Happy Together Tour
Erie County Fair Grandstand
Thursday August 11, 2016
Review/Photos: Joseph Suto
The Turtles finally brought their Happy Together tour to the area Thursday evening. It was a night to celebrate many artists and songs thought to have been lost in time. The show lasted two hours with no downtime as one backing band was used for all of the artists. Just a quick simple change of some microphones allowed one artist to end and the next one followed. Most sets lasted fifteen minutes with the exception of the headliners.
The band were no slouches and featured musical director/guitarist Godfrey Townsend, drummer Steve Murphy, keyboardist Manny Focarazzo and bassist Mark Dawson who is also the singer/bassist in The Grass Roots.
The night began with Spencer Davis who seemed to be in good spirits as he tore through his brief set with hits “I’m A Man” and finished with “Gimme Some Lovin”.
The Cowsills quickly followed. I was not familiar with them but they performed with a zest and were clearly one of the highlights of the night. “Indian Lake” was very memorable.
Gary Puckett was up thereafter and dazzled with “Over You” and his big #2 hit “Young Girl”. Puckett joked that he can still fit into his jacket from his Union Gap days.
Mark Lindsay is best known for being the lead singer in Paul Revere and The Raiders. Lindsay told how the #1 hit “Indian Reservation” became the first million selling single in Columbia Records history and remained their biggest for over a decade. He also played “Arizona” his top 10 solo hit.
Chuck Negron was the final act leading up to the headliners. Negron of course is known for his stint in Three Dog Night when the band was one of the biggest in America in the early to mid 70s. Negron took the time to acknowledge all of the guys he played with in Three Dog Night. It was the first show Negron has played in the area since the passing of Cory Wells. Wells was living in the Dunkirk area when he sadly passed away last October. Negron opened with “Mama Told Me Not To Come” a song that Wells recorded the lead vocals on. Due to the short set Negron next focused on the two songs he is best remembered for in “One” and “Joy To The World”.
Closing out the affair were the duo of Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman, or Flo and Eddie or perhaps better known as The Turtles. They played some songs, told some jokes, as they always do. The band also has a serious side as they took the time to let everyone know how important it is to get a regular checkup. Mark Volman was diagnosed with throat cancer last year but is now cancer free because it was caught early on.
The band played their biggest hits in “She’d Rather Be With Me”, “Elenore” and of course the tours namesake “Happy Together”.
At the end each artist came out individually to one of their hits until everyone was on stage. It was a great moment as everyone took a bow for a job well done.
If a show like this doesn’t bring back some fond memories for fans I don’t suppose much of anything else will. More tours like this and like the “Sail Rock Tour” from a few years ago are needed. Not only does it bring together artists from older eras, it also gives younger fans the chance to see what those eras and songs are all about. With the recent passings of some important people in the music world earlier this year, shows like this are treasured and remembered by fans for their nostalgia and importance for years to come.
Special thanks to Holly from The Erie County Fair for the credentials