The Happy Together Tour Delivers Musical Memories Once Again

Live Review

Mark Volman of The Turtles. Photo by Chyrisse.

By Wendy Hunter, Journalist, and Chyrisse Tabone, Photographer – Rock At Night Tampa

Happy Together Tour – The Cowsills, Joey Molland’s Badfinger, The Vogues, The Association, Jay & the Americans, and The Turtles – Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater, Florida – June 2, 2024

The Happy Together Tour began in the mid-eighties, and since that time, the Baby Boomer generation has embraced the tour with open arms.  Attending this concert continues to be a Rock at Night tradition too.  Each tour has included The Turtles and various ‘60s groups, all backed by a Happy Together Band.  Vendors offer merchandise such as ‘60s era clothing, posters, and jewelry which adds to the ambiance of the event.

Upon entering Ruth Eckerd Hall, I noted the lobby was filled with silver haired fans dressed ‘60s garb.  Women browsed the vendors’ wares embracing flower power in youthful Mary Quant type dresses or more casual tie-dyed hippie styles.  Fringed boots or bags, round rose-tinted glasses, and bandanas abounded.  Some senior men from the love generation were clad in Florida casual ware, but bell bottom jeans and love beads were also spotted.  As a couple passed by me, the smell of patchouli  filled the air.

Once settled in my seat, I saw tots, teens, and entire families settling in for the show.  But most there were smiling seniors anticipating that the music would carry them back to a different time in their lives.

Susan and Paul Cowsill. Photo by Chyrisse.

The Cowsills kicked off the concert at 7 o’clock with a welcoming round of applause.  Susan, Bob, and Paul Cowsill began with their iconic song “The Rain, the Park, & Other Things.”  The trio’s strong voices rang true, and Paul was especially energized and bouncing around the stage throughout the performance.  I heard a nearby patron comment, “I wish I had his energy!”  Other songs included “Indian Lake,” “Love American Style,” and “We Can Fly.”  During the beginning of their last song “Hair/Let the Sunshine In,” the audience cheered and clapped and at the ending they were on their feet giving The Cowsills their much deserved adoration.

Joey Molland of Badfinger. Photo by Chyrisse.

When Liverpudlian Joey Molland of Badfinger walked on stage, the audience laughed when he joked, “we’ve got a couple hours, don’t we?”  His Welsh accent was prominent and made each song even more unique.  The first tune was “Baby Blue,” and during the song “Come and Get It,” listeners sang along.  His guitar work was excellent, especially during George Harrison’s song “Day After Day.” The finale of “No Matter What” had the audience whistling and whooping while the video screen behind the bands displayed Badfinger in their younger years.

The Vogues. Photo by Chyrisse.

The Vogues stem from western Pennsylvania, so seeing them was special since I grew up in that area and recall hearing their music on the local radio station.  Their first song, “Five O’Clock World,” had the audience immediately clapping in unison.  And so Troy Elich, Royce Taylor, and Elliott McCoy continued to please with on point harmony and strong voices singing “My Special Angel,” “Turn Around, and Look at Me.”  During the final song, “You’re the One,” the couple sitting beside me were swaying together hand in hand.

The Association. Photo by Chyrisse.

The members of the Association, Jules Alexander, Dell Ramos, and Paul Holland began with the song “Windy,” followed by “Never My Love,” a definite heart warmer and delight for patrons.  But it was the song “Cherish” that brought couples even closer, and the young child in the seat in front of me snuggled her head on the shoulder of her caretaker.  The last song of the set was “Along Comes Mary,” which was announced as formerly controversial and radio stations wouldn’t air the song during the ‘60s.

Jay Reincke, Marty Sanders – Jay & the Americans. Photo by Chyrisse.

Jay and the Americans began with songs “Only in America,” followed by “She Cried,” and the “End of Time.”  Their song “Come a Little Bit Closer”  had the audience standing and singing.  The guitar work on last song, “This Magic Moment” was exceptional and Jay Reincke, Darren Dowler, and Marty Sanders delivered some sweet memories for me.

Mark Volman and Ron Dante-The Turtles.Photo by Chyrisse.

The Turtles, with Mark Volman from the original group and Ron Dante formerly of The Archies, began with “She’d Rather Be With Me.”  Mark enthusiastically worked the cow bell which encouraged the audience to sing along. The next tune was “You Baby,” and during “It Ain’t Me Babe,” Mark’s imitation of Bob Dylan’s voice delivered a bit of comedy to the crowd.  A cartoon Archies band could be seen on the large video screen behind the musicians while Dante sang “Sugar, Sugar,” and the audience joined in.  During “Eleanor” it seemed that the entire audience was singing and dancing along and with the final song, “Happy Together” the rivalries peaked. All featured groups gathered on stage for the finale and sang specific songs to the cheers from the audience.  Peace signs flashed, the audience sang and danced, and it seemed like the ’67 Summer of Love all over again.

If you have the chance to attend a Happy Together Tour, I highly recommend it.  The music is filled with pure joy and is a fun way to travel back in time.  This tour just might make your day a happy one.

PHOTO GALLERY

 

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