KOOL Koncert '02

15 June 2002

Fiddler's Green Amphitheatre, Englewood, CO


Still chipping away at my list of checkmarks by groups I've been hoping to see for a long time.

This year's KOOL 105.1 oldies concert opened with Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees The Shirelles, whom, though I had never been eager to see prior to this, put on a good show, with help of classics that included, "Mama Said There'll Be Days Like This" and "Dedicated To The One I Love". The three living original members invited eight men on stage to sing along with "I Met Him On A Sunday". Later, the trio, with a backing band that included a brass section, covered Stevie Wonder's "Signed, Sealed, Delivered". The Shirelles concluded their set with what was the first song by an all-girl group to hit #1, the Carole King-penned "Will You (Still) Love Me Tomorrow", and a patriotism-themed "Soldier Boy".

The biggest disappointment of the evening was the next act, David Clayton Thomas With Blood, Sweat, & Tears. Mr. Thomas walked out on stage in khaki-toned khakis and a black pullover collar shirt, with one hand in his pocket, as if he was just getting home after a relaxing round of golf. Though "Spinning Wheel", the stop-time-laden, Laura Nyro-scribed "And When I Die", and "God Bless The Child" were entertaining, the set excluded their pinnacle, "You've Made Me So Very Happy". What the?

Flo and Eddie of the Turtles once again largely repeated their Fountain, CO performance at Oldies Fest '97, putting on a nice, entertaining, comedic nostalgia show, describing themselves as the two new spice girls, "Chubby" Spice and "Old" Spice, and performing a medley of tunes that they, in tongue and cheek, took artistic credit for, including the "Light My Fire" and "Get The Party Started". A classic rock fan friend of mine, Heather, took preference with this band over the others on this concert's band list.

Paul Revere and The Raiders essentially repeated their KOOL Concert '98 performance, with Paul himself sitting behind his 1965-ish White Mustang keyboard. They decided to end their set with a somewhat uncharacteristic "I'm Proud To Be An American".

The next, somewhat out-of-place act, the Village People, performed all of their hits using six vocalists, and dance-nightclub-synthesized backing tracks. The set was, in more ways than one, like watching an episode of the Jerry Springer show. Strange, because I actually like the Jerry Springer show.

But, the main reason I got tickets for this show was the headliner, Tommy James and the Shondells. Along with just about every step of success he realized in his career's early years, is an interesting anecdote. T.J. originally recorded the opening track "Draggin' The Line", about quitting the fast-pace rock and roll scene, using a looped twelve-line bass track. The second song, "Crystal Blue Persuasion", is admittedly about nothing in particular, but is very melodic and image-provoking. The original recording of "Crimson and Clover" involved the splicing of a guitar solo in the middle of the song. During the splicing process, engineers discovered that the tape machine recording the solo had operated at a speed faster than that of the machine used on the basic track. Many over the years had believed that this key change was deliberate, intentional. Not so.

The next song, "I Think We're Alone Now" shares history with another song not performed this evening, called "Mirage". "Mirage"'s instrument track is essentially "I Think We're Alone Now" played backwards. ".....Alone....." was one of the first popular songs to include sound effects (crickets). "Hanky Panky" is like Seinfeld, in that it's a song about nothing, that Tommy James wrote to compete with "Louie Louie".

Tommy James and the Shondells finished their brief, stuffed 35 minute set with "Mony Mony", having a title created as a result of Tommy looking out of a window. He had written the music for the track, and the night before recording, realized he had no name for the subject of the song. His problems solved themselves when he looked out the window an saw the Mutual Of New York building.

He even invented the name Shondells, simply because it sounded like Shirelles. Though his efforts may appear as simple, the brains behind the simplicity are, in my opinion, creatively unmatched.

I believe I'll be frequenting another KOOL Koncert in the future.

[****] - Steven T.


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