Saturday, October 9, 2010
Colden Auditorium, Queens College, NY
The Bobbettes, The Cavaliers, Lenny Coco and the Chimes, The Dimensions, The Dubs, Norman Fox and the Rob Roys, The Jarmels, The Quotations, Shep’s Limelights, The Paragons, Vito Piccone and the Elegants
On this nostalgic evening, entitled Oh What A Night, some dozen classic groups were presented to a wildly appreciative older crowd.
The show opened with fine acapella music followed by a solid teen singer doing a lone number. Then things heated up as one legendary act after another took to the stage in the classy Queens College hall which was about three quarters full. Each featured act was relegated to about fifteen minutes which didn’t leave much room for chatting or even introducing all the singers. Nonetheless, there were some great moments.
For yours truly, The Dubs stole the show with Could This Be Magic, Don't Ask Me To Be Lonely and Chapel of Dreams. What they do vocally is practically a lost art- just pure harmonies that are so beautiful they sent chills down my spine.
The Bobbettes were the only girl group on the show and had a gospel tinge to their thoroughly entertaining and upbeat set. Their immortal hit, Mr. Lee, of course is a show-stopper, and actually quite wild in its own way as they happily sing about killing their unfaithful lover.
Early R&B was also represented by the excellent Paragons as well as The Jarmels with A Little Bit of Soap, and also the legendary Shep’s Limelights whose Daddy’s Home still sounds fresh and remains timeless.
In the most emotional moment on the show, The Cavaliers spoke about their famed hit Last Kiss where the girl in the song dies after a car accident. The lead singer told of his own wife dying in his arms some three years back and how difficult at first it was to do the song as the lyrics now struck home. Nonetheless, he pulled it off to a rousing ovation.
Simply put, there wasn’t a clunker on the entire show. As a Wizard of Oz purist, I may not be wild about The Dimensions’ take on Over The Rainbow, but vocally they’ve still got it. Also of note, The Quotations did their hit Imagination, the Rob Roys exhibited great showmanship and energy (remember some of these folk had hits over 50 years ago!), Lenny Coco and the Chimes never fail to entertain, and Vito Piccone proved to be a fun and humorous host for the evening. However his headline set of three songs did indeed feel rushed. Three song sets can be a tease, particularly when some of the groups like this one are just too good to be scooted off, and clearly didn’t want to leave.
With a quality house band backing most of the acts, it was three plus mostly magical hours. Old folk swooned as it was once again “the good old days.” And you can’t knock that. Besides, nobody gets rich on Doo-Wop shows with a whole lot of people getting paid. So bravo to all concerned tonight for keeping this worthy music alive.