Have you ever noticed, in these days of mass marketing and advertising excess, companies are struggling to make their product stand out and find an audience? In many cases they stretch the truth way beyond acceptable levels.
You've probably seen some pretty wild claims before.
“The Father of all weight loss products!”– Garcinia Gambogia
"Select"...I lost 110 pounds in just one month!
“Vitahar” - Clinically proven to reverse hair loss in men and women !
Cheat Death by drinking "Pomegranate" juice!
Acai Berries, "Homestyle" Frozen Waffles and even Natural Cheetos. It seems like everything is claiming to be something it's not. What the heck are “natural” Cheetos anyway?
What do expect when you see these wacky assertions? More importantly, what do you find when try them?
One word - “Disappointment”
A few weeks back, I saw an ad for an event called “Hippiefest” to be held at the Fox Theater in Tucson, Arizona. Tucson is one of my favorite towns, can be an eclectic place to visit and is less than two hours away. I haven't been to Tucson in years.
This sounds like a match made in “Hippie Heaven.”
First, let's look at my expectations.
I'm thinking of of an eccentric, off-the-wall concert hosting several classic bands from the late 60's/early 70's sporting funky outfits with tie-died shirts, long, shaggy graying hair and weird glasses and beads....plenty of beads.
I'm thinking bands like “The Turtles”, The Mama's and the Papas”, “Grateful Dead” and “Jefferson Airplane” to name a few.
I'm looking to relive the “Summer of Love” and celebrate one of the most incredible eras in music and American culture.
The bill for this concert boasted headliners "The Family Stone” and performances from “Rick Derringer”, “Badfinger” featuring Joey Molland and "Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels."
The advertisements shouted: “These are the sounds that defined the 60's.”
Well, this line-up was not exactly what I expected to see at a "Hippiefest" but I liked all of these bands, especially Badfinger and Mitch Ryder. They were close enough to being “hippie” bands for me.
Luckily, I didn't bust out an ancient concert T-shirt and don my faded jeans and headband because I really would have stood out in the crowd. Sure, the audience was music loving Baby Boomers like me but somehow we didn't represent. Instead of semi-seniors dressed in 60's regalia smoking pot and flashing peace signs I shared the theater with middle aged business folks. The attire for the evening was just regular shorts, t shirts and tennis shoes like you see everybody wear in Arizona.
So, if the audience didn't represent our “hippie” roots then I have to tell you, neither did the music.
In the past there have been some great names on this tour (Dave Mason, Mark Farner, Jack Bruce and Gary Wright) including what I would call some tried and true “hippie” bands like “The Rascals, “War” and “Rare Earth.”
I guess 2015 was just a tough year for booking “hippie” bands.
Mitch Ryder took the stage first and was backed up by Rick Derringer's current band. There were no “Detroit Wheels.”
Let me tell you though, Mitch rocked. In fact, I think he was the highlight of the show. He was total high energy from start of “Jenny Take a Ride” through “Little Latin Lupe Lu”, “Sock It To Me” and the classic R & B song “C.C. Rider.” He brought the crowd to their feet with his finale “Devil With Blue Dress On” and “Good Golly Miss Molly.”
I couldn't see the stage so clear from the balcony (old age you know) but the way Mitch moved and ran the stage I swear we were back in the 60's again.
I gotta tell you again, it wasn't that awful. Joey sounded real solid as he drove through the classic Badfinger hits like “Come and Get It,” “No Matter What,” “Day After Day” and “Baby Blue.”
Once again, it wasn't what I would call “hippie” type music but it sounded very good. The audience didn't have a chance to get up and dance (obviously with the ethereal music) as with Mitch Ryder but you could tell they were into it by how they sang along.
Overall, Joey sounded real good and Rick Derringer's band did a great job bringing the old Badfinger standards to life once again. I guess Badfinger has experienced a recent resurgence of sorts, with the song “Baby Blue” being used as the swan song in the finale of the popular show “Breaking Bad.”
Rick didn't do anything to disappoint the crowd as he rolled out his hits “Rock & Roll Hoochie Koo”, “Real American”, “Hang On Sloopy” and “Still Alive and Well.”
He didn't carry the same energy at Mitch Ryder did and he almost lost the audience when he took off into a couple of extended guitar solos. They were technically outstanding but not what the crowd was there to hear. They wanted to party "hippie" style. It was fun seeing Rick again, though. The first time I saw him was over 40 years ago when he played with Edgar Winter.
OK, so far we saw three solid, classic rock acts from the 70's and they really did sound as good as when we/they were younger. So, would the evening come to a "far-out" finish?
The stage was set for "The Family Stone."
Now don't get me wrong, when I was a young pup, I loved Sly & the Family Stone. I still have a half dozen or more of their records. A weekend party wasn't complete without a bunch of us pretending we had rhythm dancing to “Everyday People”, “Dance to the Music” or “Thank You.” They played these songs as well as their other hits “Family Affair”, “I Get High on You”, “I Wanna Take You Higher,”and “Hot Fun in the Summertime,”
When they rolled out “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)" it sounded just like it was spelled. But something was missing. It was Sly Stone.
Sure the band brings together three founding members of the original Sly & the Family Stone with saxophonist Jerry Martini, trumpet player Cynthia Robinson and drummer Greg Errico, as well as Phunne Stone, the daughter of Robinson and Sly & the Family Stone front-man Sly Stone. But they didn't sound good. They weren't electric. They were boring. They jammed way too much, sang way too little and introduced everyone in the band too many times.
They should have stuck to the script. They definitely were not, in any way,shape or form, “Hippie.” I was shocked, that I didn't enjoy Family Stone at all and they actually soured the evening for me.
As close as I got to being a “hippie” was stopping in after the concert at a local shop to indulge in some crazy good lemon pistachio ice cream while being serenaded by a local ukulele player who was in town for a ukulele festival.
Overall, the show wasn't bad. Unfortunately, it wasn't "hippie."
Maybe next year we'll check out whose in the new line up and return to Tucson.
Word to the concert promoters though............."We're getting older!"
If you are going to use the “Hippiefest” moniker again, you had better find the true “hippie” bands that are still on the circuit and you better do it fast because there ain't as many as there used to be. Groovy Baby !!
It's easy to tell them about it.
Forward it on to them or just email them my blog link at www.survive55.com.
The more Baby Boomers we can help, the better place we make this world !!!
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