The Rascals: Once Upon a Dream - Hard Rock Live, Hollywood - May 24
The Rascals: Once Upon a Dream
Hard Rock Live, Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
May 24, 2013
Better than: Most oldies concerts, many Broadway shows, a lot of everything else.
The Rascals: Once A Dream is a fusion of different forms -- part concert, part musical stage production, part documentary, part history lesson, but mostly, a whole lotta fun. The emphasis is as much on the visual elements -- the amazing light show, vibrant backgrounds, informative talking heads and, yes, the prerequisite vintage video clips, along with specially staged dramatic sequences played by younger actors -- as it is on the music, all of which is why the show qualified for Broadway sell-out status night after night.
Of course, the music matters most, with no less than 30 tracks performed by the original quartet itself -- younger actors are used only sparingly for reenacted sequences. No Jersey Boys this -- the songs inevitably come front and center. And what amazing music it is -- songs like "Groovin'," "Good Lovin'," ""People Got To Be Free," "I Ain't Gonna Eat Out My Heart Anymore" -- music that helped form the soundtrack of the '60s and remains, even today, permanently embedded in the memory of those for whom the 60s aren't simply an era, but an actual age as well.
I'm most happy to report that the band -- the original foursome, Felix Cavaliere, Eddie Brigati, Dino Danelli, and Gene Cornish, along with a trio of back-up singers, a second keyboardist and a bass player -- perform those tunes with the same power and passion with which they were originally presented. Indeed, the delivery is wholly centered on them. Unlike the Beach Boys' reunion shows, there's no cast of thousands for augmentation, no audio enhancement, no nothing. Except each member performing at the height of their prowess, as if... As if... We were witnessing the same concert 45 years in the past.