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The Happy Together Tour 2011
Clearwater, FL & Melbourne, FL - July 17 & 18

The Happy Together Tour 2011 hit venues in Florida this past week. On Tuesday July 17 the setting was Ruth Eckerd Hall in the heart of Florida's beautiful Tampa Bay, on Wednesday July 18, the show was held in King Center For The Performing Arts on the east coast of central Florida in Melbourne. The show started shortly after 7:30 PM, after a brief announcement from one of the local radio station DJ's. Each band had their own introduction done on tape by Shadow Stevens, highlighting their musical careers. First up were Carl Giamerese and Nick Fortuna from The Buckinghams. They always give consistently good performances and are a crowd favorite with songs like "Don't You Care" and" Susan". I've seen them many times as they are frequently booked with The Grass Roots. In the indoor venues, the bands are all shown with some vintage footage from their heyday in the backdrop.

Next up and of course my favorite, Mark Dawson and Dusty Hanvey from The Grass Roots. They dedicated the shows to Rob Grill saying, “who for 45 years was the voice of The Grass Roots, we love you Rob, and God Bless you." We lost Rob on July 11 and my emotions just were not going to be contained this evening. So many things were going through my mind, from the shows I had been to and all those wonderful memories I now hold so dear. Such beautiful memories of a wonderful man, not just a performer but as a person. The world was made a better place because he was in it. He will be missed by so many, but would want the show to go on, and it did played expertly by Mark Dawson and Dusty Hanvey. Mark was terrific as he sang, "Wait A Million Years", "Heaven Knows", "Sooner Or Later" and "Where Were You When I Needed You", however my two highlights that went beyond all was Dusty Hanvey's guitar solo on "Let's Live For Today" and as they played "Midnight Confessions", the monitor showed Rob from the vintage days and it received a standing ovation from the audience. The audience was acknowledging Rob and his was a wonderful very powerful moment and I'm sure Rob heard it in heaven.

On to The Association, next, who were new to the line up this year. They performed their hits like "Windy" and "Never My Love". I always loved their harmonies. Long time members of Larry Ramos, Russ Guigere and Jim Yester, were audience favorites. My favorite song of theirs is "Cherish" and they did a great version of "California Dreamin". After their set, there was a 30 minute intermission, to give the band a rest. The Happy Together Tour band are; Godfrey Townsend on guitar, John Montagna on bass, Steve Murphy on drums and Manny Focarazzo on keyboards.

Mark Lindsay was up next, of course he is the former lead singer of Paul Revere and the Raiders. I always remember him having the long ponytail hairstyle. Mark gives an energetic performance with songs like "Kicks" and "Arizona", however my favorite song of his is "Cherokee Nation".

Finally out came The Turtles, featuring Flo and Eddie, better known as Mark Volman and Howard Kaylin. They are always hysterical and came out dressed in "Lady Gaga" wigs, after a few bars of one of her songs The Turtles say, “what have they done to our music man?", and proceeded to do their usual show. Of course some of their career is entwined with The Grass Roots, as they worked with PF Sloan on "You Baby" and Bob Dylan's “It Ain't Me Babe." My favorite song of theirs is "Eleanor" and how can you not like "Happy Together".

Different from last year was the encore finale, when all the bands were called back to sing a few lines of their big hit and after that everyone proceeded to sing "Happy Together". One can really tell that all the performers really like each other and were having a blast. So don't miss out when they come to your area, upcoming dates are in the Midwest and Chandler, AZ and Santa Ynez, CA.


The Grass Roots Magic City Casino Miami, FL November 13, 2010

I traveled to Miami, FL for my last Grass Roots show of the 2010 season. It was a balmy south Florida evening at the Magic City Casino's Amphitheater on this evening the weather was just perfect for an outdoor concert. The venue was previously used as a dog track and was equipped with bleacher style seating, but there was also field/lawn level chairs setup as well. The Magic City Casino's staff was well organized, the lawn seats were numbered, and as a frequent concert goer at various types of venues I really appreciate the little things like that.

I arrived at the venue a few hours before the show and met a couple of fellow Grass Roots fans that I have corresponded with but had not met in person. It is always so fun for me to meet fellow fans and share some Grass Roots stories while waiting for the show to start. We spotted Dusty Hanvey and Mark Dawson, then Joe Dougherty with Larry Nelson and were so thrilled to see Rob Grill arriving for sound check as well. We were treated to the song "Two Divided By Love" and thought Rob sounded wonderful. After Dusty proclaimed the sound to be to his liking they all left the stage to change for the show.

The show started promptly at 8pm with the usual opening song "Wait A Million Years". Some other songs played this evening were "Glory Bound", "Things I Should Have Said", "Heaven Knows", "Where Were You When I Needed You," "Let's Live For Today", "Don't Pull Your Love Out On Me", "Mamacita", "Sooner Or Later", "Love Grows", "Temptation Eyes" and of course, as Rob always says "we wouldn't leave without playing", "Midnight Confessions". Rob joked around with the crowd as usual. Mark Dawson handled the co-lead vocals and played bass, Dusty Hanvey shined on lead guitar and background vocals, Larry Nelson played keyboards and background vocals with his usual expertise and rounding them out on drums, Joe Dougherty.

The audience was thoroughly entertained and as they left the stage and The Grass Roots were given a standing ovation. After the show Rob signed autographs and had the "Live Gold" CD available for the fans and met with all the people who wanted to say hello.

Not sure when I'll see the band again, but looking forward to 2011 and The Grass Roots schedule to plan where my next show will be. Happy Holidays everyone, as Rob says "we hope to see you all again real soon!”


Happy Together Tour Rocks Daytona Beach

If I had to some up this show in one word, it would be FUN. The only thing I regret is not attending more of them around the country "The Happy Together Tour" landed in Daytona Beach, FL on Friday, July 30 2010. I was so excited when it was added to the touring schedule because never in all my years attending concerts have I actually lived in the same town where the show was being held. Of course not that I mind, but I didn't need a hotel, any airfare, a rental car or even a GPS to get there. I knew exactly where it was! A side note to all of this is Mark Volman (The Turtles) mentioned they are in talks to bring the show back for next year. So if you want The Grass Roots there again next year like I do, please go The Turtles official website and vote.

A part of the festivities was the second annual "Hippyfest" which is a sort of a street festival held two hours before the show. There I was able to obtain and add to my old Grass Roots album collection, "Powers Of The Night, "16 Greatest Hits" and “Leaving It All Behind". The actual show started around 7:30. First up were Carl Giamerese and Nick Fortuna from The Buckinghams. They were followed by Dusty Hanvey and Mark Dawson from The Grass Roots, then Mark Lindsey from Paul Revere and The Raiders. Next up was Mickey Dolenz from The Monkees and the show ended with Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan from The Turtles. All the bands used the same backup musicians and the flow went very smoothly.

From my perspective where I was located in the audience very few people where just sitting there. The whole entire building was vibrating. Most all the audience were singing, clapping, and dancing in their chairs. All of the performers were just terrific and they all told little stories of performing back in the 60's. Since all these songs were what I had listened to when I was growing up, they brought back great memories of times gone by. Sorry I wasn't able to take any pictures, the attendant would not allow me to take any, although there were people that were taking pictures and video! So that is all for now, my next Grass Roots show is in November.


The Grass Roots - Greynolds Park Love In May 16, 2010

Love, peace and The Grass Roots were the theme of the show at The Greynolds Park, North Miami, FL Love In on Sunday May 16, 2010. The day was filled with people dressed in hippy attire and music from that decade. The festivities got started at 11am with the first band of the day going through a sound check. Four other bands followed each of them giving covers of well known hits of the 60's. The weather was hot and humid, typical of south Florida this time of year. In the 60's, Greynolds Park was the site of peaceful Vietnam War protests and popular bands of the era played music here as well, so it was the perfect spot for the "Love In".

The Grass Roots took the stage around 5pm with the opening song, "I'd Wait A Million Years", this is my favorite song of the band's many hit records, "Don't Pull Your Love Out On Me" was followed by "Heaven Knows," and a surprise was next with "Baby Hold On". Then "Lovin’ Things", "Temptation Eyes"," Sooner Or Later", "Two Divided By Love", "Things I Should Have Said"," Mamacita", and a song that I really love, Rob's version of "Drift Away". Of course the live shows always end with the playing of "Midnight Confessions."

The mood was light and carefree as the band members of Rob Grill on lead vocals and playing bass, Dusty Hanvey on lead guitar and vocals, Larry Nelson on keyboards and vocals and Joe Dougherty on drums went through their play list of signature songs. The large crowd was thoroughly entertained with a combination of music and laughter and all had a fabulous time including me.

After the show Rob signed autographs and met with all of the people who wanted to meet him and say hello. This was once again another great performance by The Grass Roots. Don't miss their terrific show whether they are performing with the Happy Together Tour or as a singular act. It will bring back great memories and create new ones as well.


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