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Salute to the '60s

I recently attended my first concert at the Star Plaza Theatre in Merrillville, IN. The event was appropriately titled, Salute to the '60s, as it showcased three retro acts that originated in the '60s: the Grass Roots, the Buckinghams, and Herman's Hermits Starring Peter Noone. Though this was my first time attending the show, I discovered that the three bands have been performing at this theatre every year for the past 26 years. They aren't showing any signs of slowing down, either. They announced that they've already been booked there for next year! 

Being a big fan of the oldies genre of music, I knew that I would enjoy the show, but I didn't realize just how much it would feel like I had stepped into a time machine and been transported back to 1967 until I arrived at the theatre. I had arrived early and had to wait outside in the lobby with some of the other guests while the bands were rehearsing. We could hear them as we waited outside, and a woman old enough to be my grandmother peaked through the door to get an early glimpse at the bands as the man who I assume was her husband chastised her, shouting her name and telling her to cut it out. It was an act that you could more easily picture a teenager doing than a senior citizen, but that was the beauty of the show. People who had enjoyed these bands since the '60s felt youthful again, and those of us who hadn't been born yet when these bands were in their prime felt like we were now living in the '60s. I absolutely loved the feeling.

The Grass Roots opened the show. Known for songs like Let's Live for Today, Temptation Eyes, and Sooner or Later, the current iteration is composed of band members chosen by original band member Rob Grill. Sadly, Rob Grill himself passed away in 2011, but the current band continues to carry on the legacy he started.

Once the Grass Roots were done rocking, the Buckinghams, best known for songs like Don't You CareSusan, and Kind of a Drag, took the stage. Despite their name indicating otherwise, the Buckinghams are actually an American band from Chicago and not a British band. If you assumed that they were British based on their name, though, don't feel too bad. While they were on stage, one of the Buckinghams told a story about how one TV show they had appeared on in the '60s had decorated the stage with a bunch of British flags for their performance. Apparently, the show's producers had mistakenly assumed the same thing.

Remember how I mentioned that being at this show felt like taking a time machine back to the '60s? One of my favorite moments of the show was when the lead singer of the Buckinghams reverted back to teen idol mode and stepped out into the crowd, passing out roses and kissing the hands of screaming female fans. It was a scene I could totally picture having happened back when the band was in their prime, and I loved seeing it happen right in front of me today.

Last up to close out the show was Herman's Hermits Starring Peter Noone. My research tells me that there are two different versions of Herman's Hermits currently touring, both containing one original member of the band, thus explaining the extended name Herman's Hermits Starring Peter Noone. Besides playing the classic Herman's Hermits tunes, Peter Noone also performed some songs from other artists, such as Do Wah Diddy DiddyFerry Cross the Mersey, and even Johnny Cash's I Walk the Line. For being British, I found Peter Noone's impersonation of Johnny Cash to be surprisingly good. He closed the show out by getting the audience to sing the song I'm Henry the VIII, I Am along with him, a moment that really seemed to pump the audience up.

I had such a blast at this concert that I'm already considering seeing these guys again next year. I hope you enjoyed reading my account of the concert as much as I enjoyed experiencing it in person. Be sure to leave me a comment if this article piqued your interest at all.
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Lazlo Posted on Mar 29, 2017 at 03:06 AM

I love '60s music!! As an '80s kid, while I loved my own era's music, I also often found myself nostalgic for the particular style and creativity of the '60s. And I wasn't alone, because '60s nostalgia was very big back then. About a year ago, I got to see Peter Noone, of Herman's Hermits performing at Epcot in Orlando, Florida, and he will be performing there soon again. Great concert!

Superman Posted on Mar 23, 2017 at 03:21 AM

Hoju, I'm enough of an oldies fan that I recognize all of those names. I bet they were a lot of fun to see.

Hoju Koolander Posted on Mar 22, 2017 at 02:13 AM

I have always had a soft spot for oldies as well and went to a 60's superstars show at a county fair around 1989 where acts like The Monkees, Bobby "Boris" Pickett (The Monster Mash) and The Tokens ( The Lion Sleeps Tonight) among others performed, it was great. I would have loved to see all those Grandmas freaking out at your show.

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