Some of the oldtimers going to see the Roots of Rock and Roll Vol. 35 show Saturday at the Benedum were probably reminded of the scene in 1961 when Porky Chedwick's live remote shut down the same street Downtown.
There were so many people going in and out between the 5 and 8:30 p.m. shows, it was human gridlock on 7th and Penn.
That's how much Pittsburghers love their oldies, and they packed the theater twice on "Jimmy Beaumont and the Skyliners Day," as decreed by Mayor Luke Ravenstahl.
The concert celebrated the 50th anniversary of the group and its hit "Since I Don't Have You," and sitting in the wings for the occasion was none other than the Daddio of the Raddio, who's reversed his move to Florida and come back home.
The Skyliners, sporting blinding white suits with gold trim and rhinestones, capped a three-hour show with a 13-song set that displayed the group's range, from the heavenly modern ballads of Donna Groom to Dick Muse's bubbly "Nip Sip." Beaumont unselfishly showed off the rest of his group, as well as his ability to sing the backup bass parts.
Beaumont took the lead for a few Skyliners standards in the mold of "Since I Don't Have You" and then laid it out all out there in the finale, putting all of his being into hitting the high notes on that 1959 classic.
The Skyliners had a tough act to follow coming after Terry Johnson's Flamingos, who had their own smash hit in 1959. Johnson, two years older than Beaumont, at 70, is one smooth operator, with a tenor that's as creamy as it gets. It's astounding that his vocal on the sublime "I Only Have Eyes for You" could sound so close to the way he sang it at 20. And you should have seen the outrageous black-and-gold suits!
Fans were also treated to a version of The Vogues not seen in these parts for more than 20 years -- a full-bodied quintet flanked by original lead singer Bill Burkette and first tenor Hugh Geyer. Despite looking like a distinguished, white-haired CEO, Burkette delivered a convincing "Five O'Clock World," along with faves like "Magic Town" and "You're the One."
As always, 14-year-old phenom Kid Kyle brought down the house, with a pair of Frankie Lymon hits. Barbara Lynn, from Beaumont, Texas, donned her guitar to belted out "You'll Lose a Good Thing," and also rising to the occasion were Charles Weldon, Millard Edwards and Luther McDaniels.
Pittsburghers are lucky to still have Beaumont and Porky and a promoter like Henry DeLuca who only serves up the real thing.
Scott Mervis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-2576.