News Column

Music In The 239: Happy Together show recreates 1960s, '70s music magic

June 15, 2014

By Dave Osborn, Naples Daily News, Fla.



June 15--It was a concert in which the musicians on stage and the audience seemed happy together.

Former Grand Funk Railroad frontman Mark Farner summed it up best about midway through the Happy Together tour Saturday night at the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall in Fort Myers.

As the sweaty guitarist and singer paused to catch his breath, he complimented the crowd for participating in the show by singing, clapping and giving standing ovations.

"I love a good crowd, and you're a good crowd," Farner told them.

His set proved the most popular and dynamic, as Farner used the entire stage to jam on his guitar to popular Grand Funk hits including "The Loco-Motion" and "Some Kind of Wonderful."

Farner provided the highlight of the nearly three-hour show with the energetic "We're An American Band" that brought the crowd to its feet. He all but silenced everyone when he dedicated "I'm Your Captain (Closer To Home)" to everyone in the military.

He continued momentum built by Gary Lewis and the Playboys and Mitch Ryder, who preceded him on stage.

"We're all going to bring back some good memories for you tonight," said Lewis, who sang first.

He played hits including "This Diamond Ring," "Just My Style" and "Green Grass," a 25-minute set that offered a positive sign of what was to come.

Lewis said he penned "Everybody Loves A Clown," and had hoped it would do well so he could give it as a gift to his father, comedian and actor Jerry Lewis.

The song was a hit "and I bought my dad a nice car," Lewis said.

A video played at the back of the stage of Lewis with his famous father in clown makeup. Videos also popped up briefly for other performers as they sang, a nice visual comparison to see the 1960s and '70s version of them.

Mitch Ryder was up next, but his microphone didn't work for half of his first song. He lightened the mood, saying he had just returned from his native Michigan.

Ryder said it seems crowded in Southwest Florida and he has a remedy.

"If you're looking for acres and acres of cheap land, we have it in Detroit," he said. "It's what you call a buyer's market."

Ryder delivered his soulful, emotional all with "Jenny Take A Ride," "Sock It To Me-Baby" and "Devil With A Blue Dress On."

Chuck Negron of Three Dog Night sang that group's many hits, including "Shambala," "Celebrate," "One" and its biggest hit, "Joy To The World."

Negron introduced his three grandchildren in the audience and joked about his age.

"I just turned 72, so all this music is precorded," he quipped.

Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan -- known as Flo and Eddie -- of The Turtles finished the show with a few songs, including the band's biggest hit, "Happy Together." The other performers returned for an encore to sing an abbreviated version of each of their hits again.

What was nice was how the band never changed, which made it efficient as time between each performer was no more than a couple minutes. Drummer Stephen Murphy proved the most dynamic by also signing lead on various songs, such as "We're An American Band."

Lead guitarist Godfrey Townsend was solid throughout the night as well, as was bassist John Montagna.

They're obviously not the headliners but their consistency and ability to play alongside the various singers really made the show.

___

(c)2014 the Naples Daily News (Naples, Fla.)

Visit the Naples Daily News (Naples, Fla.) at www.naplesnews.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services


For more stories covering arts and entertainment, please see HispanicBusiness' Arts & Entertainment Channel



Source: Naples Daily News (FL)