the buckinghams

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Turtles Happy Together Tour 2015, State Theater, New Brunswick

Published August 3, 2015 by Maryanne

HappyTogether_Front-2Happy Together Tour 2015

My husband surprised me with tickets to this fabulous show last night at the State Theatre, New Brunswick, New Jersey.

It was a last minute decision, so we had seats in the last row! (If we got closer, we wouldn’t have been able to sit together, though we did see some people trading seats so they could be with the ones they came in with).

We had a blast! Every band was so tight and fun. There was a “house band” for most of the acts (for bass, drums and keys), which moved things along as every band did their hits.

First up was The Buckinghams, whose famous hit was “Kind of a Drag.”

Then our personal favorites — The Cowsills!! We saw them last year at a headline show in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, which was amazing. It was The Cowsills who brought us to this show. They opened with my favorite, “The Rain, The Park & Other Things.” Other hits were “Love American Style,” “Indian Lake,” and the legendary “Hair.”

Next was The Grass Roots with hits “Midnight Confessions” and “I’d Wait a Million Years.” (I had both singles as a little girl!)

Then came The Association. Known for “Along Came Mary,” “Cherish,” and the most beautiful “Never My Love.”

Then Mark Lindsay who sang with Paul Revere and the Raiders and had a huge hit, “Kicks.”

And finally, The Turtles (who I saw 10 years ago at an outdoor show in Hoboken). My favorites by them is “Eleanor.” And they had the whole audience standing for their biggest hit “Happy Together.”

As a finale, all the bands came out again and performed a few lines of their hits.

What a super fun, high energy show! If you get a chance to get tickets, this line-up is phenomenal!

SAM_8160Waiting for the show to start!

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is author of “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist.”

July 4th Music Extravaganza! (Toys/1910 Fruitgum Co./Buckinghams)

Published July 5, 2014 by Maryanne

SAM_5143Me and Barbara Harris

My husband and I had an amazing July 4th!

The town next to ours, Springfield, New Jersey, hosts a wonderful music program every July 4th — featuring Barbara Harris and The Toys, and 1910 Fruitgum Company. It’s been a tradition for us, for the past five years, to go see them and get a spot right in front!

Prior to the show, Barbara Harris actually recognized me (from going to all the shows!) She gave me a big, warm hello and we chatted. That truly made my night. Her hit “A Lover’s Concerto” is one of my favorite love songs of all time. Though it was a hit in the 1960s, I first discovered the song, around 1981, when I was working my first job and I’d hear it on the way to work on AM radio.

And of course it’s always the highlight of their shows when they perform “A Lover’s Concerto” (also known as “How Gentle is the Rain.”) They also did “Open Arms” by Journey, “Proud Mary” by Tina Turner, their other Top 10 hit, “Attack” and a medley of hits from girl groups of the 1960s.

When Barbara Harris was introduced, the announcer said she was “the nicest lady in the world.” I totally agree! Barbara is just full of light and love — a total inspiration! And boy, that lady can dance! According to Wikipedia, she was born 1945 — you’d never know it! She has the energy of a 20-something and is gorgeous too!

Next up was 1910 Fruitgum Company, another band I loved when I was a little girl. They did a string of hits of their own, plus hits by others such as the Beach Boys and the Turtles. My favorite Fruitgum hits are “1-2-3 Red Light” and of course, “Simon Says” which always gets me dancing!

As a bonus, last night, Dennis Tufano, of The Buckinghams, performed with Fruitgum Company. He was a phenomenal show man — funny and charismatic — and belted out tunes like he was on fire! Of his songs, my favorite was “Kind of a Drag.” He also did some Bobby Darin tunes and other numbers.

After the show, there was a fireworks display.

My husband, Dennis, got the Buckinghams CD autographed by Dennis Tufano — and joked with him that they were both Italians named “Dennis.”

I got to meet Frank Jeckell, original Fruitgum Co. member. We all took pictures too. His wife was so nice to take a picture of both me and my husband with him.

A very fun evening. Also got to see our friends Bobby (who once ran a very cool place in Montclair, The Soda Pop Shop),  and Art & Wendy (who we met a few weeks ago at the Lou Christie show).

A perfect summer night, that was actually chilly like September!