Happy Together Tour 2018: ‘The Show Must Go On’

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The annual Happy Together Tour has been a sure thing for so long that ticket-buyers don’t really even need to know in advance who the performers will be: a splendid time is guaranteed for all. Each year, five or six hitmaking AM radio-centric bands and solo artists from the ’60s wind their way across the United States, recreating those hits. The cast of characters changes slightly from year to year—most acts stick around for a couple of years before someone takes their place, although returnees are many—but whoever graces the stage, patrons can be sure to hear a jukebox’s worth of memorable hits.

There has been one constant throughout the history of the annual tour though and that’s been The Turtles, whose 1967 #1 hit “Happy Together” lends its title to the tour. And the Turtles, the hosts of the show since the beginning of the Happy Together Tour, has for decades been two guys, lead singer Howard Kaylan and his partner in vocal and comedy crime, Mark Volman. Also known as Flo and Eddie (Mark and Howard, respectively), the pair has fronted the Turtles since the band’s heyday in the ’60s and in all their incarnations since.

But this year’s different: Kaylan, due to health reasons, has been forced to sit out the tour. As Volman explains in this video from one of the 2018 tour’s opening shows, Kaylan needed back surgery and was prohibited by his doctors from joining the tour. Before he could get that back surgery, Volman relates, he needed to have not one but two heart procedures.

Related: Howard Kaylan talks Turtles, album by album

What to do? The thought of the headlining Turtles without Howard Kaylan’s voice might strike some fans as sacrilegious—sort of like seeing the Stones without Mick or the Who without Roger—but it was decided, as Volman relates in the video below, that in the grand tradition of performance, “the show must go on.” So, sitting in for Howard Kaylan on the 2018 run is Ron Dante, best known as the lead voice for the cartoon-rock band the Archies. It was Dante who sang “Sugar, Sugar,” the best-selling hit of 1969, and also Dante who provided the lead vocal on hits by the Detergents (“Leader of the Laundromat”) and the Cuff Links (“Tracy”), and Dante who produced nine albums for Barry Manilow. Dante was recruited to be a Turtle for 2018 so that fans wouldn’t have to miss the Happy Together Tour, which also stars this year The Association, Chuck Negron of Three Dog Night, Gary Puckett, Mark Lindsay of Paul Revere and the Raiders, and the Cowsills.

Watch Ron Dante and Mark Volman sing “Sugar, Sugar” after Mark explains Howard Kaylan’s absence from the tour

The 2018 tour launched June 7 in Jacksonville, Fla., and according to all reports thus far, is  a crowd-pleasing success as always. Best Classic Bands wishes Howard Kaylan a speedy recovery and the members of the 2018 Happy Together Tour a successful and fun romp.

Watch Gary Puckett sing “Lady Willpower” at the Jacksonville tour opener

Watch Mark Lindsay sing the Raiders’ “Indian Reservation” and “Kicks” on June 29

Set Lists from the Happy Together Tour, Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater, Florida, June 10, 2018
(not in order of appearance)

The Cowsills
The Rain, the Park and Other Things
We Can Fly
Indian Lake
Love American Style

Watch The Cowsills sing “The Rain, The Park and Other Things” at the 2018 Happy Together Tour

Chuck Negron
Mama Told Me Not to Come
Eli’s Coming
Joy to the World

Watch Chuck Negron sing “Joy to the World” at the Jacksonville tour opener

The Association
Never My Love
Along Comes Mary

Watch the Association perform “Windy” on June 29 in Brooklyn, NY

Gary Puckett and the Union Gap
Lady Willpower
Over You
This Girl Is a Woman Now
Woman, Woman
Young Girl

Mark Lindsay
Steppin’ Out
Just Like Me
Good Thing
Indian Reservation (The Lament of the Cherokee Reservation Indian)

The Turtles
She’d Rather Be With Me
You Baby
It Ain’t Me, Babe
You Showed Me
Sugar, Sugar
Peaches en Regalia
Happy Together
Happy Together Tour Finale

Happy Together 2018 Tour Schedule (Tickets are available here and here)

Aug 05 – West Allis, WI – Wisconsin State Fair
Aug 08 – Effinham, IL – Effingham Perf. Ctr
Aug 09 – Kettering, OH – Fraze Pavilion for the Perf. Arts
Aug 10 – New Buffalo, MI – Four Winds Casino
Aug 11 – Manistee, MI – Little River Casino
Aug 12 – Northfield, OH – Hard Rock Live
Aug 13 – Indianpolis, IN – Indiana State Fairgrounds
Aug 15 – Nashville, TN – Ryman Auditorium
Aug 17 – Aurora, IL – Paramount Theatre
Aug 18 – St. Charles, MO – Family Arena
Aug 19 – Kansas City, MO – Muriel Kaufman Theatre
Aug 21 – Louisville, KY – Kentucky State Fair
Aug 23 – Appleton, WI – Fox Cities PAC
Aug 24 – Onamia, MN – Grand Casino Mille Lacs Event Center
Aug 26 – Deadwood, SD – Deadwood Mountain Grand Event Center


Best Classic Bands Staff

4 Comments so far

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  1. GG
    #1 GG 15 June, 2018, 15:21

    I love these guys and I have compassion for Howard’s condition BUT I bought my tix before they announced Howard wouldn’t be on the tour and the venue wouldn’t do a refund….”only if show was cancelled”…..your headline says it all: “key” Turtle not on tour……I think they could have handled this better…..I’m going but I have a bad taste in my mouth……just sayin’……..

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  2. bruceterrible
    #2 bruceterrible 16 August, 2018, 16:17

    It was a good concert other then Gary Puckett, poor guy needs to hang it up.

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  3. Wheels
    #3 Wheels 18 August, 2018, 00:12

    For a few hours we were teenagers again and so were the performers! We loved, Loved, LOVED it!

    Reply this comment
  4. don hoo
    #4 don hoo 20 August, 2018, 01:57

    Good tune, but the band overwhelmed the vocals all night long.Sitting the balcony, wishing we could have heard more of the singing at he St. Charles concert Aug 20,18

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