July 29, 2006 Barnstable County Fair, E. Falmouth, Cape Cod, MA

By: Joanne

2006 is the 40th anniversary of The Grass Roots, a band I have been a fan of since 1969. Something in the lead singer’s voice peaked my ears when I heard a song called Heaven Knows on the radio. I had to find out who that was. Not too much time went by when I found out who the band was. After visiting my local record store I discovered what they looked like and what that voice looked like. I managed to buy all the albums up to that point and played them constantly. Occasionally I would see them on TV shows like American Bandstand, Andy Williams, Ed Sullivan and Sonny and Cher. I wished I could see them perform live. My wish didn’t come true until 2002 when I saw them perform in Middletown, NY. Finally, there was the man behind the voice. Rob was recovering from hip surgery and he wasn’t playing bass, but his voice was still clear as a bell and did I mention those eyes!!! After each show Rob always signs autographs and has the CD Live At Last on sale to “take The Grass Roots home with you”. Of course I had to buy one and have him sign it, I was so star struck I couldn’t get the words out of my mouth, but I did manage to say Hi.

That was many, many shows ago, and I have come to know and respect the man behind that voice who has endured the trials and tribulations of the music business for 40 years. He was joined on stage with current band members Dusty Hanvey on lead guitar, Larry Nelson on keyboards and Joe Dougherty on drums. These men have been with Rob on and off for 24 years. Of them Rob said once “they were selected to be in the band because they are excellent musicians”. They adhere to the integrity of the songs we all heard on the radio and record players. Depending on the length of the show we sometimes hear bonus songs like Drift Away, Something About You Baby, and Mamacita but always hear the big hits. Songs like Love Grows (The Rosemary Song), Don’t Pull Your Love Out On Me were written for The Grass Roots, but were turned down by the group members. As Rob writes in the liner notes of the Live At Last CD, “Whoops!!” He includes those songs in the shows and on the CD because he wanted people to hear what those songs would have sounded like if The Grass Roots had recorded them. During song breaks Rob lets his comedic side show with jokes and stories that have the audience laughing.

I am always amazed at the age ranges of people who attend these shows. People who were fans of the original band, then the ones who become fans because of oldies radio and people who just became fans by going to a show. Because one sure thing - when you finally go to a Grass Roots show, you will want to go again and again. Not because of becoming a “groupie” but because the show is so fantastic and fun it is guaranteed to put a smile on your face with wonderful memories in the process.

Yes, the times have sure changed since 1966 who would have thought The Grass Roots would have such a long and lasting legacy. I am one fan who is pleased and very proud of their accomplishments.

 

Grass Roots Concert 4-21-07

The weather was excellent for The Grass Roots concert at the Punta Gorda Block Party. This annual event draws crowds from all over Florida. The Grass Roots gave a spectacular performance to a large enthusiastic crowd. As the opening band concluded their performance, Dusty Hanvey was the first Grass Root on the stage to set up his instrument and check out the lay of the land. Within minutes Larry Nelson appeared at the keyboards making sure everything was go. Joe Dougherty was then spotted behind the drum kit, repositioning the gear to his liking. He had a determined look on his face to get it done right. A few minutes passed. The legend that is Rob Grill appeared on stage surveying the crowd and everything that was going on around him. He has a great personal presence whether he is on the stage or not. There is really nobody like him in the world. It is like seeing lightning in a bottle. After seeing that everything was OK and setting up his bass, Rob and all of The Grass Roots were ready for the show.

After the announcer told a short story about the group, the show was in gear and they started with a classic Wait A Million Years. In this song Rob sings the verses and Dusty handles the chorus. Joe’s drum sound was excellent and Larry always compliments the group on his keyboards. Mr. Grill was now in full control of the stage. The crowd was at his command. Rob has developed a performance style that includes a great sense of humor and talking about things that everyone can relate to. He was talking about the sixties, the war in Iraq, respect for our soldiers and having a great time in Punta Gorda. He also mentioned that he lives in Florida and is hoping to do more shows in his home state. Their next song was Don’t Pull Your Love Out On Me Baby, a song the group turned down in their heyday. Next up was Heaven Knows a hit from their album Leaving It All Behind. Near the stage there were now many dancers kicking up their heels. They had a great time dancing to the next song Sooner Or Later that was a big hit for the group in the early seventies.

The next song was an early hit for the group. Things I Should Have Said was from way back in 1967. Next up was another song the group turned down back in the seventies. Love Grows was a big hit for another group back then. Rob related in an interview that one of the band members back in their heyday had a girlfriend named Rosemary so they thought it inappropriate to have a song with her name and not the other group member girlfriends as well. For the next song, Rob announced it as The Grass Roots first single. The group eased into Let’s Live For Today with Larry Nelson’s haunting keyboards dramatically underpinning the song in the background. There was a good amount of audience participation in singing along to the song. With little delay they started playing Lovin’ Things from 1969. Rob’s vocals on this song captured the original with perfection.

The next song was announced by Rob as being their last single from 1975. He asked the audience to listen closely to the lyrics to discover the reason for it’s banning at some radio stations. As they played the song Mamacita, Joe Dougherty dominated the song with solid drumming and an extended solo in the middle. Up next was Where Were You When I Needed You followed by the very recognizable radio hit Drift Away. Dusty Hanvey really shined on their next song, Two Divided By Love. He gave a searing performance on his electric guitar. When the song ended, Rob related that there was time for two more songs. The show concluded with Temptation Eyes and the all time Grass Roots favorite, Midnight Confessions. The amazed crowd really came alive, singing throughout the final song with Rob.

The concert was excellent from start to finish. It was so good that many of the audience were on their feet the whole show without the usual signs of fatigue. The Grass Roots are doing a great job of carrying on the tradition of great rock and roll. They are continuing what was created over 40 years ago. Rob Grill is definitely a one of a kind charismatic artist, as always. Right after the show, Rob was at a table signing what he could for his fans. He is a man with many fans. There was a large group surrounding him for autographs and a chance to get a closer glimpse of that lightning in a bottle. Thanks to Rob, Joe, Dusty and Larry for putting on another great show in Florida. You are all professionals and great musicians. One thing is for sure, The Grass Roots keep on rockin’ strong.

Webmaster

The Grass Roots Concert Town Hall Theatre NYC 4-20-07

“Because I love it”, was Rob Grill’s response to an interviewer from NYC’s WCBS-FM radio station when asked why he is still performing after 41 years as lead singer of The Grass Roots. Wishing he knew about performing back then with what he knows today, I was witness to that fact on Friday evening April 20th 2007 at the Town Hall Theatre in NYC. This performance was one of the finest I have ever seen Rob do and that is saying alot as I have seen him live numerous times. He and the rest of current Grass Roots, Dusty Hanvey, Larry Nelson and Joe Dougherty had a hard to please NYC audience on their feet with thunderous applause. Wait A Million Years was the opening song, with a hauntingly beautiful intro by keyboardist Larry Nelson and lead guitarist Dusty Hanvey. That has always been my favorite Grass Roots song of the hits, I have many others that were on the albums, too many to mention here. All the other big hits were performed with expert integrity of the original songs, with a little comic relief thrown in by Rob and group. Of course the show was over much too quickly and many other people in the audience commented to me how impressive The Grass Roots are live. My response was “YES I know!!!”

I would like this opportunity to address the issue of WHY The Grass Roots are not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame along with other bands of this era who made an impact on the music industry? As a long time, 38 year fan of The Grass Roots, they made some of the best music that is still heard today and should be given the respect they deserve.

Joanne

Lake Buena Vista, FL was the setting for a wonderful series of concerts performed by The Grass Roots starring Rob Grill during May ‘07. It was the perfect setting for those wonderful Grass Roots songs bringing back great memories and creating new ones as well. The Flower Power concert series is held annually at Walt Disney World’s Epcot. I have had the good fortune to have attended The Grass Roots shows here 3 out of last 4 years. Those of us who are diehard Grass Roots fans like the fact that one can see your favorite group perform 9 shows in one place. We always have a great time there and this year was no exception.

The shows are divided into 3 half hour shows per day. Of course all the bands biggest hits were played. Lead singer and bass player, Rob Grill was in his element close to his home town with his usual ease with the crowd and on stage. This is a man who truly loves what he does. Such an amazing performer I have been so fortunate to have gotten to know him, although at times I am even in awe of him. Lead guitarist and vocalist, Dusty Hanvey shares backup vocals along with keyboardist Larry Nelson. Keeping the beat for them is Joe Dougherty on drums. These men are so comfortable on stage together, that even equipment problems are treated with comic relief.

The audience was cheering with each song. Each man got the chance to shine, with Dusty having his usual guitar solo on Let’s Live For Today, Larry on Things I Should Have Said and Joe on Mamacita. All these men are terrific musicians and are a perfect compliment to Rob. Go out and see these guys perform when they come to your area, it can’t be missed.

Joanne

The Grass Roots Concert In The Desert 7-21-07

It was 108 degrees in Laughlin, Nevada but an oasis in the desert was found on this evening when Rob Grill and The Grass Roots hit the stage at The Pavilion Theatre at The Ramada Express Casino.

The show was filled with high energy and all those great Grass Roots tunes. Wait A Million Years was the opening song with that excellent intro followed by Don’t Pull Your Love Out On Me and Sooner Or Later. The shows are always mixed with music and laughter and these are two of the many reasons that this band is always entertaining and enjoyable. Rob always pays special mention to the Vietnam Vets and all the soldiers in war with the dedication of Let’s Live For Today. Of course, it was this song that Rob has said “the soldiers listened to and reminded them of home in the USA”. Since we are in a war now how timeless this song is, as with most all of The Grass Roots songs.

Some of the other songs played this evening were Things I Should Have Said, Where Were You When I Needed You, Heaven Knows, Two Divided By Love, Temptation Eyes, and of course Midnight Confessions. As Rob always says ”you didn’t think we would leave without playing Midnight Confessions, did ya!” I do want to comment that these musicians, Rob Grill, Dusty Hanvey, Larry Nelson and Joe Dougherty deserve praise for performing under the extreme heat and dryness this evening. They are all truly professional and a little goofy!

Joanne

The Grass Roots Concert At The Beach 7-23-07

It was a long weekend of contrasts as I was at the desert for a concert in Nevada and now at the beach in Ocean City, New Jersey. This show had a beautiful backdrop of the Jersey shore and boardwalk. The concert was held at the Music Pier concert hall. The “summery” sounds of The Grass Roots songs once again fit perfectly. But those classic tunes are songs for all seasons as far as I’m concerned. Of course, the show was lead by Rob Grill, who has been the band’s lead singer and bass guitarist for 41 years. He is the one constant in the ever revolving membership of The Grass Roots. He often says the original Grass Roots were together only about 7 years but the men who tour with him now, Dusty Hanvey, Larry Nelson and Joe Dougherty have been consistently with him for over 22 years. The show lasted about 90 minutes and all the big hits were played with the usual high energy performance. Everyone in the audience were really enjoying the show as well and it was an excellent turn out for a Monday evening.

Stay tuned for more reviews of upcoming shows in September. I can’t believe we are talking about September already. Where does the time go?

Joanne

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