This photo is from The USS Ramsey West Pac cruise, ca 1968, but it could have been taken by any sailor between 1964 and 1975 in any other Olongapo City bar. It could have been of me.
I am NOT a 60’s guy. I missed the sixties, or at least most of it. First there was the US Navy and Vietnam. Then family life, with kids, and learning how to work for a living mixed in with going back to school. I’m not complaining, I’m just explaining that what was happening in the civilian world or the latest music was not high on my priority list. Besides which, Country music seemed a better fit with Phoenix. Anyway, it’s hard for me to be nostalgic about that time. Especially the music.
Regardless of that when, Barb, my wife, suggested we go to the Happy Together 2013 Tour with another couple, I was all for it.
According to examiner.com: “The Happy Together 2013 Tour will bring together five of Baby Boomers’ favorite musical acts: The Turtles featuring Flo and Eddie, Gary Puckett & the Union Gap, Mark Lindsay, formerly of Paul Revere and the Raiders, Chuck Negron, formerly of Three Dog Night, and Gary Lewis & the Playboys.
I should also mention that I am not a baby boomer – I am older than any baby boomer. In fact, I am just a tad younger than Chuck Negron.
Anyway, the performance was awful. Even, painful at times.
None of those guys should be singing. Chuck
Negron did the best. Maybe, I was influenced by the fact that I knew most
of his songs. Three Dog Night didn’t form until 1967,
and if I have my facts straight, didn’t take off until 1969. It was then more of
a seventies’ band than a sixties’ band. He made up for the best singing by a
really bad fake hairpiece. Chuck performs
regularly which probably helps his singing. I hope he has better hair days in his other gigs.
I could remember words to about half of the songs. Mostly that is because I do sometimes listen to 60’s music on satellite radio. Others, I could associate with times and places where I was in those years. The majority of those I heard while sipping San Miguel beer in Olongapo, PI. I suppose that counts as nostalgia. If so, I did get some good out of the performance. (See what nostalgia is good for.) The backup band, consisting of two guitarists, a drummer and keyboard player, were younger and much better. Had they played loud enough to bury the singers’ voices it would have been better. I also enjoyed the reactions of the three baby boomers I was with. They acknowledged that those in the performance had lost “it” as we rode home listening to the 60’s on satellite radio.
It was as if the Happy Together 2013 Tour performers were locked into the 1960s and the only change was that they had lost “it”. The audience too, seemed to be locked in that time because there was applause after every song with people standing politely. I thought of several parallels. The first was the Emperor’s new clothes by Hans Christian Anderson. Someone needed to tell everyone connected to the tour that there was nothing left of their voices.
I thought also about Christianity and THE Church and how the Happy Together 2013 Tour could serve as a parable. I imagined Jesus sitting down to a meal with me and some gay and lesbian friends.
“There were some men that God had given great talent. Because of their abilities and hard work, they became rich and famous. They gave much pleasure, and many worshipped at their feet. A generation passed and still they sang. The same voices sang the same words to the same worshippers, but it was not the same. They and the world around them had changed. If you have ears, listen! 2000, (and more), year old words sung, (in a different language), have to be listened to differently. Only the melody is the same, and it must be played with new hands to sound as it did then.”
Being as dense as a stone and rather slow, (like Peter), I asked:” Lord, is the melody then more important than the words?”
He had compassion for me and said: “Only the melody can be danced to. Go, dance the dance of life. Be not as those men or those who worshiped them, singing and hearing with old voices and ears; listen to young voices with new ears. Listen, learn, and dance in the world of today, not as it was in past generations.”