I must’ve walked into a time warp Saturday night at the Cowsills concert. The Auditorium theater was filled with newly adolescent girls in pink ribbons and lacy dresses all frantically screaming, waving, and taking pictures. Back, back to the days when the pre-teens controlled rock, the days of the early Beatles and the Dave Clark Five.
The group is actually a family consisting of Mom, Sue [who is 10], and the boys – Bob, 19; Pau;, 17; Barry, 14; John, 13. The two youngest seem to have the strongest appeal. “Barry” “John” they yelled, with signs proclaiming their adoration: “Barry is the greatest!!”
But what kind of appeal is this? Not sexual. There is not a hit of sex in their performance or their songs – how could there be, with Mom up there, too? And these girls, they screamed even during Mom’s and Sue’s solo numbers. Mothers, also, were waving their scarves with tears in their eyes, maybe thinking, “Why aren’t my kids as adorable and cherubic as this?”
I asked the girls in front of me their age and what school they went to. It was a Catholic girls’ school and they were 13. “John, don’t you just love John?” one said. She was planning on throwing her ring to him. Her friend ask her why was a dollar, but she only said “#1.05” and went right ahead and threw it.
Maybe this is the closest they’ve ever been to boys their own age. Maybe the whole audience, aside from the mothers, was full of boy starved girls from parochial schools. Because it certainly can’t be the music that turns them so wildly on. It’s nice, empty-headed stuff, like their version of “Hair,” “We Can Fly,” “The Rain, the Park and Other Things.” The little girl Sue had a pretty good, strong voice, maybe the best of the bunch. She sang “When I’m 64,” and it was very cute. I wouldn’t want to hear it again, particularly, but it was nice for once.
In fact the whole thing was outasite, in its way. What I really think should happen is all the people that go regularly to the Kinetic playground should take some of their pan-handling money and go see the Cowsills to see how the other half lives. Just once. Let it not be forgotten that this is the way it all began.