2014 marks the fifth year that the “Happy Together” tour has presented their nostalgic, classic rock shows across the country. This year the tour includes headliners Flo & Eddie of Turtles fame, Gary Lewis, Mark Farner from Grand Funk Railroad, Mitch Ryder minus the Detroit Wheels, and Chuck Negron former member of Three Dog Night. Tonight’s show was the second year the show has appeared in Tucson and the livelier of the two shows. Mark Farner, the founding guitarist and lead singer of Grand Funk Railroad, was mainly responsible for the burst of energy.
Gary Lewis started the festivities with an eight-song set that was a good representation of his hits from the early sixties. Gary Lewis is formerly from the group Gary Lewis and the Playboys and the son of famed comedian Jerry Lewis. He did not hesitate to remind the audience that his song, “This Diamond Ring” pushed the Beatles off the number one spot on Billboard’s hot 100 in 1964. Other songs included were “She’s Just My Style”. “Green Grass,” “Save Your Heart For Me,” and “Everybody Loves A Clown.”
Mitch Ryder brought more energy to the show with “Little Latin Lupe Lu” as the set opener. Mr. Ryder kept his steam going with “Too Many Fish In The Sea” and the finale of “Devil With A Blue Dress/Good Golly Miss Molly.” There were lots of jokes about aging sprinkled in between the five-song set. His music sounded far from old as he moved across the stage, clapping and getting the audience off their feet. His music stills reigns supreme through the passage of time.
Mark Farner immediately followed up by revving the energy up a few more notches. He ran across the stage during his six-song, 30-minute set doing his best Mick Jagger or Adam Levine. It was obvious that he has taken care of himself over the years with his body looking buff for his 65 years. The older audience was also up on their feet singing and dancing along with Farner. Grand Funk’s music is still as fresh today as it was in the 70’s. The Happy Together band filled in the gaps very well when needed. The drummer sang the start to “We’re An American Band” and gave the impression that they’ve played together for a long time.
After a 20-minute break, Chuck Negron, formerly of Three Dog Night, kept the momentum going! His six-song set included fan favorites “One,” “Shambala,” “Mama Told Me Not To Come,” and “Joy To The World.” Once again the band was very impressive as they replicated the harmonies of Three Dog Night.
Chuck stated, “It’s great to be here tonight, it’s great to be anywhere.” This seemed to be very sincere since he was a drug casualty for many years. In lieu of that, he looked and sounded great.
The closing set was headliners’ Flo and Eddie of “Turtle” fame, did their usual seven-song set. They came on stage singing and dancing to Psy’s “Gangnam’s Style” before asking “what have they done to our music, man?” Their songs included “You Baby,” “It Ain’t Me Baby,” and “Happy Together.” At the end, all the acts returned to the stage, one at a time, to reprise their sets.
It was all fun and the crowd did a first at the Fox Theatre. They were singing the chorus to “Happy Together” in mass as they passed through the lobby when exiting the theatre. That says it all.