Howard Kaylan - vocals; Mark Volman - vocals, guitar; Andy Cahan - keyboards, vocals; Phil Reed - lead guitar; Eric Scott - bass; Jimmy Hunter - drums
Following a string of international hits in the 1960s, including the pop confection masterpiece, "Happy Together," The Turtles called it quits in 1970. The two primary vocalists and front men, Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman, along with bass player Jim Pons, were invited to join Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention. Their contributions led to one of the most outrageous incarnations of that band and the most vocally gifted. Contractual restrictions prohibited Kaylan and Volman from using their own names or any reference to The Turtles in any other musical context, so they became known as the Phlorescent Leech and Eddie during their tenure in The Mothers. They recorded several albums with Zappa, including the classic Live At Fillmore East, "Chunga's Revenge," "Just Another Band From L.A." and appeared prominently in Zappa's 200 Motels movie.
Disaster struck twice as they were touring Europe with The Mothers. Famously chronicled in Deep Purple's song, "Smoke On The Water," during a Mothers performance a venue in Montreux, Switzerland burned to the ground, along with much of their equipment. Days later, while performing in London, Frank Zappa was attacked onstage by an irate boyfriend of a fan, sustaining serious injuries and canceling all future plans during his recovery. With a solid cache of irreverent comedy and a large supply of quality songs, Kaylan and Volman continued touring and recorded their first album, The Phlorescent Leech and Eddie. Over the course of the next decade, they developed their own following by touring extensively, releasing additional albums under the Flo & Eddie name and creating a popular radio show. Following years of legal restrictions, Kaylan and Volman finally reclaimed The Turtles name in 1983. This allowed them to tour as "The Turtles featuring Flo & Eddie," and along with another hit machine in the late 1960s, Gary Puckett, attracted audiences from every conceivable age group. In 1984, they expanded this original concept and together with three other groups from the 1960s (Gary Puckett, Spanky & Our Gang, and the Association), they traveled across North America as "The Happy Together Tour," another highly successful endeavor that created a resurgence of the interest in 1960s music. This concept was repeated in 1985, when it consistently became one of the top grossing American tours, leading to appearances on MTV, VH-1, The Today Show, The Tonight Show, Garry Shandling, and even as the musical voices for the National Dairy Council and Saturn automobiles.
This recording captures a performance near the beginning of that initial 1983 comeback tour, when The Turtles and Gary Puckett were invited to tape a live performance for "Friends In Concert," a regional television show based out of Salt Lake City. Before an enthusiastic audience gathered at Scaggs Telecommunications Studios, Kaylan, Volman, and friends deliver a high energy set comprised of four of The Turtles greatest hits of the 1960s in addition to two of the most popular Flo & Eddie songs of the 1970s.
They kick things off with the crowning jewel of their Moving Targets album, "Keep It Warm." Here Kaylan and Volman weave strong images of political disdain and a crumbling social utopia into a playful homage to The Beach Boys and The Beatles. The disturbing lyrical images are balanced by a remarkably beautiful and sensitive final verse. "Keep It Warm" remains one of the most clever and perfect encapsulations of an era, remaining as touching today as it was when this song was originally unveiled in 1976. Next up are two 1960s Turtles hits back to back, beginning with the rebellious "Let Me Be" followed by "She's My Girl," both fine examples of Kaylan and Volman's infectious vocal blend and power. The humorous "Nikki Hoi," which became a ubiquitous morning radio staple in the 1970s, is also given the live treatment here, complete with a limbo interlude and a Polynesian-Calypso feel provided by the steel drum timbre of Andy Cahan's keyboards.
This all builds up to the double punch of two more Turtles classics to end the set. Both written by the team of Gary Bonner and Alan Gordon, a strong forceful "She'd Rather Be With Me" leads up to "Happy Together," the song that will forever be synonymous with The Turtles name. The highly distinctive vocal magic that created this infectious pop masterpiece is fully intact. Kaylan and Volman's vocals soar, with the studio audience lending their voices to the joyous refrain.