Recap: The Happy Together Tour – Palace Theatre 8-1-23 -By: Ed Conway
Written by Staff on August 3, 2023
Although I was just getting to an age to start listening to my own music on the radio, the artists that came to the Palace last night accounted for most of the songs of my youth. The Happy Together Tour has continued to bring surviving members of what many of us of a certain generation remember fondly of our childhoods, and they’ve been doing it for nearly 40 years (the first being 1984). Sadly, many of the performers from the original line-ups have passed on, but those who are still out and touring sounded a lot like their young selves. There was a certain childish light in their faces as they recounted their hits, although with six bands on the bill, they were relegated to just 4 or 5 of their biggest ones.
Starting off the night on the Palace Stage were The Cowsills. The three remaining ones on the tour ran through a quick succession of their songs. When I was younger, one of my favorite shows on TV was “Love American Style,” I never realized the theme song was done by The Cowsills, until they performed it, and then ran through another song I didn’t realize they had done, “Hair.” It was like that throughout the night, songs I’ve known for what seems like my whole life, but just starting to listen to the radio, I didn’t always know the performers. Next up was The Classics IV. Although neither of the performers were the originals, they still performed their four song set flawlessly, as they went through “Stormy”, “Traces Of Love” and “Spooky.” The Vogues came out on fire and went immediately into “Five O’clock World.” Their harmonies were spot on, especially on “Turn Around Look At Me.” While the current line-up has no original members, they still bring back memories.
After an intermission, Gary Puckett stepped out of the wings in his trademark “Civil War” jacket and ran through some of his top songs, including “Woman, Woman” and “Young Girl.” While at 80 (almost 81) his voice isn’t quite what it used to be, but it didn’t diminish the reverence of the audience as they sang along on every song, even filling in when prompted. Next, Little Anthony (of Little Anthony & The Imperials fame) stepped out to the further delight of the audience singing “Tears On My Pillow.” He really got the crowd going with “Shimmy Shimmy Ko-Ko Bop.” Topping the bill were The Turtles, with original Turtle, Mark Volman (aka Phlorescent Leech, or Flo from the band Flo & Eddie). It should be noted the reason for the alias was due to contractually being unable to use the name Turtles or his name when he left the band, along with Howard Kaylan (Eddie). He was able to retrieve The Turtle name and helped create the Happy Together Tour. Volman was joined on stage by Ron Dante (frontman of the Archies) who threw in “Sugar Sugar” for good measure. Being the headliners, they played an extended set before finishing off with “Happy Together,” what else? Afterwards, they brought up each act, in order, to run through a medley of each of their top hits until the entire stage was filled.
While the performers all did a wonderful job, it wouldn’t have been possible without the Happy Together house band. Having a stable band allowed artists to come and go without the delay of a set change. They played the songs just as we remembered them and added backing harmonies to fill in for the missing members. I had as much fun, however, watching the joy in the artists’ faces as they were performing, and telling stories, for an audience of true believers, many of whom gave standing ovations after each set. All in all, it was an enjoyable evening of nostalgia with the entire night running like clockwork.