Summer of Love Concert features popular tunes from 1967-69

The nationally touring Summer of Love Concert will feature songs by such late '60s acts as The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Rolling Stones, CSN&Y, Mamas and The Papas and others on Saturday at the Phillips Center.

Courtesy of The Roots Agency
Published: Wednesday, January 15, 2014 at 10:22 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 15, 2014 at 10:22 a.m.

War, drugs, racism, riots, screeching guitars, acid trips, flowers placed in the barrels of guns — these were just a few highlights in the summer of 1967. In fact, there has never been a more famous summer. And yet, it is hard to pinpoint just why the so-called “Summer of Love” still resonates with such strength.


The Summer of Love Concert

What: Music performance features popular music from 1967-69.
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, 3201 Hull Road
Tickets: $20-$45, $10 for UF students
Info: 392-2787,

Glen Burtnik has a few ideas. The musician and songwriter most famous for his work with Styx, the original version of Beatlemania (he played Paul) and the current lineup of ELO, has put together “The Summer of Love Concert,” which hits the Phillips Center on Saturday, to tell the story of that magical summer through music.

“It seems like culturally there was an explosion in the '60s,” Burtnik says. “It's really hard for me to compare it to any of the decades after — those are the ones I know about because I lived through them. There's something about the '60s, from JFK, to landing on the moon, to The Beatles, to Woodstock. And, it happened in every way. Not only pop music, but also scientifically, fashion, there's a lot of things that exploded in that decade. I don't know what it was; it was like a perfect storm.”

Burtnik created a revue featuring the music of the time — from The Beatles, to Jimi Hendrix, the Rolling Stones, the Beach Boys, Bob Dylan, Jefferson Airplane, The Doors, Cream, Ravi Shankar and dozens of others — to share that perfect storm with new generations and reminisce about it with people who lived through it.

“My concept was to put this big revue together — the concept being this music that I grew up with and that I love so much,” he says. “I share the vocal responsibilities and the musical responsibilities. I'm the musical director who chooses the material and rehearses everybody and makes sure everyone's singing the right harmonies and all of that.”

Burtnik was just on the cusp of his teenage years during the famed summer of 1967 (the concert includes material from '67 up to Woodstock in 1969), and he remembers it as a formative period.

“That was a very impressionable time in my life,” he says. “I had two older brothers — one went to Vietnam and one went to Haight-Ashbury. That's an interesting perspective I had.”

Those years left such an impression on Burtnik that he says he still hasn't quite escaped them.

“I recently painted my Jeep psychedelic colors. I'm sitting in my apartment right now under an American flag and a giant poster of Jimi Hendrix's second album. I'm kind of stuck.”

Burtnik says that his goal with the concert is to reproduce the music of the era as faithfully as possible.

“These records to me are very personal, and I want to try to replicate every nuance that I can,” he says. “It's all really my own selfish dream. I've always wanted to go on stage and recreate this music that lit me up like a match in the late '60s.”

And, while Burtnik can be incisive in sizing up his generation — “There's an entitlement; we think we're the greatest generation ever to live,” he says — he also can wax poetic about the transformative power of the music his generation produced.

“It's celebratory,” he says. “It's like my birthday. It's the church of the Summer of Love.

“I've been saved.”

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