PORT CHESTER, N.Y. – The members of The Rascals have reunited for six nights of shows at The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, the band’s first in 40 years.
Thursday night, original members Felix Cavaliere, Eddie Brigati, Dino Danelli and Gene Cornish met onstage for “Once Upon a Dream,” a unique combination concert - documentary event chronicling the band’s history through narration, dramatic re-enactments, and ‘60s archival footage. The show is produced and directed by E Street Band guitarist Steven Van Zandt.
The Rascals, who led the way for blue-eyed soul and folk-rock/protest music with their blend of pop melodies and soulful R&B sounds, formed in the early 1960s, initially as the Young Rascals, in Garfield, N.J.
The band was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1997, thanks to a plea from Van Zandt.
During Thursday night's show, a giant screen behind the band showed segments of narration of band members’ nostalgia.
During an early segment, singer and keyboardist Cavaliere recalled his roots: “The whole things started in my parent’s basement in Pelham, N.Y…” he said, leading into one of many stories of how the band formed.
Some stories were comical – turning down legendary producer Phil Spector and opening for The Beatles (They didn’t think much of English rockers playing American music). Others were touching, like the story of how Brigati lost his memory following a near-fatal car accident and began to regain it as he performed with the band again. “It was a miracle,” Brigati recalled. “But isn’t every great band a miracle?”
These scenes were intertwined with performances of the group’s countless pop hits including “Groovin,’” “Good Lovin,” and “A Beautiful Morning,” as well as “People Got To Be Free,” which was released as a protest song amidst social and political upheaval.
During one of the final songs, “A Ray Of Hope,” guitarist Gene Cornish’s strong emotions were palpable as he played, wiping a tear from his eye.
While the band played, a LED psychedelic light show sprawled from the screen to the dome of The Capitol Theatre, essentially enveloping the audience into the colorful innards of a lava lamp. Lighting and projection wizard Marc Brickman, who has worked with Pink Floyd, Paul McCartney, Blue Man Group and the Olympics created the light show extravaganza.
There are still two nights left to see The Rascals on Friday and Saturday. Tickets for each 18-and-over show can be purchased online. Ticket prices are $65, $95 and $135. A VIP Ticket package, at $499, includes one seat in the first 15 rows; an exclusive meet-and-greet photo opportunity with the band; pre-show sound check party and “tech talk” featuring Marc Brickman; one limited-edition poster autographed by the Rascals; and a post-show party at the Cap bar with finger foods and cash bar.
The Capitol Theatre is at 149 Westchester Ave. For more information on the venue, visit The Capitol Theatre online.