Tuesday, July 05, 2005

The Flower Power 2005 Band Awards, Part 2

The Nelsons—Best Power Stances and Most Rabid Fans. Power Stances is pretty self-explanatory—they knew how to look fabulous while singing and playing a ’59 Les Paul. And they were the only people whose music was popular while I was alive. But, whoa, the fans. More specifically, the Street Teamers. They are vicious, my friend, they go to every concert and shove you out of the way without a thought. Be Afraid. The music is worth going to see them, just wear protective gear. In spite of this, the boys are very gracious, and a credit to their dad’s legacy.

Gary Puckett—Best A Capella Harmony, and Closest Elvis Connection. It’s funny, this guy moves like a lounge singer and he wears lounge singer-esque tropic print shirts, but he sounds like Elvis, I swear. He called his band together for one song and their harmony, sans music, was tight, man. And then he told his Elvis story, which basically condenses to them both performing in the same venue, he met Elvis getting onto an elevator, Elvis came to his show later that night and said, “That boy can sang.” So I figure that’s as close to Elvis as I’ll ever get:)

Orleans—Most Onstage Instrument Changes. They kept swapping, this for that, my guitar for your bass, a funky mini keyboard thing that you played with your mouth, and so forth. After while I forgot who played what, only that three guys usually stayed in the front, and two in the back. It was a good show, just not as eventful as some of the others.

Rare Earth—Most, umm, Indefinable. Are they metal or Motown or what? We couldn’t tell. The show was fun anyway; they did “Get Ready” (the short version, the real length is about 20 minutes), and in the middle, the bass player, this old guy with wild eyes and long grey hair, did a great bass solo. Now, bass solos are hard to come by (because guitarists usually get all the glory:) and good ones even more so. We really liked seeing—and hearing--that.

B.J. Thomas—My Mother’s Favorite. This guy has so many songs, it’s not funny. He could sing all of them and still not be through in a week. My favorite things he said were, “How ‘bout my band, y’all”, cause he said it at least three times a show and I thought it was funny; and “The young people in the audience probably think I’m Mr. Hokey,” which was also funny, even though we were just about the youngest ones there and I didn’t think he was hokey. I guess you had to be there. We heard “Raindrops” about six times, and did you know he did the theme song to Growing Pains? I didn’t. Oh, and he would start a song, fudge a little on the words he had forgotten, talk in the middle of it, and say he wished he hadn’t started the song in the first place. It was great:)

Eric Burdon and the Animals—Loudest. Definitely the Loudest. I don’t know if the setup was wrong, or it was the fault of those weird turning speaker things, or if they were just loud, but their show was the only one I wished I’d brought earplugs to. I like “House of the Rising Sun,” it’s a classic, but I think I’d rather listen to it a little less painfully. The keyboardist, though, was nice—he liked to wave from the stage. And he played the violin, which was an interesting contrast to his long hair/grunge metal look.

Felix Cavaliere’s Rascals—Best Use of an Organ. Now, a lot of the bands used an organ—I guess it was a sixties thing, since the keyboard wasn’t invented yet—but this guy made it sound great, and you could tell he loved to play it. “Good Lovin’” was my favorite song, but the Rascals also do “It’s a Beautiful Morning” (which reminds me of breakfast cereal) and “Groovin’”, among others. The guitarist used a Telecaster, for that nice crunchy sound, a la Los Lonely Boys, and was the only one at Flower Power who did; and Felix Cavaliere is a great stage performer—friendly, energetic, comedic, and good to his Rascals. We really enjoyed the shows—and if we had to pick favorites, these guys would be up there on our list.

Arlo Guthrie—Best Stories.
Most of his songs were stories, so yeah, they were funny ones—about pickles and Joseph and restaurants and other things like that, all told to guitar tunes and lasting anywhere from 5 to 18 minutes apiece. He could play the guitar, sing the story, and play the harmonica at the same time—talented, isn’t he? Also appearing were his daughter, Sarah Lee, and son-in-law, and various other family members who waltzed in to sing something or other at various times. We loved to hear Sarah Lee talk—“Sure, Pop, just let me switch to this other guitar” ; in the middle of a song, “Pop, are you in G?” all in this sweet little country voice which, if she weren’t so sincere, would be funny.

All in all, it was good end to a great run of shows. We had so much fun running through Epcot (late as always!) every other day or so for two straight months, it was crazy. I would love to do this again next year; in the meantime, there is the Food and Wine Festival concert series, Eat to the Beat, to look forward to; and if I start to miss the music, I can always pop in a hits of the sixties CD.

Until next time;)


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