Livestream Pomona, NY
Players: Stu Iselin, keyboard, vocals; Ira Bernstein, bass guitar, vocals; Peter Karanikis, rhythm guitar, vocals; Barney Griffin, lead guitar, vocals; Bruce Pollack, drums; Ken Conti, sax, vocals
Material: While most musicians incorporate some of their musical influences into their own careers, some embrace them more literally. Such is the case with Forever Young, a group of musicians out of Rockland County, New York. The majority of the group’s members grew up in the ‘50s and ‘60s listening to the music that they’ve been performing for the last 21 years. Featuring period gems like “In The Still Of The Night,” “Runaround Sue” and “At The Hop,” as younger members have joined the ensemble, the repertoire has been expanded to reflect other classics like “Lay Down Sally,” “Pretty Woman” and “Long Train Runnin’,” altering the band’s slogan to read, “Oldies, Do-Wop And More.”
Musicians: Audio challenges (which the band has acknowledged) made it difficult to get up close and personal with individual instruments, but an overall lively vibe permeated the set. Vocals were split among band members, and while it offered variety Forever Young would deliver a more focused presentation if one or two of the band’s strongest singers were designated the lead singers. Additionally, vocal harmonies could be smoother, especially since many of these golden oldies call for them.
Performance: It is hard to keep doing what you do unless you really love it, and in the case of this outfit, enthusiasm, and affection for the genre, are loud and clear. There’s also something familiar and comforting when listeners can hear the lyrics and sing along. The band did a good job of introducing each song, and might expand upon that even further, as fans like to know more of the “inside” story about classics that have meaning to them.
Summary: There are numerous paths to longevity if you target the right audience and venues. To their credit, Forever Young has managed to keep the act going for more than two decades, performing library concerts, festivals and private events. It’s never a bad idea, however, to tune up the ol’ hotrod, so we urge the band to pay closer attention to nailing harmonies, which is essential to their repertoire.