14 November 2010
SunCoast Resort, Summerlin, NV
I've always been taken by beautiful harmony and melody, and as I recall, the Association was one of the first sonic experiences I remember from AM radio. As fate happened, in 1967 the Association became the first band to open a major music festival, the now legendary Monteray Pop Festival, which hosted a decent number of other recording acts that I have enjoyed for decades.
On what was my second trip to the Showroom at the SunCoast Resort, I noticed that, largely because of the current economy, the Summerlin area of Clark County seemed almost like a ghost town. Regardless, this classic pop act from the 1960s managed to sell most of the seats for their two-night stay.
The band currently includes long-time members Russ Giguere, Larry Ramos, Jim Yester (who rejoined the group in 2007), Del Ramos (Larry's brother), Jordan Cole (son of original member Brian Cole), and Bruce Pictor.
This six-piece incarnation opened, and ended, with their #1 hit "Windy", with impressive six-piece harmonic arrangements.
As fate happened, the Association became the first band to open a major music festival, the now legendary Monterey Pop Festival, which hosted a decent number of other recording acts that I have enjoyed for decades. Second on tonight's setlist was the song the group opened Monterey with in 1967, "Enter The Young".
"Never My Love" of course also secured its place in the setlist, given that it is, get this, the second most played song in popular music history (second to the Lennon/McCartney classic, "Yesterday").
Decent versions of "Requiem For The Masses", "Everything That Touches You", "Time For Livin'", and "Six Man Band" once again highlighted their trademark six-part harmonies.
Jim Yester, who turns 71 this month, took lead vocals on a great song he penned, "No Fair At All", his voice sounds better than ever, and he is clearly the strongest link in the band, showing a remarkable resurgence after being away from the band for 24 years.
An interesting addition to the setlist was a cover of the Left Banke's "(Just) Walk Away Renee", which Larry Ramos described as "Not an Association song, but should have been."
Wisely, the band decided to perform "Along Comes Mary" at a considerably slower pace than the studio version, given the jam-packed nature of the lyrics.
"Cherish" is simply one of the prettiest songs to emerge from the 1960s--untouchable harmonies, great melody, and very moving jazz touches at the very end of the song, and tonight's performance received a deserving standing ovation.
Overall, a great show with some of the most dreamy, pleasant music a human being could hear.
[****] - Steven T.
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