Skip to main content

Unexpected cover bands (#1199)

Topics/tags: Reviews

You know about cover bands, right? These are bands whose primary purpose is to play music like the original artists. Some play a variety of covers. Others focus on single artists. There are Beatles cover bands, Eagles cover bands, Elvis impersonators, Journey cover bands, Dolly impersonators, and more. In the old days, cover bands often just played the music. These days, some try to approximate a real show, wearing the clothes and mimicing the actions of the original band. Think Beatlemania, although perhaps not quite so excessive.

There are also what I might call nearly cover bands. I seem to recall that at one time, there were three sets of Beach Boys simultaneously touring the US. I think each had at least one person who had been in the Beach Boys, but at least one had someone who had only been in a later incarnation of the Beach Boys.

That brings us to what I did last night. Michelle and I went with some friends to see the latest incarnation of the Happy Together tour. The current bands on that tour are The Turtles featuring Flo and Eddie, Gary Puckett (but not the Union Gap), The Association, The Buckinghams, The Vogues, and the Cowsills.

I had assumed that I’d see some cover bands in the show. After all, these are all bands from the 1960s. And I was right. The Vogues had no original members, although I think two of them had sung with one of the original members in one of the two versions of the post-60s Vogues [1]. The Association had exactly one original member, Jules Gary Anderson, although he’d been in the group off and on throughout the years [2].

The show also included genuine original artists. The Cowsills had three members of the Cowsill family on the stage [3]. Gary Puckett was, in fact, Gary Puckett, still in incredibly good voice at age 80. While there were only two Buckinghams on stage, both seemed to be original members from the West Side of Chicago.

And then we have The Turtles, featuring Flo and Eddie. I assumed that Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan would be performing. However, Howard Kaylan is not on the tour this year. And, unfortunately, Mark Volman seems to have been exposed to Covid-19. So The Turtles, featuring Flo and Eddie was Ron Dante [4], Godfrey Townsend, and the backing band. No Flo. No Eddie. I wasn’t really expecting a Turtles cover band. But they were a pretty damn good cover band. And, unsurprisingly, Susan Cowsill was wonderful on the cowbell.

In spite of the substitutions, I enjoyed the show. A lot. The not-Vogues had great harmonies; I really love Five O’Clock World and their version of You’re The One. Most of the performers were either having fun on stage or were good at faking it [5]. I was particularly fond of the Cowsills’ performance. The audience clearly loved the show. I would have preferred a bit more up-tempo music (e.g., if we’d had Mark Lindsey from Paul Revere and the Raiders, as originally scheduled, or perhaps even Chuck Negron of Three Dog Night). Still, as long as I embrace it for what it was, I’m satisfied.

Postscript: In case you’ve forgotten from an earlier musing, Michelle and I consider Cherish and Happy Together incredibly creepy songs. I look forward to a show in which the performers embrace that creepiness.

Postscript: I also look forward to hearing a mashup of Young Girl and Don’t Stand So Close to Me.

[1] You can find the fascinating story on the Wikipedia page about the Vogues.

[2] If you want the full, extensive, history of people associated with The Association, you can find it on the Wikipedia page about the Association.

[3] Including Susan Cowsill, who I hoped would do some of her own material.

[4] Aka The Archies.

[5] Susan Cowsill seemed to be having fun offstage, too. I saw her dancing along at times.

Version 1.0 of 2022-08-26.