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Sunday, December 16 , 2018, 10:39 pm | Fair 53º


Three Dog Night Keeps Tails Wagging to the Beat

Chumash Casino concert hits all the highlights of a storied band's legacy

Three Dog Night opened Thursday night at the Chumash Casino Resort with “Family of Man.” This isn’t one of my favorites, and it fell a bit flat.

I thought this might be another ho-hum concert from a band that should have stopped performing two decades ago, but after this first warm-up song, Three Dog Night quickly got into the flow and the rest of the concert was brilliant! Four of the original band members are still with the group and have been performing together for 40 years: Cory Wells and Danny Hutton on lead vocals, original keyboardist Jimmy Greenspoon and guitarist Michael Allsup. Paul Kingery (bass and vocals) and Pat Bautz (drums) complete the lineup.

I was too young to appreciate the musicianship when I listened to this Grammy-nominated group nonstop in my teens. Back then I liked the beat, the words, the liberal message; it never occurred to me to judge the quality. What struck me most during Thursday’s show is what top-notch musicians these men are. I was delighted to discover that Three Dog Night has had 21 consecutive Top 40 hits and is one of the best-selling bands of all time; its members are masters at their craft and excellent performers.

A version of “You Can Keep Your Hat On” knocked the socks off of Joe Cocker’s version (apparently TDN recorded it first), and had the audience standing and dancing in the aisles. Wells turned up the heat, and this was my personal favorite of the night. Another surprise: in the middle of “Momma Told Me Not to Come,” the band stopped, told a story, Wells put on a ball cap sideways, and they turned the song into a rap. Delightful. Other songs included:

“Shambala,” “Black and White,” “Liar” (Hutton pulled off the screams, though I suspect he had help from the sound board), “Never Been to Spain,” “Old-Fashioned Love Song,” “One” and ‘Sure As I’m Sittin’ Here.”

Ironically, one of the songs I have had stuck in my head since I was a teenager is “The Show Must Go On.” (“Baby, although I chose this lonely life, it seems it’s stranglin’ me now ... all the wild men, big cigars, gigantic car, they’re all laughin’ at the lie ...”) I was even singing this softly on the bus on the way home while my date slept. Until I did the research for this review, however, I forgot it was a Three Dog Night song! Alas, they didn’t play it Thursday (good thing, or it may have been stuck in my head for another 25 years).

The seats were good (every seat in the Chumash Casino Resort’s Samala Showroom is good), and we were toward the front of the back section (much better than the back of the front section). The acoustics are decent, but not great at the casino (we’re spoiled with the Lobero Theatre). My only real complaint, though, is that the concert was too short. (It only lasted a little over an hour.) Sometimes I just want the show to go on and on and on ...

Three Dog Night ended the night with “Joy to the World,” as we all knew it would.

Joy to the world
All the boys and girls now
Joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea
Joy to you and me

Noozhawk contributor and music-lover Kalia Rork is a top-producing Realtor with Prudential California Realty. Click here to contact her.

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