Review and Photos by Fred Kuhlman
Promoter: Danny Zelisko Presents
Venue: Talking Stick Resort – Ballroom
Date: Friday July 19th, 2019
Tour: Happy Together Tour 2019
Its not everyday that one gets to experience one’s youth. I was lucky enough again this year to see and photograph the Happy Together Tour that showcased a number of great musical artists from the 60s. I remember the sixties as a fun time with very little cares (before becoming an adult with bills, work and responsibility) and great fun music. It was a time of AM radios and top 40 hits. They say that if you remember the 60s, then you really didn’t live the 60s. But almost all of us can remember the great music.
It was great to see a packed house at the Talking Stick Resort Ballroom to see these wonderful performers. I actually saw a few faces from the past shows. It was really nice to see some people dancing at the back of the venue and the people singing along with the bands (most of the people were very off-key). For those of you in the Denver area, you have a chance to see this wonderful performance on Saturday August 24 at the Paramount Theatre. If you get the chance, go see these great performers and you can relive the great 60s music.
This show is designed as a mini festival without breaks between acts. As one bands leaves the stage, the roadies run out and change the mic setup and then the next band is announced and comes out. There is a 4-piece backing band which stays on stage for the entire show. Each band is allotted a 4-song set of their greatest hits (See setlist below). At the end of the show, each band is brought back on stage to sing a snippet of one of their songs, As the stage fills with all of the bands, they are all singing with the next band announced. They end the show with all of them singing “So Happy Together”.
First up this year was The Cowsills. Many of you might remember this band was made up of a family of sisters and brothers along with their mother. The Partridge Family TV show was loosely based on the Cowsills. The Cowsills currently consists of Susan Cowsill on acoustic guitar and vocals, Bob Cowsill on electric guitar and vocals and finally Paul Cowsill on vocals.
Next up and new this year was The Classics IV. At first, I could not remember this band, but once I heard the songs I remembered. How could you forget their hit, “Spooky” and I personally loved “Traces”. The 2 members of The Classics IV for this tour are lead singer Tom Garrett and Paul Weddle on sax and flute. Tom joked that their biggest hit, “Traces” only made it to number “2” on the hit chart and that they are constantly reminded of this by the next band.
Two of the original members of the next band, The Buckinghams performed tonight, lead singer Carl Giammarese and bass player Nick Fortuna. Carl told us about the time they went to the west coast to perform in this little TV show called “The Smothers Brothers”. When they got there, they went out to do the rehearsal and noticed that the stage and backdrops were covered with British Flags. They joked that they were from Chicago but they dressed and had haircuts like a British band. As a dig to The Classics IV, they played their number 1 hit, “Kind of a Drag”.
Next up was Gary Puckett, the lead singer of Gary Puckett & The Union Gap. I saw Gary the last time with the tour and just like last time, he was fantastic. My favorite song he did was “Young Girl”. It also seemed like a fan favorite since a large number of people in the audience were singing along.
Many of you might remember the powerhouse group in the 60s called Three Dog Night. Tonight, we had one of their original lead singers, Chuck Negron perform 4 of the band’s biggest hits. From the very start of Chuck’s set, you could tell that the audience was into it. Every song they were singing along and at some points Chuck would stop and the crowd would carry on. It was especially interesting when Chuck was doing “Joy To The World” and the fans were louder than Chuck.
How can you have a Happy Together Tour without The Turtles. For the last few years Mark (Flo) Volman has had to tour without his compadre, Howard (Eddie) Kaylan. Howard has been ill and unable to tour, so Mark has recruited his good friend Ron Dante from The Archie’s. Together Mark and Ron run through a number of great Turtle’s songs completing the set with the ever-popular hit “So Happy Together”. Ron also got to inject The Archie’s biggest hit “Sugar, Sugar” into the mix. As in past shows, Ron did the lead singing, with Mark providing the backing vocals and shenanigans, including playing a cowbell, doing drumstick drop and catch and finally wearing a tambourine as a crown.
As an encore, each of the bands came out until finally everyone was one the stage singing “So Happy Together”. Overall it was a very enjoyable evening and no one seemed disappointed. Everyone was commenting on when they saw this band or that band back in the days. If you love 60s music, then I would highly recommend seeing this show.
Due to the large number of bands for this show, I have included just a few photos of each band. If you want to see additional photos of these bands, please take a look at my Flickr page that contains additional images. I hope that everyone at the Happy Together concert had a great time, I sure did and I can not wait to see it again next year.
Photos © Fred Kuhlman 2019, All Rights Reserved
The Cowsills Setlist:
The Rain, the Park and Other Things
Love, American Style
The Classics IV Setlist:
Everyday With You Girl
The Buckinghams Setlist:
Hey Baby (They’re Playing Our Song)
Mercy, Mercy, Mercy
Kind of a Drag
Don’t You Care
Gary Puckett Setlist:
No Getting Over You
Chuck Negron Setlist:
Mama Told Me
One (Is the Loneliest Number)
Joy To The World (Jeremiah Was A Bullfrog)
Mark (Flo) & Ron Dante Setlist:
She’d Rather Be With Me
Sugar, Sugar (Archies’ Song)
So Happy Together