October 10, 2003

'Sixtiesmania' a sample platter of decade's best
By Jerry Fink

What: "Sixtiesmania".
When: 9:30 p.m.
Wednesdays through Sundays. Dark Mondays and Tuesdays.
Where: Greek Isles' Star Theatre.
Tickets: $24.15, $40.65, $51.65.
Rating (out of 5 stars): *** 1/2

"Sixtiesmania" rocks.

But it doesn't roll -- it shoots like a rocket through a decade of music that is one of the most memorable on record.

The Beach Boys. The Beatles. The Rolling Stones. The Doors. The Byrds.

The '60s were an era that began in relative innocence -- when Dick Clark's "American Bandstand" was in its heyday -- and ended in a nation divided by the Vietnam War.

The "Sixtiesmania" band at the Greek Isles' Star Theatre skims the surface of the period like a flat stone flung across a lake, paying fleeting tribute to dozens of artists at a breakneck pace.

The group was created in 1990 in Australia by Andrew Hill, whose career began as a performer in Beatles tribute bands. The five male vocalists/musicians and four female dancers arrived at Castaways in December for a brief engagement at the Windjammer Lounge. The show was free.

Fans of all ages loved them. Their music effectively struck a nostalgic chord in the hearts of most who were of age at that historic time.

They routinely packed the 250-seat room, and the band's short-term contracts kept being renewed.

At Castaways, "Sixtiesmania" performed two shows nightly, each lasting 90 minutes. The second show was a continuation of the first, effectively creating a three-hour production that included a dozen costume changes.

At Greek Isles (which charges admission), the band of hyper-musicians doesn't have the luxury of spending a lot of time on any one song, or any one entertainer.

They have but one 90-minute production, which they make the most of with a series of fast-paced medleys that touch upon some of the greatest hits by some of the most memorable groups and individuals of that era.

Many of the '60s' greatest musicians have been left out of the show ("Sixtiesmania" doesn't perform any Motown numbers), but there is only so much that can be performed in the time allotted.

The band includes bassist/vocalist Hill, vocalist/guitarist Darren Farr, drummer Steve Geller, vocalist/lead guitarist Glenn McCallum and vocalist Spencer James, who also plays guitar, bass and keyboard.

The evening begins with a black-and-white film from the '60s to put fans in a nostalgic mood.

"Sixtiesmania" leads off the evening with a tribute to Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, one of the best-selling harmonizing groups of all time. Among the hits the tribute band perform are "Walk Like a Man," "Sherry" and "Big Girls Don't Cry."

They segue into a medley of songs often heard on Dick Clark's dance program, including "Runaway" (Del Shannon), "Hello Mary Lou" (Rick Nelson) and "Calendar Girl" (Neil Sedaka).

Next, there's a tribute medley to the Beatles ("All My Lovin'," "She Loves You") and one to the Rolling Stones ("(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction").

"Sixtiesmania" then delves into lesser-known, but no less greater, tunes from The Troggs ("Wild Thing") and Tom Jones ("She's a Lady").

Sixties fans can get snippets of the Byrds ("Mr. Tambourine Man"), Roy Orbison ("Oh, Pretty Woman"), the Beach Boys ("Surfin' Safari") and the Monkees ("(Theme From) The Monkees").

At Castaways, it wasn't unusual for fans to dance to the music.

At the Greek Isles showroom, there is no dancing. Even if the showroom had a dance floor, "Sixtiesmania" wouldn't give you any time.

"Sixtiesmania" is a nonstop machine, firing off hit after hit, with rarely a misfire.com

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