When baby boomers talk of joint replacements these days, it's likely they don't mean they want more wacky tobacky. And today's "acid" talk is usually followed by the word "reflux." But as boomers age, the beloved music of their youth rocks on — in movies, television shows and jingles. And now at Ruth Eckerd Hall.
Tonight, the venue hosts its third annual Happy Together Tour featuring five legendary bands: the Turtles with Flo and Eddie, the Monkees (well, one of 'em, Micky Dolenz), the Buckinghams, the Grass Roots, and Gary Puckett and the Union Gap.
The national tour features 42 stops, but Puckett won't have far to travel for this show. He has lived in the Clearwater area for the past 12 years.
Puckett, 69, said he moved here because of his wife, Lorrie, whom he met in 1988 and married in 2000.
"I was living in San Diego, came here and noticed how cheap the gas was — as well as the cost of housing," he said. "I didn't like California taxes or politics, so now we live here with the alligators and herons."
Puckett and his band, the Union Gap, recorded their first single in 1967. One year later, they sold more records than any other recording act including the Beatles. They are best known for their hits Woman, Woman; Lady Willpower; Young Girl; This Girl Is a Woman Now and Over You.
Their costume gimmick at the time was to wear Union Army-style Civil War uniforms. The band doesn't wear them anymore, but Puckett says he still owns two.
"They still fit. I may just wear one for the Clearwater show, but I'm not promising anything," he said.
The concert will be a three-hour, drug-free trip down memory lane.
"This is a celebration of the peaceful, innocent and fun '60s – not the acid rock '60s," said Bobby Rossi, chief programming officer for Ruth Eckerd Hall. "People dress up in tie-dye and bell-bottoms. They sing along with the songs. Some get up and dance."
The family-friendly event is typically multigenerational, attracting not only baby boomers, but also echo boomers and their children who are familiar with the genre, he said.
"It'll be all their hits. No fluff," he said.
Fans of the era can also shop at the Happy Together Marketplace, where they can pick up memorabilia including vinyl records, peace signs, hippie clothing and jewelry and other nostalgic items. Food will be for sale.
"It'll bring back a lot of great memories of the not-so-distant past," Rossi said. "It's a glorious escape."