***** Our ride to Aurora’s Paramount Arts Centre, felt long on a Friday night, but the anticipation of hearing the great groups of the 1960’s, “live” onstage was enough of a “high” to take the edge off of Friday night traffic. The day before the show, I was able to talk with one of the members of The Association, one of the great acts I was about to see; Jules Alexander. We spoke about the ups and downs over the more than 50 years of making music that these men have lasted through. Yes, some left and came back; others left and of course, as the years go by, some have left us. He joked with me that this tour, instead of being called “Happy Together” could have easily been called “Fifty Shades of Gray”, but that would be in reference to the color of their hair and beards. Most of the performers in this concert have indeed been entertaining us for FIFTY YEARS! The Association is best known for “Never My Love”, “Windy” (which became known for younger audiences thru the magic of TV and “Breaking Bad” where it was played in its entirety) and of course “Windy”. Just think, if you were to play “Never My Love” back to back it would take forty years of continuous play to reach the number of times this song has been heard. WOW! While the Association is down in numbers, they are just as super sounding as they were in days of yore.
We made it to Aurora with time to spare, allowing us to park the car and take a short walk admiring the “downtown” area of Illinois second largest city. As we entered the beautiful theater, our friends Shelle and Marty saw the beauty they have heard me talk about. We got to our seats a few minutes prior to the concert beginning, allowing them to truly look at the carvings and colors of the ornamental ceilings. The seats were comfy an das they found out, this is one of the best sound systems in the Greater Chicago area. The evening started with The Grass Roots, who were followed by The Cowsills. For those of you who recall The Partridge Family on TV, it was this family that was the inspiration for the show. They are down to three members of the family left (we met some of the children, who now reside in the area) but again, they were having fun as they brought back memories of youth to most of the audience- charter members of AARP, for sure!
Following this family, were the two remaining members of Chicago’s own, The Buckinghams (“Sign of the Times), then The Association to complete the first portion of the show. After each act, the audience members were up and on their feet applauding like wild. During intermission, as they ran to the rest rooms and to the bar, one could see the smile son their faces and it appeared that they had become younger during this time. The music brought back that glow of the 1960’s and 1970’s that had diminished over the years of raising a family and working to keep afloat. Many of these people are now retired, are grandparents and secure with their lives, so going back in time to the days when they loved the music. The second part of the show opened with Mark Lindsay, of Paul Revere and The Raiders who certainly did not look like a 73 year old man as he danced and did his famous leg kicks. The show finished with the comic touch of The Turtles (Flo and Eddie) who brought the house down. I guess one might call them the “headliners” as the song “Happy Together” is indeed their theme. They did their stuff and then one by, the others joined them on stage doing one of their tunes and then singing together as one great evening of memories came together. Yes! It is a night of bringing back memories of our youth, but at the same time another memory has been created. For us, an evening that we shared with our friends and relived on the ride back to the North Shore. More importantly, a memory that we can share forever. The tour will continue through September 5th. www.happytogether2015.com
I spoke with some friends who went up to see the show in Milwaukee, and another who caught the show in Ohio. If you have a chance to catch this, do! If not, I am sure they will return in 2016 and will keep you informed. The players may change somewhat, but the experience should be the same! Look for 2016 very soon!