The Happy Together Tour 2012
Hard Rock Live – 06/13/12
The Happy Together Tour rolled into the Hard Rock with an amazing lineup of 60’s stars that anyone who saw the Ed Sullivan Show would surely remember. Originating as a 1985 revival tour, and with its 25th anniversary edition in 2010, Happy Together has always featured some of the most memorable singers from that era’s pop scene. And even though they hit the stage today with less hair and more arthritis, it was amazing to see just how much their fire and love for music still shines within them.
Now I never saw any of these acts in concert growing up, though I did listen to many of them on AM radio. So I was quite astounded to realize decades later how well they could still sing those songs which had made them famous nearly fifty years ago. And while Carl Giammarese and Nick Fortuna were the only Buckinghams standing on this stage, they clearly had no problem igniting the spark for “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy,” “Kind Of A Drag,” “Susan” and “Don’t You Care.” And though The Grass Roots were reconstituted with Mark Dawson and Dusty Hanvey, it wasn’t hard to hear the original melodies of “Let’s Live For Today,” “Sooner Or Later,” and “Temptation Eyes.” And while Gary Puckett had to fill in the gap for the rest of the union, he had no trouble throwing his whole body into the vocalizations of “Young Girl,” “Lady Willpower,” “Over You,” and “This Girl Is A Woman Now.” But then came Mickey.
As their lead singer, Mickey Dolenz was the most famous voice of the Monkeys. So when he came on stage looking and sounding like Truman Capote on crack, I had a moment similar to when Gene Hackman realized just who his hosts were in The Birdcage (1996, United Artists). Leading off with “I’m Not Your Stepping Stone,” I wondered if maybe time had made this performance one bridge too far. But the Happy Together Tour mystique was not to be broken by that opener, as Mickey rallied through “Last Train To Clarksville,” “Pleasant Valley Sunday,” “I’m A Believer,” and “Daydream Believer.” It was almost as if the rest of the other-fab-four were right there with him.
Finally, original Turtles members and ex-Frank Zappa-dites Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan (a.k.a. – Flo and Eddie) took to the stage. Leading off by noting that they had only missed being the Beatles by three letters and seven hundred gazillion dollars, they combined their classic hits with 200 Motels humor (1971, United Artists). And everyone in the nearly packed house was thrilled by their performance of “It Ain’t Me Babe,” “Nobody But You,” “Elenore,” and, of course, “Happy Together.” The duo then brought all the other singers back up with them for an all-hands-on-deck finale which brought the entire audience dancing to their feet.
So, yes, they’re older. And yes, they may only sound ninety-nine percent like they used to. But our memories of them have never changed, and last night they unfolded before our eyes, in our ears, and within our hearts as we once again heard those wonderful voices we grew up with happy together.