1960s musical nostalgia at Queens College


| ckasden@queenscourier.com |

Hundreds of baby boomers enjoyed a nostalgic Sunday afternoon at Kupferberg Center (Colden Auditorium) at Queens College. Two mega acts from the 1960s sang their most popular tunes and musically honored some other stars as well.

The Happenings sold millions of records around the world in the late 1960s. Their two biggest hits were upbeat versions of previous successes–“See You in September” and “I’ve Got Rhythm.” Their lead singer, Bob Miranda, offered these and almost a dozen more favorites with the group’s drummer, guitarist and singer. Especially well received were tributes to The Four Seasons, The Righteous Brothers and Neil Diamond. Miranda earned a standing ovation for a solo combining songs from West Side Story and The Wizard of Oz.

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Act II belonged to Jay Black. He offered some of his lead vocals from the 1960s including “Only in America,” “Cara Mia,” and “Come A Little Bit Closer,” which helped establish him as a solid vocal presence for decades. Black sang these hits along with “This Magic Moment” and more than a half dozen more tunes. He opened with a tribute to Roy Orbison, while his encore, “Some Enchanted Evening,” concluded the show.

Black encouraged the audience to sing along. At one point he handed the microphone to a fan in the front row who sang with unbridled enthusiasm. The audience also sang the chorus to “Come a Little Bit Closer.”

Black’s self deprecating humor throughout his performance was well received. He joked that anyone under sixty would have a hard time figuring out who he was. Black offered his admiration to song writers who must find the right words for emotions, especially for painful break-ups. He also proudly introduced his son, who was playing on guitar. His grammar school granddaughter was also in the audience. In all, he was backed by a ten piece band and hundreds of admirers in the audience. Bravo!

Sunday’s outstanding performance is just one of the programs presented by JES Entertainment, bringing rock, pop, and doo-wop to accessible venues. A tribute to Neil Diamond is coming in April. There’s an oldies concert in May and The Duprees in June. The summer’s schedule includes more 1960s million selling singers. Just call (718) 423-8394 for all the details. As always, save me a seat on the aisle!