Turtles' Mark Volman & Howard Kaylan


The Happy Together Tour 2011 at the State Fair Monday had too much in common with Hippiefest 2011 that played the Minnesota Zoo two weeks ago.

First of all, both of these oldies tours of 1960s acts had the same backup band. Not kidding. The same bassist, drummer, keyboardist and guitarist, all of whom are accomplished harmony singers.

Secondly, the first three acts in both shows were so-so whereas the final two compensated for what had preceded them.

Thirdly, both shows followed the same format, with 30 minute sets per act, with an intermission before the final two performers.

Here’s a look at the Happy Together Tour Monday at the grandstand in front of about 7,000 people..

Buckinghams. What a drag. Carl Giammarese does not have much of a voice, and he wasn’t even the lead singer behind "Kind of a Drag" — Dennis Tufano was. Nick Fortuna, another original member, is on board. But after hearing these two Buckinghams, I’m begging for mercy, mercy, mercy.

The Grass Roots. Lead singer Rob Grill died last month, and bassist Mark Dawson, who signed on in 2008 and has taken on the singing chores, doesn’t sound remotely like Grill or the Grass Roots’ records. Guitarist Dusty Hanvey looked the part but didn’t join the group until the mid-1980s. Does this lineup violate the Minnesota law about having an original or heyday member in a golden oldie band?

The Association. Three out of 11 members, well, that’s a better batting average than many of the Twins players have this year. The three dressed in white, suggesting a SNL sketch about the Bee Gees, with the members looking like Graham Nash, Siegfried (without Roy) and Mr. Miyagi. Russ Giguere lacked control and color whereas tenors Larry Ramos and Jim Yester sounded credible as lead vocalists. Their stage shtick was better than their singing.

Mark Lindsay. Like Mark Farner of Grand Funk at Hippiest 2011, Lindsay of Paul Revere & the Raiders is buff and tan, straight from the Dick Clark fountain of rock ‘n’ roll youth. At 69, Lindsay, who still has the same open-mouthed smile, showed winning energy, spirit and voice on "Hungry," "Arizona" and "Kicks."

The Turtles. OK, it’s just two guys — Flo (Mark Volman) and Eddie (Howard Kaylan). Pale with a wisp of white hair, Kaylan, 64, who looks like Georgie Jessel with a beard, demonstrated a startlingly bravura voice. While Volman was the jokester and harmonizer, Kaylan had the force and personality of a Broadway star doing the Turtles’ "You Showed Me," "Elenore" and, of course, "Happy Together."

In a clever finale, the Happy Together gang did a replay of the concert — with the Buckinghams singing the chorus of "Kind of a Drag," the Grass Roots doing a bit of "Midnight Confessions," the Association reprising a wiff of "Windy," Lindsay getting physical on "Kicks" and, of course, the Turtles getting the crowd to sing the "ba-ba-ba’s" on "Happy Together."



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