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Herman's Hermits Starring Peter Noone with Gary Puckett and the Union Gap LIVE! at the Strand Theater


By Spotlight Central, Photos by Love Imagery

originally published: 10/19/2022

Herman

The line is long this Friday, October 7, 2022 evening as music lovers wait to enter Lakewood, NJ’s Strand Theater for a Stars of the Sixties concert by Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone along with Gary Puckett and the Union Gap.

Inside the Strand’s historic auditorium, producer Joe Mirrione welcomes the crowd asking, “Do we have any teenagers of the ’60s here tonight?” The audience cheers, and the members of The Union Gap — Jamie Hilboldt on keyboards, Mike Candito on drums, and Woody Lingle on bass — take the stage in military garb resembling the Union Army during the Civil War.

Lingle announces, “Please welcome to the stage, Gary Puckett!” Puckett’s powerful voice and unmistakable vibrato fill the theater as he makes his entrance in a long black Union coat with gold trim and buttons singing his 1968 Top 5 smash, “Lady Willpower.”

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The audience sings along on the song’s famous “Lady Willpower/It’s now or never” lyric before erupting into cheers and applause.

Puckett, 79, asks, “How are you guys? Is it warm in here?” as he takes off his coat and hangs it on a mic stand before following up with his 1968 Top 10 hit, “Over You.” Crooning, “Why am I losing sleep over you/Re-living precious moments we knew,” the audience happily joins Puckett in singing the “Over you” chorus.

Herman



 
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Following two songs from 1969 — “Don’t Give In To Him” and “Give Adam and Eve Another Chance” — Puckett reveals, “I was friends with Glen Campbell. We did this song on the Woman, Woman album, and we’re doing it for him tonight because I miss him.” Here, Puckett and the Union Gap launch into their version of Campbell’s “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” which serves as a heartfelt tribute to the man who played on many of Puckett’s recording sessions.

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After letting the audience know that he’s experiencing some vocal issues this evening, audience members applaud Puckett’s honesty. Continuing, “We had five hits in a row in 1969. This was the sixth — see if you know it,” Puckett gives his all on “This Girl is a Woman Now,” winning the audience over with the strengths of his voice.

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Puckett asks for the house lights to come up so he can see the people in the audience. He asks veterans to stand to be recognized and shakes hands with several vets in front of the stage, thanking all for their service. After telling them, “Freedom is not free. It is because of you veterans that freedom lives. We want to honor you with a song called ‘Home,’” Puckett sings with feeling, “And every night they lie awake and dream of mama’s chocolate cake/And wonder if there’ll be a tomorrow/And will they ever see their home and their family/Or will they ever be back home,” eliciting audience applause for his emotional tribute.

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Next, Puckett and Co. perform the Union Gap’s powerful 1967 hit, “Woman, Woman,” where Puckett invites the audience to sing along with him on the famous “Woman/Woah-oh-oh woman/Have you got cheating on your mind” refrain.

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After announcing, “I like rock and roll!” Puckett straps on an electric guitar and he and the band perform a lively cover version of Dion’s “Runaround Sue.”

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Standing center stage strumming and singing, music lovers in the audience clap and sing along with Gary while others dance at their seats to the rockin’ beat.

Mike Candito’s drums lead Puckett and the band directly into a bouncy rendition of Roy Orbison’s “Oh, Pretty Woman” which has the crowd cheering and applauding.

Herman



 
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Announcing, “Sing with me — are you ready?” audience members happily join in on Puckett’s 1968 Top 5 hit, “Young Girl.” After the crowd happily sings the “Young girl, get out of my mind/My love for you is way out of line” chorus, they’re on their feet giving Puckett a well-deserved standing ovation, to which he responds by saying, “Take care of yourself. The glory goes to God.”

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During intermission, we chat with several audience members who share their opinions of Gary Puckett and the Union Gap’s performance. Jimmy from Whiting declares, “I loved it — ‘Woman, Woman’ was my favorite!” and Linda from Whiting agrees, adding, “I hope they do more shows like this! We’ve been coming to the Pop Rock and Doo Wopp and oldies concerts at the Strand for years. It’s so beautiful here, and the music is nothing like today’s music,” before confessing, “I was crying when Gary Puckett did the Glen Campbell song. I loved him so much.”

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Linda from Monroe jokes, “I’m an old teenager, so this music make me feel happy! It brings back wonderful memories and a time in my youth when I used to sing and dance,” before acknowledging, “It makes me feel so good, I can forget all my aches and pains!” Al from Monroe concurs, noting, “We love listening to ’60s music and I love singing along to it, too!”

Whereas Carmen from Toms River reveals, “We got last minute tickets to tonight’s show and I’m glad we did — this music makes me so happy! It takes me back to my youth when I was 11 years old in Brooklyn,” John from Toms River contends, “I really enjoyed hearing Gary Puckett, and I especially liked when he sang, ‘Young Girl,’ prior to adding, “Seeing him in this theater is the greatest — there’s not a bad seat in the house!”

As Act II commences, Peter Noone fans in the audience wave glow sticks and British flags while Peter Noone, 74, and the other members of Herman’s Hermits — Vance Brescia and Billy Sullivan on guitars, Rich Spina on keyboards/bass, and Dave Ferrara on drums — take the stage to huge applause. With a backdrop featuring an enormous British flag, the group launches into their first number — Herman’s Hermits’ 1964 hit, “I’m Into Something Good.”

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As the crowd joyfully sings along, Noone and the band segue into “Wonderful World” — their 1965 remake of Sam Cooke’s 1960 hit — after which Peter moves on to an upbeat cover version of the Clovers’ 1959 Leiber/Stoller classic, “Love Potion № 9.”

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The crowd cheers, and Noone exclaims, “What a splendid audience! It’s a dream come true to come to Lakewood, NJ! It’s been four years since we played here,” before walking down into the audience and performing a humorous impression of Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire.”

After a jaunty version of Herman’s Hermits’ 1966 hit, “Dandy,” Noone and Co. follow up with a live version of 1966’s “A Must to Avoid” and a rollicking rendition of Frankie Ford’s “Sea Cruise.”

“Exclaiming, “Let’s do a Monkees song!” Peter Noone fan club members in the house wave red and blue colored glowsticks back and forth to the beat of The Monkees’ “Daydream Believer.”

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On an energetic rendition of The Beatles’ “All My Loving,” Noone makes his way into the crowd and gets music lovers singing along with him. After introducing the members of his band, he asks for musical requests. An audience member calls out, “I’ll Never Dance Again,” and the band deftly accompanies Noone as he performs this heartfelt ballad with emotion.



 
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Standing in between his mates, Peter and the boys perform The Hermits’ rockin’ 1965 hit, “A Little Bit Better,” where Vance Brescia high kicks as he plays guitar.

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Hands wave on Peter’s cue to Herman’s Hermits’ 1965 remake of The Rays’ “Silhouettes,” and the musicians follow up with their 1966 smash, “Listen People,” its “Everybody’s got to love somebody sometime” message clearly resonating with ’60s music fans in the house.

Noone and Co. quickly segue into a crisp interpretation of the band’s 1967 hit, “No Milk Today,” and the spotlight focuses on Peter as he performs a heartfelt and poignant rendition of his 1965 ballad, “End of the World.”

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Announcing, “This was a #1 hit for The Hollies,” the crowd cheers for the Hermits’ version of “Bus Stop” before Noone humorously changes the lyrics of Gerry and the Pacemaker’s “Ferry Cross the Mersey” to “Ferry Cross New Jersey.”

Following his cover of Manfred Mann’s “Do Wah Diddy Diddy,” Noone holds up an LP album photo of a young Peter taken on TV’s The Ed Sullivan Show prior to coming down into the audience to perform “Leaning On a Lamp Post.”

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Guitarist Billy Sullivan dances wildly while Noone sings Freddie and the Dreamers’ “I’m Telling You Now.” Then, Noone takes off his jacket and throws it on the floor to do his hilarious imitation of Mick Jagger singing “Jumping Jack Flash.”

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Peter and the group perform a spirited version of their 1965 #2 Billboard hit, “Can’t You Hear My Heartbeat.” Fans clap overhead in time with the music as Billy Sullivan and Noone have fun dancing around the stage during the instrumental break.

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The crowd sings along on the group’s 1965 #1 smash, “Mrs. Brown You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter,” and music lovers also join in performing another 1965 Herman’s Hermits’ hit, “I’m Henry the VIII, I Am,” about which Noone exclaims, “That’s the best it’s ever been sung!”

After showing the audience his socks with flags on them — one British and one American — the crowd stands and sways as Noone and the Hermits perform their final number, a nostalgic rendition of the band’s classic 1967 recording, “There’s a Kind of Hush.”

Announcing, “Good night and God bless!” Noone gives “two thumbs up” and then shakes hands with audience members before exiting the stage to meet with fans out in the lobby.

As music lovers make their way out of the theater, we chat with several concertgoers who share their opinions of Peter Noone and Herman’s Hermits’ performance tonight. Whereas Kathy from Lakewood calls their set, “Wonderful — very entertaining!” and adding, “Peter Noone is still adorable,” Denise from Lakewood asserts, “It was a great show, and so much fun!” prior to acknowledging, “Peter is so endearing. He was one of my first crushes.”

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Penny from Freehold exclaims, “I had a great time! I liked all of Peter’s songs. He made everyone happy,” before noting, “This was my first time seeing him and I’ll be back.” Carol from Freehold reveals, “He brought me back to being a 15 year old again. He didn’t disappoint. He sang all the hits I remember and more.”

Maureen from Freehold declares, “It was a lot of fun, and a lot of energy, which made for an enjoyable evening!”

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John from Freehold agrees, adding, “Peter Noone did so many different things,” noting, “I especially liked when he did his impression of Mick Jagger.”

Lastly, we chat with Joe from Hamilton who exclaims, “I thought Peter Noone was just incredible tonight! There’s such high energy on stage — Peter is 74 years old, but he acts like he’s 34 — and I love how he did so many of his own hits plus songs by other artists including The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and Gerry and the Pacemakers.” Continuing, “There was so much good stuff going on,” Joe concludes by revealing, “I’d have to say that I’ve seen at least 15 Pop, Rock and Doo Wopp and Stars of the Sixties shows in the last five years, and this one was the best by far! For me, it was just on another level!”

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To learn more about Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone, please go to peternoone.com. For more information on Gary Puckett and the Union Gap, click on garypuckettmusic.com. For info on upcoming Pop, Rock and Doo Wopp and Stars of the Sixties concerts, please click on poprockdoowopp.com. To learn more about upcoming shows at Lakewood’s Strand Theater — including Best of the Eagles on Nov. 12, Beatles vs. Stones: A Musical Showdown on December 4, and Bee Gees Gold: Direct from Las Vegas on April 15, 2023 — please click on strand.org.

Photos by Love Imagery

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Love Imagery Fine Art Photography. all you need. peace/love/flower/power



 
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