KOOL Koncert '98

20 June 1998

Fiddler's Green Amphitheatre, Englewood, CO


It was either this or the 1998 Telluride Bluegrass Festival. I did Telluride last year, and Telluride's lineup didn't seem to offer anything significant over the previous year.....So.....

I went with my former co-worker, now friend, Dave. I found out later that another former co-worker, now friend, Margaret was also attending. While refreshing ourselves with beverages and snacks, out of the corner of my eye, I saw Dave's arms fly up in the air in an instantaneous flinch--turns out one of the patrons behind us spilled an entire 32 ouncer of Fiddler's Green beer down Dave's back. Dave, ever the good sport, non-challantly trotted to a restroom and switched shirts. Declining an offer from the patron to buy him a beer, Dave pressed on as if nothing had happened.

The concert lineup included The Turtles, Paul Revere and The Raiders, Ronnie Spector and The Ronettes, The Four Tops, and Mike Love.

The Turtles largely repeated their Fountain, CO performance at Oldies Fest '97, putting on a nice, entertaining show.

As they have for over 30 years, Paul Revere and The Raiders decked themselves out in Revolutionary War attire. The Raiders lineup is largely unchanged from what it was 20 years ago. Though the keyboardist's name actually is Paul Revere, the band's most famous lead singer, Mark Lindsay, left in 1975, and, as such, much of the band's character hasn't been the same. To their credit, they very competently covered the critical successes of their hit catalog, including "Hungry", "Just Like Me", "Kicks" (a sort-of response song to the Byrds' "Eight Miles High"), "Good Thing", and, of course, "Indian Reservation". Paul Revere's voice is rather husky, and I'm not sure if this is from age, cigarettes, or genetics--its hoarse quality still resonates in my brain as I write this--the man loved to talk and tell long stories in between just about every pair of songs.

I probably didn't absorb Ronnie Spector's set nearly as much as I could/should have. Perhaps Phil Spector's greatest discovery, both once as his wife, and also as a messenger of his Wall of Sound creation. Certainly, "Be My Baby" was the expected highlight of her set. She still has a unique, loveable voice.

The Four Tops had recently lost vocalist Lawrence Payton. Perhaps fittingly, the remaining trio opened their set by making a nice tribute to Payton, and by providing their explanation by why they intended to remain the Four Tops, stating that Lawrence will always be with them in spirit. The Four did a nice job of rekindling fond memories of their trademark Motown gems, "Reach Out I'll Be There", "I Can't Help Myself" and its logical followup, "It's The Same Old Song", "Baby I Need Your Lovin'", "Standing In The Shadows Of Love", and the AM gold, sexist classic, "Ain't No Woman Like The One I Got".

The final act was abiguously marqueed throughout the promotion week prior to the concert. Originally, it was "Mike Love". Later, an emcee called the act "The Beach Boys". I believe the official name of the evening's headliner was actually "Mike Love's Beach Boys". Given the recent death of lead guitarist and founding member Carl Wislon, it probably would have been a little crass to try to pawn off the set as being a "Beach Boys" show--Mike Love was, in fact, the sole original Beach Boy on stage. I would, however, point out that the band did include a son of original member Alan Jardine (Matthew), as well as excellent lead guitarist David Marks, who briefly joined the band from 1962-1963.

Mike Love's Beach Boys performed the usual long medley of most of the Boys' beach/girl/car hits: "I Get Around", "Surfin' USA", "Surfin' Safari", "Little Deuce Coupe", "Shut Down", "Fun Fun Fun", "Help Me Rhonda", "California Girls", and "Barbara Ann". Mike introduced Matthew Jardine, who took lead vocals on the two songs Carl Wilson was perhaps most famous for, "Good Vibrations", and "God Only Knows". Mike made sure he stressed the memory of Carl, without drowning the audience with too much empathetic grieving.

A virtual hit factory, the Beach Boys have a pop catalog that could pack more than two sets, easily. Love's Boys even made sure they covered later hits, such as "Kokomo", "Hot Fun In The Summertime", "Rock and Roll Music", and "Do It Again".

The overwhelmingly nice aspect of these concerts is the sheer celebration, good times, and fun-packed oldies entertainment over a seven hour period, all for just $12 a ticket. And, as if that weren't enough, Fiddler's Green left us with a nice fireworks display before we left to drive home. All Saturdays should be this enjoyable. All nations should be this Kool.

[****] - Steven T.


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