A perfect, twin-bill show was offered by two similar, yet totally dissimilar groups in the Cowsills and Checkmates Ltd last night at Saratoga Performing Arts Center. More than 4,000 saw one of the best, most perfectly balanced specials yet to be offered in the four years of SPAC.
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Following intermission, two thirds of the Cowsills appeared, the group minus Mother Cowsill and sister Sue. The remaining four sons, handsome young men in black double-breasted tuxedos, were an excellent group and explained that their mother and sister were presently convalescing from pneumonia, which had been plaguing the group individually for several weeks.
“We could have canceled the concert but felt we wanted to perform for you anyway,” one of the Cowsills explained and the audience never complained of being shortchanged. This is a superior group, with clear, clean voices, a rousing style, fresh youthful enthusiasm and a fantastic beat for tunes ranging from “Indian Like,” “Monday, Monday,” “The Prophecy” to Beatles’ tunes like “Yesterday,” “Hey Jude” and real rock versions of “Hair,” “Birthday” and “Proud Mary.”
For the “older crown,” and they thoughtfully dedicated this number to the parents in the audience, “Diane” was a delightful diversion. Young John Cowsill at the drums and all of 13 years old was outstanding with his version of “Red Roses.”
The Cowsills wisely made no effort to offer an encore. In fact, the largely teen-age audience was already making a mad dash for the stage door as they completed their last selection. The mob scene at the stage entrance practically equaled the 4,000-plus in the audienc3e, it seemed, as the Cowsills tried to make a quick exit into waiting cars.
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