Get Adobe Flash player

Wi-Fi Sing-Along At Wolf Trap With The Turtles, ETC.

August 21st, 2012 · Tags:Arts · Cities


The site had fallen, but now it is up. Here is a post we put up on Facebook while we waited to be rescued …

Anywho … what the heck. The ping goes on. So, today, let’s talk music … “I’ll take ‘Vintage Rock ‘n’ Roll Sing-alongs” for 100, please.”

If the gameshow Jeopardy had a category called “Rock Songs With Etc.,” I think Alex Trebek and friends would be hard pressed to list more than two songs in answer form …

So, how ironic that my travels to the Washington DC area did just that, detecting two E-T-C-s. Just before the PingWi-Fi site went down, I posted a review of an all-time favorite band — Wilco. I noted that one of their best songs was a highlight of the show – “Jesus, Etc.”

Then the next show on the bill for me at Vienna, Va.’s great outdoor venue — Wolf Trap — was The Turtles, A Monkee (Micky Dolenz), The Grassroots, Gary Puckett, etc.

What do The Turtles and company have to do with etc.? Well think back to all of their hits. EVERYONE knows the old sing-along “Imagine me and you and you and me …” (“Happy Together”)


Happy Together


But some of you will recall The Turtles had several hits. Like The Beatles, they had one nice harmony tune about an Elenor. And in that song is one of the only et cetera’s I know of in rock lyrics. So that is why I footnoted etc. in the last blog on Ping … a typically verbose story … but it is what we do.

“Elenore, gee I think you’re swell

And you really do me well

You’re my pride and joy, et cetera …”


About The Turtles …

I love their music, dating back to my earliest boyhood memories of AM radio, listening while riding in the car with my family, on late night Texas caravans … after my brother’s high school football games. When I got to high school, we were still singing Turtles songs in the back of the bus on football and basketball trips …

In part, I think I was excited to see The Turtles … a.k.a. “Flo and Eddie” because it reminds me of my brothers and sister … Without them, prolly wouldn’t know much about music … or anything for that matter. (FYI … Flo is short for Fluorescent …)


The Turtles


Did you know members of The Turtles formed the core of Frank Zappa’s Mothers of Invention?

As these oldies started running off their hits, I felt a very strong connection with my oldest brother Ron (whom, sadly, is deceased.) He played in a garage band and they did some Turtles covers, if memory serves. We all loved The Turtles, so many years ago.

Ha … pretty sure my brother’s band played some Grassroots too. I know for a fact there were some ‘Roots in my brothers’ music collections. … The Grassroots were playing “Midnight Confession” just as I walked into Wolf Trap. It was a magical moment … like time traveling back to a simpler time …

Another old favorite band was on the bill, and they played second. But, sorry to say, I missed The Buckinghams … Darn it – kind of drag.

I was in time to see Gary Puckett of Gary Puckett & The Union Gap … a band with a string of hits and equally interesting, a band that did promotional photos back in the day dressed in Civil War uniforms. Remember their mutton chops? Ha … remember ’em … I was at the show sporting chops. Puckett was still good, but there was just no way his voice could match what he did 40-some-odd years ago on “Lady Willpower” “Young Girl” and such … tunes that sold millions of records. But … still really impressive, with a voice that now sounds much more classically trained, rather than that of a raw young talent.

Also, I made it to the show in time for Micky. All of us Monkees fans will forever be sad because of the recent death of Davy Jones (he died about five months prior to the show.) And of course, Mike Nesmith, probably the most talented of the TV group, has little to do with his Monkees peers …

Thanks to Micky’s energy and a great photo tribute to Davy Jones on the big screen behind the stage, soon Monkees melancholy was replaced with hope … in the form of the happy go-lucky sleepy Jean song — “Daydream Believer.”

Micky followed with the upbeat “Walkout” … “It’s a little bit me … a little bit you.” Great nostalgia!

Ha … as i enjoyed the show, I couldn’t help but wonder if I was the only one who had to get up at five the next morning … I am pretty sure the rest of the music lovers that night were retired.

Even the recorded music during band intermissions was great nostalgia … Remember “Itchycoo Park” by Small Faces … with Steve Marriot who went on to lead Humble Pie? So, during intermission all the old hippies were singing “It’s all too beautiful.”

It is interesting to point out that the big name artists on the bill were all backed up by the same musicians. The same bandmembers playing Gary Puckett’s songs were doing The Monkees’ “I’m not your stepping stone” as Micky pranced and gestured around the stage, rather than playing drums like the old days.

I would say Micky sounded more like his heyday voice, compared t the first few acts.

And now it all makes sense to me why so many of the old dudes at the concert were sporting Zappa t-shirts with their love beads …

At first, I thought Micky’s choice of songs was questionable … and I suspected there might be a legal issue over the rights to old Monkees material. But, he was teasing us. Soon he began giving credit to the old songwriters and doing Monkees standards … name dropping songwriters like Boyce and Hart, Carole King, Neil Diamond, Henry Nilsson … Carole wrote “Pleasant Valley Sunday!” I did not know that.

Micky quipped for the younger kids at the show, that Neil Diamond wrote “I’m A Believer” long before the tune made it on the Shrek soundtrack. Man I love music education …

Finally … The Turtles … Flo and Eddy

You know … when I was a wee lad, back in the day it used to upset me when The Turtles would do silly schtick between songs during their appearances on TV. (Guess I always took music pretty seriously.) Now that they are old men … it actually worked pretty well for F&E. Ha! They started out doing some Lady Gaga, then stopped and straightened up a bit.

You would expect old guys to slow their songs down, but The Turtles did an uptempo, version of their hit “She’d Rather Be With Me.” Very energetic with lots of cowbell … (Can’t go wrong with more cowbell …)

More Turtles

Ha … I would be remiss if I did not mention Flo looks a bit like a grandpa Howard Stern … just saying.

Great version of “You Baby” too …

But in the end … All of the bands came on stage for an encore … an encore with The Buckinghams, Grassroots, et al.


The Buckinghams


Know what I sayin?