Once Upon A Dream is a multimedia / concert reuniting the original sixties Rascals line up. The show was put together & produced by Steve Van Zandt & his wife Maureen. It features a huge video back drop with an incredible video / light show put together brilliantly by Marc Brickman (the Wall / Paul McCartney).
The experience combined video footage showing the band telling their own individual stories of the Rascals history from its formation to their breakup. Other features included scenes of actors portraying the young Rascals, on the screen while playing out a particular story. This served as an intro to the next song performed by live the group on stage.
At other times the video featured pictures of the band in their heyday, vintage footage of the sixties events & an incredible psychedelic experience of colors & lights. I had seen Ronnie Spector do something similar this summer at City Winery but on a much smaller scale.
This show is more like the Broadway production of Jersey Boys except with the actual band performing! It is a great concept, hats off to Van Zandt for his great production. Hopefully this is a trend that will catch on in the concert scene.
In front of it all, the Rascals were the real show. They played an excellent concert, a fantastic performance with a video musical journey backdrop.
The Rascals led by Felix Cavaliere, an Italian /American from Pelham, New York who plays the organ & does most of the lead vocals. Cavaliere was the group's main song writer along with his writing partner Eddie Brigati. The band had no bass player, much like Ray Manzarek of the Doors, Cavaliere would play the bass notes on his organ.
With his original material, Cavaliere took the Rascals from being a top New York / New Jersey/ Long Island cover band, to one of the most successful American acts of the late sixties. The group had three number one singles, six top ten hits & twelve top forty hits from the period of 1965 to 1970.
Eddie Brigati (an Italian /American wise guy type from Garfield, New Jersey) also sings some lead vocals, plays tambourine & maracas.
Dino Danelli (another Italian /American street kid from Jersey City) is on drums & has been called one of rock's most unappreciated drummers. Besides the Rascals he has played with Little Steven & the Disciples as well as a young Jimi Hendrix & Lionel Hampton in the early sixties. Danelli was very impressive on the drums, as he did a real fine job.
Gene Cornish is the bands accomplished guitarist, originally from Ontario & the only non Italian in the band. The Rascals were joined on stage by Mark Prentice (bass & assistant musical producer) Mark Alexander (keyboards) & three backing vocalist (Angela Clemmons, Dennis Collins & Sharon Bryant).
It was the Opening night of a highly anticipated reunion which features six nights at the Capitol Theater in Portchester, New York.
History: The Capitol Theater originally opened in 1926, it eventually became a play house, movie house & in the sixties a rock venue. Traffic, Janis Joplin, Pink Floyd, the Grateful Dead all have performed at the Capitol.
The theater was then closed in 1976 & left to fall apart. It was revived in the early eighties for various events through the years & in Fall of 2012 it has reopened its doors for concerts. It is a good venue, with a lot of leg room, good size seats, a good sound system & pretty good views of the large stage.
The parking isn't as bad as I thought, I got a space on the street two blocks away but was there a few hours before the show. There are municipal lots around the theater as well. It is a busy town with a lot of traffic on its small streets at the rush hour. Portchester has become a bit trendy in a Westchester style, with a bunch of restaurants popping up in the last few years. Although off the beaten path, we ate at Batagli / Bastanavich's Tarry lodge which was excellent (pumpkin Ravioli & an awesome Osso Buco). All in all a good night out.
I admit, I am not the biggest Rascals fan it was more for my significant other & a chance to hang out with my lifelong friend; WFUV's Darren Devivo. They were all into it & I do love concerts so it was off to digging into the Rascals library. It's hard to remember how many songs these guys actually have that you know & are familiar with.
They have done an incredible job of recreating their music and the vocals were phenomenal. It was a much better show than I anticipated & it certainly made the crowd happy. There were some great psychedelic parts to the show, complete with music & visual effects on the video screen. I think that was my favorite parts since I am a huge fan of sixties psychedelic music, we need more of that in today's world!
Of course they brought the house to its feet with the big hits; Good Lovin, Groovin' I've Been Lonley Too Long & It's Beautiful Morning.
Before one of their biggest hits, Cavaliere noted how much prejudice there was geared toward his mother, being an Italian while living in Pelham, New York. He vowed from then on to never be prejudice against anyone & it became a strong point of the band on social issues. This led to the writing of one of the Rascals biggest songs: People Got To Be Free.
Approximate Set List:
The Rascals at the Capitol Theater (12/13/12)
I've Been Lonely Too Long
What Is the Reason
You Better Run
Carry Me Back
Turn On Your Love Light
Come On Up
Baby Lets Wait
Too Many Fish In The Sea
If You Knew
I Ain't Gonna Eat Out My Heart Anymore
Love Is A Beautiful Thing
Do You Feel It
It's A Beautiful Morning
A Girl Like You
How Can I Be Sure
People Got To Be Free
A Ray of Hope