Concerts in the Garden grooves to the music of Woodstock

Posted 8:28am on Tuesday, Jun. 25, 2013

Beneath a rising “super moon” Saturday night, the audience at Concerts in the Garden moved and grooved back in time to the peace, love and rock ’n’ roll of the 1960s.

The Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, joined by the Canadian band Jeans ‘n Classics — vocalists David Blamires, Katalin Kiss, Rique Franks and Jean Meilleur and their backup instrumentalists — presented “A Night at Woodstock,” a trippy take on songs by rockers like Janis Joplin, the Who, and Sly and the Family Stone. The FWSO’s Andres Franco conducted.

And while the show was considerably more mellow than the actual, monumental 1969 music fest — about the “hardest” substance being enjoyed was white wine — people clearly were enjoying themselves, clapping and singing along, dancing in the street, batting around glow-in-the-dark balloons and even wiggling in colorful light-up hula hoops.

The classic rock hits they ran through included Somebody to Love, Delta Lady, Hot Fun in the Summertime, The Weight and Pinball Wizard, to name a handful.

Short narration from the stage between numbers helped to inform (or remind) which artists were actually at Woodstock, who played what when, and who didn’t show up (remember the one about John Lennon turning down the Beatles’ invitation because Yoko Ono wasn’t invited to play?)

The singers were fantastic. Kiss’ Piece of my Heart — a highlight of the night — was appropriately brazen and Joplin-esque. (It had been joked that Kiss was backstage gargling razor blades before the number.)

Dave Dunlop’s guitar work on Carlos Santana’s Black Magic Woman was groovy.

We do wish they would have turned down the amps a little on the band’s guitars, drums and keyboard; many times we couldn’t tell if the orchestra was actually playing. As sometimes happens with these tribute concerts, all those talented musicians seemed underused.

Some of the numbers didn’t seem scored very well for them — or maybe, again, the band was just too loud. That was the case through the first third or so of the Jimi Hendrix hit Hey Joe; as it went along, it built to fuller sound coming from everyone playing on stage.

The one number that nicely highlighted orchestra musicians was Summertime, featuring pretty clarinet work by Victoria Luperi (principal) and Gary Whitman throughout. Franks stepped front and center with 100 degree-sultry vocals.

The show closed, as usual, with a fireworks display — this night, sharing the bright sky with that great big moon.

Concerts in the Garden continues Sunday with the “ 1812 Overture & Russian Sparklers,” performed by the FWSO under the direction of Franco. Gates open at 6:30; concert begins at 8:15 p.m. Tickets, $13-$50, through or 817-665-6000.

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