The combined concert of Blood, Sweat & Tears with Three Dog Night is a complete contrast at the Big Fresno Fair.
Three Dog Night powers through a majority of the band’s 21 Top 40 hits driven by veteran band members Danny Hutton and Michael Allsup. The cobbled together members of Blood Sweat & Tears is little more than a good tribute band.
First the positive.
It was necessary to bring in veteran performer David Morgan to handle many of the vocals for Three Dog Night following the death of founding member, Cory Wells, in 2015. Although not an original member of the group, Morgan’s flanked by the 74-year-old Hutton and 69-year-old Allsup who blend to create the sound that made Three Dog Night so successful.
And for a group of guys who talk about their ill health and sore muscles, the band performs with the kind of energy usually reserved for the young with performances of “Out in the Country,” “Mama Told Me (Not to Come)”, “One,” “Eli’s Coming,” “Celebrate,” “An Old Fashioned Love Song” and “Shambala.”
Hutton tells the audience that in the past, the band has included a tribute to a musician who has passed in recent years. But, that is not the case for the local show as the band plays all but one tune that hit the Billboard charts. Part of the encore includes one of the band’s lesser known numbers of “Prayer of the Children.” They get back to their hit-making material closing the show with “Joy To the World.”
Despite not being the full compliment of the original band, there are enough members of the group to make the show a joy to the musical world.
Now, the negative.
Blood, Sweat & Tears includes not a single member from the original eight and even worse is that the band’s trademark vocal sound created by David Clayton-Thomas has been replaced by “American Idol” runnerup Bo Bice. No matter how hard Bice tries, he never captures the unmistakable sound that made the band so popular.
Bice is nice but he’s just off enough that this current patchwork of musicians come across like a garage band. It’s a garage band with a very competent horn section but you can find a good horn section in any half decent high school marching band.
It come down to Bice as the selling point and as he did on “American Idol,” he’s little more than a second place finisher. The only thing that would be worse is if Queen decides to tour and hires Clay Aiken to handle the vocals.
The performances of “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy,” “Hi-De-Ho,” “Go Down Gamblin’,” “Spinning Wheel” and “And When I Die” are solid efforts. But being the half beat off from the original recordings because of the vocals always hangs over each tune.
At least Blood Sweat & Tears is just an opening act for the much stronger Three Dog Night. This version of Blood is way too anemic.
Movie it: There is always a lag between an opening act and the headliner. But, in the case of the Blood, Sweat & Tears/Three Dog Night Show, this should have been treated as one big performance. The 30 minutes it takes to reset the stage bleeds a lot of energy out of the audience.
Read more Big Fresno Fair concert reviews here.