Ringo Starr celebrated his 70th birthday a couple of weeks ago, but he’s still too young to join this band.
Young@Heart is a chorus of two dozen seniors between the ages of 73-89. Under the direction of Bob Cilman, the chorus is backed by a versatile six-piece rock band. And they wail through an unexpected repertoire of classic rock gems (Jefferson Airplane, the Beatles, the Stones) and some even more unexpected cult-rock nuggets (Brave Combo, Morphine, Fugazi).
No point in dancing around it. Or piling on the superlatives. This was my favorite concert of the year so far. Hands down.
Oh sure, it’s understandable if you might initially think of Young@Heart as some kind of novelty act. But they’re not. This music resonates deeply and universally. While many of the songs tackle the theme of aging to one degree or another, the performances celebrate life.
The singers have a varied levels of experience. Some have prior professional theater or music backgrounds. Some are longtime performers on the amateur level. Some had never set foot on a stage until joining Y@H.
And there were stand-out soloists, lots of them. Jack Schnepp’s stately, determined rendition of the Flaming Lips’ “All We Have Is Now” was devastatingly good. Jeanne Hatch added some serious sass to Percy Mayfield’s “Please Send Me Someone to Love,” dishing out some fearless bump ‘n’ grind choreography to underscore her point. And speaking of dancing, let’s give a shout out to Dora B. Morrow, whose fancy footwork helped bring Lou Reed’s “Walk On the Wild Side” to life.
But for all the power of the soloists, it was all together as a chorus that they made a most glorious sound, from the opening of the Rolling Stones’ “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” to the final encore of Bob Dylan’s “Forever Young.”
Kudos go out to the Community Hospice, who presented the concert – Young@Heart’s long overdue Nippertown debut – as a fundraiser for their Camp Erin project, which provides a healing place for grieving kids and teens.
You can also read my other review in The Times Union.
YOUNG@HEART SET LIST
You Can’t Always Get What You Want (Rolling Stones)
Come As You Are (Nirvana)
Schizophrenia (Sonic Youth)
Dancing in the Dark (Bruce Springsteen)
White Rabbit (Jefferson Airplane)
Somebody to Love (Jefferson Airplane)
Purple Haze (Jimi Hendrix)
All We Have Is Now (Flaming Lips)
Heaven (Talking Heads)
Road to Nowhere (Talking Heads)
She’s Not There (The Zombies)
Please Send Me Someone to Love (Percy Mayfield)
Please, Please, Please (James Brown)
Shotgun (Junior Walker & the All-Stars)
Do Something Different (Brave Combo)
Cure for Pain (Morphine)
Waiting Room (Fugazi)
I Wanna Be Sedated (The Ramones)
Wish You Were Here (Pink Floyd)
Angel From Montgomery (John Prine)
I Want You Back (Jackson Five)
Man in the Mirror (Michael Jackson)
Changes (Phil Ochs)
I’m So Tired (The Beatles)
Walk on the Wild Side (Lou Reed)
Yes We Can Can (The Pointer Sisters)
Forever Young (Bob Dylan)