Lots of highlights, but here are some that were especially standing-ovation outstanding -
- Chad and Jeremy, the original duo, in good voice and humor, singing their songs. The harmony rang true and haunting and beautiful in "Yesterday's Gone" and "A Summer Song," just as it did in the 1960s. I sang some of these songs with my group, The New Outlook, in the Alcove at CCNY (instead of going to classes), and Chad and Jeremy's performance tonight was the closest I've actually come to taking a time machine back 50 years.
- Billy J. Kramer was in great baritone voice, and altogether excellent. Hearing him sing "Bad to Me" and "From a Window" (a fabulous, under-appreciated song) was about the closest anyone can come in 2015 to hearing an early Lennon and McCartney performance - though I guess McCartney could do it now if he was so moved - and "Little Children," not by the Beatles' writers, was grand, too. He also did a fine job on "The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore" - better known as by the Walker Brothers - which just happens to be one of my favorite songs.
- Speaking of McCartney, Denny Laine was on hand, as well, singing "Go Now" - from the original Moody Blues, i.e., before "Nights in White Satin" - and "Band on the Run," from his tenure in Wings, in a great closing encore with all the artists on stage.
- The Searchers' "When You Walk in the Room" - written and first recorded by Jackie DeShannon - has also always been one of my favorite all-time songs. Mike Pender of The Searchers gave it a rousing performance at the concert, along with their more famous "Needles and Pins" (written by Jack Nitzsche and Sonny Bono).
- Terry Sylvester of the Hollies delivered a pitch-perfect "Bus Stop".
- Peter Asher mc'd, provided witty repartee and sage musical history, and did a great job with his own hits - "I Go to Pieces," "Lady Godiva," "I Don't Wanna See You Again," and of course "World Without Love" (the last two by Lennon & McCartney) - sadly without Gordon, who died in 2009. But the backup band sang and played perfectly, and made every performance worthwhile.
- On a more personal note, it was good to say hello to Andrew Sandoval, who put my "Hung Up On Love" on the Rhino Record compilation album Come To The Sunshine: Soft Pop Nuggets From The WEA Vaults (my group The Other Voices sang that - actually, another name for The New Outlook - and I co-wrote with Mickie Harris).
Time's winged chariot forever hurries near, making concerts like these rare and wonderful. If you came of age in the 60s, and loved this kind of music, give yourself a treat and see this concert if you get a chance.