Hippiefest; Keswick Theater Glenside, PA 8/4/09

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Hippiefest; Keswick Theater Glenside, PA 8/4/09

Postby jimmy19029 » Sat Aug 08, 2009 7:02 am

Hippiefest 2009; Keswick Theater Glenside, PA 8/4/09


This is the fourth year and counting for Hippiefest and the very first one for me. Despite the abundance of classic talent on bills like these, I usually shy away anymore since the more acts featured, the less playing time each will be allowed. But when I saw Chuck Negron's name, I just had to go.

Chuck, the former golden voice of Three Dog Night, has been on his own since 1985 and after successfully kicking a horrendous drug addiction problem 18 years ago, he is back sounding better than ever. GO CHUCK!

Flo & Eddie of the Turtles are the Hippiefest hosts and introduced all the acts before coming out to play their own set.


The first performer to take the stage was former Moody Blues & Wings member Denny Laine, who has replaced Mountain on this leg of the tour, apparently. Denny was only allowed 15 minutes(!) and sounded fine on his one hit with the Moodies, Go Now, and Time to Hide, a song he wrote and sang on the Wings at the Speed of Sound album. But the two other Wings things he offered(Live & Let Die & Band on the Run) found him straining and missing notes that Mr. McCartney still hits with ease. "Give him an 'A' for effort", a guy muttered behind me.

Next out was Joey Molland, the lone survivor of Badfinger, who was also left with the burden of performing songs he didn't originally sing lead on. I must admit, though Joey is a great singer in his own right and sang many of his own great compositions with Badfinger, I was a bit skeptical if he was up to the task of performing the hits which were all sung originally by his former bandmates, the late Peter Ham and Tom Evans. My worries were unfounded. Joey sang them with ease, helped out by the excellent Hippiefest band consisting of Godfrey Townsend(guitars, vocals), Steve Murphy(drums, percussion, vocals), Greg Smith(bass, vocals) and Manny Focarazzo(keyboards, vocals). These guys are all top notch players who have played with many others. Godfrey & Steve are playing with the Alan Parsons Project con-currently and Greg Smith has played with Blue Oyster Cult, Rainbow, Alice Cooper and many more.
Molland talked of joining Badfinger in 1969 and their very first success. "We were in the studio with the Beatles and were still a bit nervous around them. George Harrison came down the stairs and congratulated us on our first big hit.......'But don't forget guys', George said. 'You'll now have to play that song everyday of your lives from now on..'

Flo & Eddie set up Felix Cavaliere's intro saying that when they were playing as the Turtles on the West Coast in 1965, they heard rumors of a great East Coast band that played a thing called "blue-eyed soul" and had this great organ sound. "When we came to NYC for the first time we played a club called The Phone Booth where we got to see this same other band perform. They were called THE RASCALS"!
Felix then came out to sit behind his organ, which was center stage, and launched right into Lonely Too Long. His set of songs had him stretching things out a bit by interspersing a few lines from other soul classics like My Girl, Apple Peaches Pumpkin Pie and even Hall & Oates' One on One. "I wish he'd do more of HIS", I heard a girl behind me say. Felix commented..."I live in Nashville now but I always love to come to Philly. Not only do you know how to EAT well here, you also sing well"! We all knew he was referring to cheesesteaks and all the other wonderful Philly cuisine and that he was very impressed with our wall of sound singalong we threw back at him. Unlike Denny Laine & Joey Molland, Felix was allotted 30-35 minutes playing time, as were Flo & Eddie & Chuck Negron.

Flo & Eddie were introduced as.."Not teenage, not mutant, not ninjas...just plain Turtles.."
"We missed being the Beatles by only THREE LETTERS", laughed Flo(Mark Volman).....................and a GAZILLION DOLLARS....."!
As always our Turtles guys were full of silly comments like the above and, "We're the latest American Idol contestants, I'm Clay Aiken's father..." Howard Kaylan(Eddie) exhorted us to give a "Springsteen-like" cheer since they were recording the show tonight and wanted Chuck Negron backstage to think they're good and come out thinking he has alot of work to do. "If you don't like us, pretend we're another band you do like..PLEASE"!
Mark then went into his usual Jim Morrison type vamp to set up their 1969 hit You Showed Me. This went on for longer than usual until he started laughing and Kaylan mock told him to cool it and pointed to his rear end to show what he thought of Volman's silly shenanigans. Overall, I still love the Turtles songs and think the clowning of Flo & Eddie is funny when kept to a minimum, but Howard's voice has definitely seen better days, I'm sorry to say.

Right before Chuck Negron appeared, Flo & Eddie told us that the Turtles went through SEVEN managers and ended up back at their very first guy, who was also managing a group called Steppenwolf...and this other band who was recording songs we WISHED we were doing...THREE DOG NIGHT! "And here's the guy who sang them...CHUCK NEGRON"!

Besides the biggies he sang for the Dogs, Chuck also sang a few he wasn't the main singer on, like Eli's Coming, one of the high points of the show for me! He introduced Easy to be Hard as "a song that gets tougher for me to sing each year." During Eli he stopped and said..."Wow, got a bit light headed there. It's great though..." The final song of the night was a song that Chuck said his grandchildren are thrilled to pieces that he was a part of. Of course he was talking about Joy to the World. "And a thank you to Danny Hutton, Cory Wells, Jimmy Greenspoon, Mike Allsup, Joe Schermie and Floyd Sneed for all this great music," Chuck said towards the end of the show.

Denny Laine:

Time to Hide
Go Now
Live & Let Die
Band on the Run

Joey Molland:

Baby Blue
Come & Get It
Day After Day
No Matter What

Felix Cavaliere:

Lonely Too Long
Midnight Hour
Groovin'
People Got to be Free
Good Lovin'

Flo & Eddie Turtles Set:

You Baby
It Ain't Me Babe
Elenore
You Showed Me
She'd Rather Be With Me
Happy Together

Chuck Negron:

Shambala
Celebrate
Mama Told Me Not To Come
Easy to be Hard
Eli's Coming
One
Joy to the World
jimmy19029
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