Home Uncategorized The Rascals Reunite Triumphantly after 40 Years of Feuding

The Rascals are back, at last. You’re too young to remember them, exactly, but you know their songs: “I’ve Been Lonely Too Long,” “Good Lovin’,” “It’s a Beautiful Morning,” “How Can I Be Sure,” “People Got to Be Free,” and “I Ain’t Gonna Eat Out My Heart Anymore” were all top 10 or better. The quartet was the blue eyed soul group on the famous Atlantic R&B roster, labelmates with Sam & Dave, Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, and Percy Sledge. Felix Cavaliere and Eddie Brigati were the Lennon and McCartney of Atlantic until they were not; their fall out was epic. But in their day, the Rascals were glorious. Their greatest hits album, “TimePeace,” was in every college dorm room for years and years.

Now you must run, not walk, to the Capitol Theater in nearby Port Chester, New York (just 35 mins by train), where the Rascals have at last been reunited by Little Steven van Zandt and his wife Maureen producing “Once Upon a Dream.” The original four are alive and more than kicking in this two hour retrospective that includes video, interviews, and of course magnificent live performances of all the hits by Felix, Eddie, Dino Danelli and Gene Cornish with a sensational back up band and singers. It’s all been cleverly staged and assembled by van Zandt and Marc Brickman. There’s a clever narration by Vinny Pastore aka Big Pussy from “The Sopranos.”

For last night’s opening show, the crowd included another rocker of the era, Tommy James, and actor Robert Wuhl, LA Dodgers announcer Charlie Steiner, music publisher John Titta, famed promoter Ron Delsener, legacy singer Vaneese Thomas, musician Steve Gadd, the one and only Tommy Mottola, and actor Chazz Palminteri.

Considering that they haven’t played together for 40 years (with a couple of recent one off exceptions), the Rascals–once the Young Rascals,and joked Robert Wuhl, soon to be the Little Rascals–were pretty “wascally.” It’s hard to imagine a tighter, funkier sound out of  band half their age. The songs, originally produced and arranged by Atlantic’s geniuses Arif Mardin and Tom Dowd, remain little works of art. Cavaliere and Briganti’s vocals don’t have to be smooth; they’re as full of mellifluous grit as they were in 1968. They’re also full of so much personality, you could say they are and were the white Temptations.

This is the time to catch this show, while it’s in its cult moment. “Once Upon A Dream” plays shows this weekend and next. Then it moves into a long pre-Broadway circuit for fine tuning. There won’t be a lot to do, just some trimming and tightening. “Once Upon a Dream” tells the Rascals’ story. But it also depends entirely on the music for its ultimate success. Maybe because the group was away so long, everything sounds fresh and new. You just wonder why there’s nothing like this now on the charts. We’ve been lonely too long.


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19 replies to this post
  1. Long Live The Rascals! I am so happy and grateful they got back together. All road led back to this big concert event. Wow! What a performance. They never lost their musical talent! We love The Rascals! Love, Sue DelBianco, Stratford, Connecticut

  2. The show wasa trully amazing . The Rascals played practicaly every song they ever recorded. They started with “It’s Wonderful” and then went on to play 30 songs. The video telling the story of the band was excellent. I can’t wait to see them perform again.

  3. Saw the rascals about 6 times back in the day, mainly because the vagrants always opend up for them. Loved the rascals,got thier first album when i was 15 circa 65(?) the first time I heard “I aint gonna eat out my heart anymore” I knew these guys had it. so many great soulful tunes, “groovin “, i”ts a beautiful morning”, “People got to be free” great version of “Mustang sally “and “midnight hour”,”like a rolling stone”, “I believe” even Love “baby lets wait” Glad to hear the great reviews hope I can catch them. saw felix a few years ago on in a concert on LI with leslie west and mountain as the other headliner. it was like the old days.

  4. The Rascals were AMAZING the week at The Capitol. Everyhting I could have hoped for and more! Just hope they take this on the road cause everyone need to see them!!

  5. Was at the show on the 15th and it was a jewel. As a drummer from the 60s who’s still playing Rascals stuff today, I was jazzed to see Dino playing his butt off. He twirled, flipped and bounced sticks like the showman he has always been and drove the band like a kid. I flew from Maui through my home town of Atlanta for this amazing show and even the jet lag couldn’t take the edge off this killer event. Thanks guys, thanks Steven, we had a blast.

  6. My wife and I saw the show on Friday night. It was absolutely incredible. It seems almost inconceivable that they’ve been “away” for 40 years.
    If you can get a ticket for next weekend, don’t waste a second – go get it!!!

    Truly a memorable night.

  7. Please come to the West Coast or anywhere reasonably close. The Rascals have always been my favorite band and it was a great priviledge to meet Felix a few years back…the most underrated pop/rock/blues singer of all time.

  8. Years back when all these 80’s bands were reuniting to cash-in on “live” appearances it always irked me that the band (the Rascals) who wrote about peace,love, & harmony couldn’t seem to let their past differences die. Then when tribute bands became the cliche thing, I would say why the hell hasn’t somebody put a Rascals tribute band together? Thank god part of my prayers were answered Thursday evening. After waiting for some 3 1/2 decades it happened. Christmas came early…& it was grand…beyond what I could have ever imagined. My sincere thanks to Felix, Eddie, Gene & Dino. But a special thanks must be given to Steven & Maureen Van Zandt for behind the scenes, they knew what the Rascals meant to so many of us here in NY & NJ. We stood in line w/ a lady who flew in fr Savannah, Ga…in back of her was a couple fr SC….& another couple fr Fla. It was enough to bring tears & we hadn’t even gotten in the theater yet. To say the show was memorable would be a gross understatement but I’m bias. Out of all the bands that I’ve seen reunite, this was by far the best I’ve heard to date. If this goes to Broadway, as it should (the production was superb), I’ll surely be there. Again, fr the bottom of my heart, thanks to all who made this a dream come true.

  9. Made a couple of good records. Saw them live in the late sixties in Northern California. They arrived very late and put on a crappy show. Hope they’re better live now, and on time.

  10. The Rascals where doomed for stardom from day one back in Feb.1965 where there first appearance at the Choo Choo Club in Garfield,N.J.lasted for five consecutive months and of to the Barge in Long Island,the rest was all fame.

  11. I was so happy to hear that the Rascals reunited. I am just sorry that I didn’t get to see the again. I grew up hearing them and was always a huge fan. Didn’t hurt that I’m a Garfield girl! Where the hell where they for the 12-12-12 concert with Bruce and Jon and the rest of the NJ crew. Should’ve been there boys!!!

  12. Absolutely wonderful show! Everyone sounds great!. They weaved the storyline of the band in with the concert, which made it even more meaningful. I was grinning from ear to ear throughout the entire show. You’ve got to see this show.

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