The Association brings 50th anniversary show to Park City
The three-minute love song made a mark on the pop-music-listening public and set the stage for another No. 1, "Windy," which would come a few singles later.
Park City audiences will get the opportunity to hear those songs live when The Association brings its 50th anniversary show to the Egyptian Theatre from Feb. 11 to Feb. 14.
The band’s original guitarist and singer Jim Yester said he is looking forward to his return to Utah.
"It will be great to be back in Park City," Yester said during a phone call from New Jersey. "One of the earliest times we were in Park City was with Kenny Rogers and the First Edition."
The band also recorded its’ 1970 album "The Association Live" in Salt Lake City.
"We played that show at the University of Utah and it was fantastic," Yester said. "There were 10,000 people there and it was unbelievable."
The guitarist is happy to be able to perform the 50th anniversary concert in Utah.
"This whole year will be a party for us because we didn’t get a chance to party last year, because we were on the Happy Together Tour with the Turtles and we did 46 concerts in 60 days," he said. "We’re a little worn out, but we had a lot of fun. We were on the bus with the Cowsills and having more fun than human beings should ever have."
So, The Association, which features Yester, fellow original member Jules Alexander, bassist Del Ramos, who is the brother of original guitarist Larry Ramos, drummer Bruce Prictor, guitarist Paul Holland and keyboardist Jordan Cole, who is the son of original keyboardist Brian Cole, will make sure they play the hits and more.
"One of the things we have been doing in our show for years is a tribute to the Mamas & the Papas, because we were very close to them," Yester said. "I think the original groups did 60 or 80 concerts and we did three-fourths of those with them.
"Also, their original producer became our engineer," he said. "We recorded in the same studio and worked together a lot."
Yester and his bandmates will also play a segment called "The Big Chill," named after filmmaker Lawrence Kasdan’s 1983 movie of the same name.
"We play our versions of the songs that were in the film," Yester said. "Even though the movie was made in the 1980s, the songs are from the 1960s, and people really love it and we do the songs our own way."
Of course The Association performs songs from its own catalogue.
"There is one song we do, ‘No Fair at All,’ that we didn’t know was a hit in the Philippines in 1967," Yester said with a laugh. "We didn’t find out about it until 1984."
Yester has his own philosophy as to why these songs have stood the test of time.
"Music from that era wasn’t only melodic," he said. "The lyrics were also meaningful and people related to those songs in particular times in their lives.
"You would not believe how many times someone has come up to say ‘Never My Love’ was our song’ or "Cherish’ played at our wedding,’" Yester said. "Even ‘Windy’ had broad appeal form little kids to grandma and grandpa."
Yester said he never gets tired of playing those songs.
"It’s because they’re great songs, and some of them, ‘Cherish’ for example, are difficult to play," he said.
And when the crowd cheers for every note, Yester even gets emotional.
"When you do it right, you can feel the response from the audience," Yester said. "You can feel it so much that there are times when I get choked up that it’s hard for me to sing.
"It’s very visceral and it’s that kind of thing that keeps it going," he said. "And the oldies stations help a lot, too."
Although the band is getting along great and having fun, it still has experienced some loss.
"Our longtime partner Larry Ramos passed away and before he did, (guitarist) Russ Giguere retired," Yester said. "So, I feel so blessed to, at this point of my life, do this. It’s just absolutely wonderful."
Yester was exposed to music at a young age.
"My dad was a professional freelance piano player in L.A. and I would fall asleep under the piano during his rehearsals," he said. "Then my kid brother, Jerry, and I got very heavy into the Kingston Trio and the folk music scene and wound up getting a manager and did the L.A. folk circuit before I wound up in the Army."
Five decades and seven Grammy Awards later, The Association still hits the road to bring is music to the fans.
"While I may not make strides of improving as a musician at this point in my life, I consider myself an entertainer and you never stop learning in that respect," Yester said. "You learn from everybody you perform with. Every audience will also teach you something as well."
In addition to its induction in the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2005, The Association was on the ballot to be inducted in the American Pop Music Hall of Fame.
"We were going on stage in October and our agent/manager told us we were nominated and that we should tell the audience because they can vote for us," Yester said. "That was the first we heard and the next thing I heard was we got voted in. But that’s all I know for now. I did get an email telling us the induction ceremony had been changed and they would notify us of the new venue, but I haven’t heard anything since."
The Egyptian Theatre, 328 Main St., will present The Association from Thursday, Feb. 11, to Sunday, Feb. 14. The Thursday, Friday and Saturday concerts will begin at 8 p.m. Sunday’s performance will begin at 6 p.m. Tickets for Thursday range from $35 to $55. Tickets for Friday through Sunday range from $39 to $65. Tickets can be purchased by visiting http://www.parkcityshows.com .
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