Review: Sixties acts seem Happy Together in Sandy
By Tom Wharton
The Salt Lake TribuneFirst published Jul 09 2013 11:03PM
Sandy • One of the jobs of being an elder is introducing grandkids to the classics.
So that’s why I took my 14-year-old granddaughter Lindon to see the Happy Together Tour on Tuesday night at the Sandy Amphitheater.
What self-respecting grandparent doesn’t want to introduce a younger generation to classics such as "Hungry," "Young Girl," "This Diamond Ring," "Happy Together" and "Joy to the World"?
The scary part for those of us in our sixties who made up the majority of the audience on a warm summer evening is that though we can remember the words to these songs, there are times when we can’t find our car keys.
Singers Mark Lindsay of Paul Revere and the Raiders, Chuck Negron of Three Dog Night, Gary Puckett, Gary Lewis and, of course, Flo and Eddie of the Turtles continue to cash in on the hits of the ’60s with tours like this.
The formula is simple and fun. Put together a four-piece backup band with a drummer, keyboardist, bassist and guitar player. Then bring out each of the star singers ranging in age from 66 to 71 to sing six to eight of their greatest hits, songs most can sing by heart, that sold millions back in the day.
There is a certain curiosity factor about such concerts as well. Can the 71-year-old Lindsay still rock like he did at Lagoon in 1969? Can the 70-year-old Puckett hit the high notes like in his old Union Gap days? Can Lewis, the 67-year-old son of acting legend Jerry Lewis, keep his ’60s bubblegum pop relevant? Will the 71-year-old Negron still sound joyful as he belts out "Jerimiah was a bullfrog, was a good friend of mine" to kick off "Joy to the World"? And will 67-year-old Flo and Eddie of Turtles fame still be as goofy as we remember?
Judging from the standing ovation each act got, the crowd would answer "Yes." To some extent, the musical styles were so different that it kind of depended on which group you liked best when you were growing up as to which was your favorite. But for a fast-paced 2½ hours, even us graybeards felt young.
For my money, Lindsay sounded pretty darned good. I saw the young Raiders at a Battle of the Bands in Portland, Ore., in the mid-’60s, perhaps my first real introduction to rock and roll, and they’ve remained a favorite.
Lindsay, dressed in colorful shoes and beginning with a classic Raiders’ cape, ran through hits such as "Arizona," "Hungry," "Indian Reservation" and "Kicks." It was a high energy fun set filled with humor and good music.
Flo and Eddie, who put the tour together each year, brought a high energy humorous end to the show. They started dancing to "Gangnam Style," an introduction that brought laughs from everyone. Ending with "Happy Together" after hits such as "You Baby" or Dylan’s "It Ain’t Me Babe." That capped an energetic night.
Puckett offered a different style with his power ballads and showed he still had the chops to pull them off. Hits such as "Young Girl" and "Lady Willpower" sounded great. Puckett, like Lindsay, spent a lot of time telling stories and interacting with the audience.
Lewis kicked off the show. He seemed slightly off key at first but got better as he warmed up. "This Diamond Ring," which kicked The Beatles out of the number one spot back in the day, was a highlight.
At the end, all six acts came out to reprise each of their greatest hits, sending home the crowd happy and no doubt with hit songs that will stay in their heads for days.