Best of Doo Wop January 28, 2006
Best of Doo Wop at Cerritos: Oldies and Sometimes Goodies
By Glen Creason
“Those oldies but goodies reminds me of you
The songs of the past bring back memories of you
I always remember the first night we met
The songs they were playing I never will forget”
It was most certainly Saturday night in the present but there was a huge crowd of one-time teens of the 50’s awaiting musical memories while vintage muscle cars picturesquely dotted the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts parking lot. The crowd of “kids” and their Detroit steel were heralding the visit of the singers of songs that filled the airways of our youth. The show “Best of Doo Wop” ignored the ticking of the old boomer clock and although many of these oldies are truly old, approaching a half century, the show made many forget the thunder of time.
The songs were wonderful to hear live, even if sometimes the spirit was willing but the flesh weak. However, groups like the Del-Vikings, the Dixie Cups, the Crew-Cuts and especially the Coasters and Drifters really got the entire hall’s pulse to thump to a rock and roll beat. It was a might worrisome that two of the first three acts were challenged by physical problems but when the Del-Vikings burst into “Whispering Bells” and finished with “Come and Go With Me” it meant little that the lead singer wasn’t the twenty-year old that recorded the songs in the Eisenhower era. Talk about the days of KRLA, we got to hear Little Caesar do “Those Oldies but Goodies,” bop to the lead guitarist of the Charms do “Tequila,” and groove to “Little Darlin’” at the conclusion of the Crew Cuts energetic set. The Crews who left their butch-wax behind about forty years ago seem to have kept their edge including the clowning and astounding falsetto of Bob Duncan.
The second half was amped up several degrees beginning with the feminine charm of the Dixie Cups who appeared to have drunk from Ponce de Leon’s Pepsi since none gave the appearance of being born when “Chapel of Love” topped the charts. However, their bubbling “Heat Wave,” “Chapel…,” “Iko Iko,” and “Please Mr. Postman” were delivered perfectly in costumes that added much to the festivities. The remainder of the concert was high spirits and excellent doo wop harmony. The Coasters gave us “Charley Brown,””Poison Ivy,” “Searchin’” and the rollicking “Yakety Yak” that had the entire hall up dancing like they were back at El Monte Legion Stadium on a Saturday night. The grand finale of the Drifters was like a tasty dessert, featuring excellent vocals and crisp choreography. The audience was taken “On Broadway,” then “Up on the Roof,” experienced “This Magic Moment” and took an extended romp of “Stand by Me” that resonated across many decades. Those oldies but goodies still sounded pretty good, maybe not as good as they did booming through the tinny speakers of that 57’ Bel Air rolling slowly through Harvey’s Broiler but pretty sweet nevertheless.