Sometimes you need a good ‘60s pop rock fix as a reminder of the glory days of don’t-bore-us-get-to-the-chorus AM radio. So there was no way I could pass up seeing The Grass Roots at the Golden Nugget Showroom—an intimate + excellent-sounding room, with a rich Sinatra history—this past Friday night.
The Grass Roots played a satisfying hits-stacked show with joyful melodies + high-flying harmonies that especially hit a sweet spot on immortal songs like their first top ten hit “Let’s Live For Today,” Heaven Knows, “Temptation Eyes” + their first hit, the Dylanesque “Where Were You When I Needed You,” which was jokingly introduced onstage as “an anti-love song” (it was penned by Steve Barri with the band’s first lead singer, P.F. Sloan).
The Grass Roots were totally locked in as a musical unit on this night. While there are no original members in this lineup, it was personally chosen by Rob Grill, the band’s most identifiable lead singer + longest-serving member who joined in the mid-60s + played in the band until 2009. Two members—lead guitarist/backing vocalist Dusty Hanvey + keyboardist/backing vocalist Larry Nelson—joined in 1984. Drummer Joe Dougherty was recruited in 1984, and bassist/lead vocalist Mark Dawson, as valuable as Timothy B. Schmit is to the Eagles, entered the fold in 2008. Dawson’s high tenor voice didn’t disappoint, and his bass lines were strong, reminding you how impressively rhythmic the band’s classics are.
There will always be some controversy about bands who tour with no original members. Say what you will, but The Grass Roots convincingly honored the band’s legacy in front of a packed room, not only on the classics but on lesser-known hits like “Lovin’ Things” and “Baby Hold On.” It was a good music history lesson teeming with uplifting pop rock songs that ruled the airwaves when the world was seemingly less heavy.
Fortunately, there’s another opportunity to see The Grass Roots in Vegas this fall. The band announced from the stage they will return November 4 to the Golden Nugget.