Saturday, June 18, 2016


The Beacon Theatre
A short vacation to The Big Apple - primarily to see the "Happy Together 2016 Tour". Yes, an oldies show. It wasn't enough that Chuck Negron from Three Dog Night was on the bill. I mean, that was plenty to make the trip worthwhile, but Mark Lindsay from Paul Revere and the Raiders was also on the bill!  A double blessing!

But wait, there's more!  The Turtles were there, plus Gary Puckett and the Cowsills!  What a killer line-up!

I love Mark Lindsay's vocal snarl! I never realized that the Raiders' songs in the 60's had a bit of a punk attitude. (More about punk below) "Good Thing" and "Steppin' Out" sounded awesome. The Raiders are one of my favourite 60's acts.

The Cowsills

The Cowsills - I wouldn't have travelled to see them specifically, but they were fabulous! Although the lead singer Billy Cowsill died a few years ago, his two brothers and sister filled it out. "The Rain, The Park and Other Things" (aka "I love the flower girl") was amazing! But their last song "Hair" was brilliant. I never realized how many parts there were to the song!

The Turtles were exciting and fun. Howard Kaylan had enough fire for the entire show. He did more than sing - he hosted. His musical partner Mark Volman seemed reserved and off-mic, and when he spoke his voice was terribly strained. 

The Turtles
Then he started to give a message and, knowing what it's like to be on stage with laryngitis I felt awful for him. Then he mentioned cancer, and that he didn't think he would be healthy enough to tour. But he's doing well and it was very transparent of him to share his struggle with so many 50-plus in the audience. Very touching.

Gary Puckett sang "Lady Willpower" - his biggest hit. I didn't like him singing behind the beat on every phrase. It was actually annoying, but the rest of his set was perfect. The big surprise was at the end when he said, "All the glory goes to God." Nice. (I later read up on his conversion to Christianity.)

The best was saved for last - Chuck Negron. The one-third singer of Three Dog Night still has the vocal chops. "Joy To The World" may be the best known song, but "Eli's Coming" is the song where Chuck cut loose and showed us what he's made of. (I did notice his walking was a bit stiff- probably lower back.)

Chuck Negron

The show was great. And the fact that the Rolling Stones concert movie "Shine A Light" was filmed at the Beacon Theatre made it more fun!

But there's more!

Outside now.
A side trip to the original site of the punk nightclub CBGB's was the real highlight. The club is now an upscale expensive men's clothing store but the owner kept the original nightclub graffiti-poster-spray painted walls as a tribute to the location it now sits on.

In the foyer is EVERYTHING musical. Stereos, amps, signed posters....a total CBGB museum  Concert photos of the Ramones were everywhere. It was better than I had hoped. It is a shrine for any punk fan, plus...the stylin' clothes!

Outside, then.
It was (for me) overwhelming!  I actually cried in the realization of where I was standing and the history that I stood upon and how the owner paid homage with such taste. I'll embarrass myself and tell you, after I was in the door six feet, I was bawling so bad I had to stand on the sidewalk and compose myself. Then I went back in and was choked up for the next 20 minutes.

 I said to my wife, "Isn't it weird for someone to become emotional over a punk club that doesn't even exist?"  She nodded yes in bewilderment. Then, I bought a shirt.

I tend to research everything before I go, or watch or listen - whatever. I had high expectations that this new clothing store would still honour the past and it far exceeded my expectations! Far!

Inside the store.

For a Christian music guy, I guess I surprise myself as to how much I know about the mainstream punk days. I love punk and the excitement of the audience. The sweat. The wrecklessness. The original owner Hilly Kristal was a true visionary, and passionate promoter and an entrepreneur - I love all of that.  He has a place in music history.

Times Square.
Then we hit up Times Square. For the middle of the day, in non-tourist season, it was incredibly packed. Business people, gym rats, weirdos, old, young, youth groups, and mostly visitors from outside North America. Massive digital signs took the place of static billboards so everywhere you looked the scene was changing. 

48 hours in New York City. Concert. Club, Times Square. WOW.

By taxi. Honk honk honk..

Everybody take a bow!

Gary Puckett

Mark Lindsay

Inside CBGB's now, John Varvatos in the Bowery


pic of the Ramones

Cash checkout.

Coke - still in the middle of it all.

In Harlem, the Apollo Theatre.

Ride to the airport.


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