Nov. 20--Those attending The Rascals show at the F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts on Tuesday night might be experiencing some temporal disorientation this morning.
The popular 1960s band known for hits like "Good Lovin'" and "Groovin'" took the Kirby Center crowd on a time-traveling adventure Tuesday night with a psychedelic, multimedia extravaganza as they reunited for "The Rascals: Once Upon A Dream" in downtown Wilkes-Barre. The group captured the carefree optimism of the 1960s, with help of 2013's technology, to showcase their biggest hits and deep album cuts.
A crowd of about 800 watched as the words rolled "Star Wars" style across a curtain: "Once upon a time, there came a band of brothers who came from a land far, far away -- New Jersey."
The curtain dropped to reveal The Rascals and their backup singers in black silhouette against the white screen. The lights came up as they dove into "It's Wonderful," off their 1968 album "Once Upon A Dream." Original members keyboardist and vocalist Felix Cavaliere, vocalist Eddie Brigati, drummer Dino Danelli and guitarist Gene Cornish quickly proved the years hadn't changed their signature sound.
The high-energy opening continued with "I've Been Lonely Too Long" and "What is the Reason," two songs from the 1967 album "Collections."
Steven Van Zandt, well-known guitarist of Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band, produced the show, which had a critically acclaimed run on Broadway. The show took the audience through the band's formation in Garfield, N.J., and career with archival footage, narration and dramatic film segments.
"We were just knock around guys, neighborhood Jersey guys, you know?" Brigati said in an interview.
The band members spoke candidly about their past, with the help of actor Vincent Pastore, as they discussed things like how a band called The Beatles opened for them in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1963 and how Brigati almost died in a car accident about a week before their first big gig in the Hamptons.
Other highlights included "I Ain't Gonna Eat Out My Heart Anymore," the clap-along "Come On Up" and their rendition of Smokey Robinson and The Miracles' "Mickey's Monkey" mixed with "Turn on Your Love Light."
"The Rascals: Once Upon a Dream" will head back to Broadway in December for a three-week limited run through January 2014.
(c)2013 The Citizens' Voice (Wilkes-Barre, Pa.)
Visit The Citizens' Voice (Wilkes-Barre, Pa.) at citizensvoice.com
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