Happy Together Tour

27 August 2014

Events Center, Pueblo, CO


Truth in advertising, I attended this show primarily to see Three Dog Night founding member Chuck Negron. But, I enjoyed the bonus of seeing other recording acts that I've appreciated for a long time.

Billed as the Happy Together Tour, this 56-date, 1960s/1970s pop music extravaganza features the headliner famous for recording their major hit of this tour's namesake, Flo & Eddie from the Turtles. Mitch Ryder, Mark Farner, and Negron served as supporting acts, and each act performed five or six songs. Gary Lewis (of .....And The Playboys) was also booked, but had to leave the tour due to medical reasons. Flo and Eddie's insurance policy to book multiple acts paid off quite well though. All four acts utilized the exact same four supporting touring musicians.

Mitch Ryder's set included "See See Rider" and "Devil With The Blue Dress / Good Golly Miss Molly".

Mark Farner opened his Grand Funk Railroad set with the Goffin/King classic "Locomotion", and handed lead vocals off to the touring drummer for "We're An American Band" and "Some Kind of Wonderful". After the radio-saturated 1975 smash "Bad Time (To Be In Love)", Farner dedicated the last song of his set to "our troops", a moving performance of "Closer To Home", a song with lyrics that permit an unimaginable variety of ways to imagine meaning, not the least of which includes a desire by many to bring Vietnam troops closer to home around the time of the song's original release. Mark appears in excellent physical shape, dancing on stage almost as much as one Gloria Estefan.

Having seen the Hutton/Wells version of Three Dog Night more than once in the previous decade, I had wanted to see the remaining principal vocalist Chuck Negron ever since. With his well-documented drug use in the 1970s and 1980s, Chuck's vocal is rougher/coarser than the almost angelic tenor we had heard in the 1970s, to the point where his voice is somewhat better suited for tracks made popular by his former band mate Cory Wells, as Chuck demonstrated by singing "Mama Told Me", "Eli's Coming", and "Shambala". Though, his performances of "One", "Celebrate", and "Joy To The World" kept pitch fine with the original studio versions. During tonight's performance, Chuck stayed situated at his microphone, joking about his belly size.

Flo & Eddie, also known as Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan, provided their standard mix of music and comedy, while singing classics from their heydays in the Turtles, including "(You Know) She'd Rather Be With Me", "You Baby", and the Dylan-penned "It Ain't Me Babe". Volman & Kalyan preceded the McGuinn/Clark classic "You Showed Me" by singing lines from other, faintly similar sounding songs, such as the Doors' "Riders On The Storm". "Elenore" and "Happy Together" finished the Flo & Eddie set. Volman introduced the lead guitar player Godfrey Townsend as being ".....fired from multiple bands.". !

All four acts then hit the stage together to reprise versions of "Devil With The Blue Dress", "We're An American Band", "Joy To The World", and "Happy Together".

A nice, enjoyable Colorado State Fair concert.

[*** 1/2] - Steven T.

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