Happy Together at the Saban Theater

Gordon came upon an ad for a concert containing six acts: Spencer Davis, The Cowsills, Gary Puckett, Mark Lindsey, Chuck Negron, and Flo & Eddie (previously of the Turtles and Zappa’s band). We figured, what the hell; we didn’t have anything better to do on a Saturday night so we drove over t0 Beverly Hills. We thought we’d find someplace to have something light to eat and a glass of wine but we didn’t have any luck. Everthing on La Cienega was big and expensive and I didn’t want to waste the time, money, or calories. Then we thought, Farmer’s Market! We hadn’t been there for years. Unfortunately, everybody else on the West Side had the same idea. We spent 20 minutes going three blocks trying to find someplace to park. By that time, we’d spent an hour searching so we just gave up. We went to the Saban Theater and had a glass of wine and some popcorn (weird, I know, but that’s all they had to eat) before going to our seats. We had plenty of time to enjoy the restoration job on the Saban Theater before the show started (the picture washed out; the sign on the stage says Happy Together–and we had crummy seats). I’m glad we sat around; the wine on an empty stomach befuddled me.

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The concert started promptly at 9. Spenser Davis was first up. The only hit I remember of the Spenser Davis Group was the Steve Winwood tune, “Gimme Some Lovin'”. Spencer ain’t Steve but he did a good job. He only did three songs; maybe they were the only hits he had.

The Cowsills were next and they were great! They’re better as old farts than they were as kids. They still have their voices and their stage presence is wonderful. I’d forgotten how many hits they had.

Then Gary Puckett came out. I warbled along to his ballads (the sound system was so loud no one could hear me). He talked about his sales history with CBS. Apparently, he was a top seller until Michael Jackson came along. He also talked about the Civil War uniforms the band wore. The coats were a gimmick to make them stand out but he was proud of the fact that he could still fit in his.

After intermission, Mark Lindsey–formerly of Paul Revere and the Raiders–did a medley of his hits. He was good and was proud of the fact that he could still do a high kick to go with his song “Kicks”.

Chuck Negron–formerly of Three Dog Night–sang some of the bands’ hits. His voice is starting to go but it’s still pretty good. Unfortunately for him, I vividly remember his voice of almost 50 years ago. He was astonishing. He can still sing but his voice is a ghost of what it once was. The back-up band harmonized with him so it worked.

Flo & Eddie closed the show. I got the impression that they were the ones who organized the tour (it was called the Happy Together Tour; the song closed the show). Whichever was the chubby one is no longer chubby. He explained that he’s just survived a bout of cancer. The other, the lead singer, had to remain seated. It looked like he had a cast on one ankle but he didn’t explain why he couldn’t stand. They made lots of ‘old fart’ jokes, especially with reference to drug usage. They pointed out that they still use drugs, it’s just that the drugs are different–like Lipitor instead of cocaine. We could all relate. The audience looked like an old folks’ home had emptied out for the night. But it was almost sold out. There’s a market for the music. We had a great time singing along with all the songs we remembered.

On the way home, Gordon and I snickered that the old folks were out so late. It was almost midnight! But we enjoyed spending time reliving our high school days. Songs were a lot more fun back then. And the performers may be old but they’re having a great time. I think everybody did.

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About Barbara Schnell

I've dedicated my life to full-time employment avoidance. I've been an actress, renovated a 1921 California Bungalow, set a cash-winning record on $25,000 Pyramid, and came in last on Jeopardy. I live in Los Angeles with my patient husband and two cats.
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