonda in a parking lot then driving away in a van relieved, as The Grass Roots play in the classic film Jackie Brown.
Then came the lowest point of the evening, former Paul Revere and The Raiders lead singer, Mark Lindsay. This guy had a heavy pre-Caitlyn, Bruce Jenner vibe, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s sunk most of his money into time machine research, as much as he ranted about wanting to go back to the 60’s. Jeez! Somehow his set felt the most long winded and exhausting. He at least had the balls to sing some of his post-Raiders solo material, which was quite poor, but gave me hope that Flo And Eddie would do the same.
Finally it was time for the big enchiladas, my heroes, Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman, Flo & Eddie, The Turtles. As soon as Mark Volman hit the stage in a crappy bird costume, I thought for sure this must be related to their amazing mid-70’s X-rated cartoon feature film, Dirty Duck. For a second I thought I had gotten way more than I’d bargain for, that these guys were so cool, they would open with some of their most obscure material. I couldn’t have more wrong. Volman was apparently dressed as a character from some CGI movie called Frozen. I got over the disappointment as soon as I heard Howard Kaylan’s voice. He is truly one of the greatest singers in the history of rock, and he still sounds like gold! Plus everything Howard said on stage came off so mean spirited and hilarious. It was impossible not to love him. The only thing impossible to love was their set list, which was just a handful of the Turtles’ biggest hits with a half assed version of “Peaches En Regalia” that sort of turned into a confusing medley.
Before I go any further with this show review, I need to give a little back story on Mark and Howard’s discography to help explain my disappointment. Essentially the Turtles aren’t that much better than the other hack 60’s acts they have opening for them on the Happy Together Tour, meaning they’re really just a singles band. None of the Turtles albums are great, not even the one Ray Davies produced; they just have some great songs. But that can not be said about the albums they released in the 70’s under the names Flo & Eddie. Their 1972 debut, The Phlorescent Leech and Eddie is essentially a lost masterpiece. This album is as good as it gets for early 70’s LA rock. It’s got all the crucial elements. It’s even got Aynsley Dunbar on drums! There’s no one better than Aynsley in rock. Just look up his discography for proof. Dunbar is the best. I could go on and on about how much I love all of Flo & Eddie‘s albums and Aynsley’s power behind the kit, but I don’t want to get too side-tracked. Basically I just want to say to Howard and Mark that they underestimate their new younger fans and show poor judgement by not including some of their amazing 70’s material in their set. Where were former staples like, “Keep It Warm,” “Thoughts Have Turned,” or, “Another Pop Star’s Life?” I can’t knock them for knowing how to best cash in on the baby boomer’s bucks. I just wish they had played a couple groovy post-Mothers era duo tunes, since they’re advertising themselves as The Turtles, Featuring Flo & Eddie.
I left the Happy Together concert basically agreeing with Frank Zappa,
“…I regard Howard as a fine singer and Mark as a great tambourine player and fat person.” [NME 17 Apr. 1976]
:: The Happy Together Tour 2016
:::: The Turtle featuring Flo & Eddie
:::::: Chuck Negron [Three Dog Night]
:::::::: Mark Lindsay [Paul Revere & the Raiders]
:::::::::: Gary Puckett & the Union Gap
:::::::::::: The Cowsills
:::::::::::::: The Spencer Davis Group starring Spencer Davis
@ War Memorial Auditorium
$39+ – All ages – 8PM