‘Summer of Love’ in Springfield: Why this weekend event will be great for the ears and the eyes

In 1970s Glen Burtnik portrayed McCartney in Beatlemania.

The saying goes “If you remember the 1960s, you weren’t really there.” With the music that came out of the era, who could forget?

“Glen Burtnik’s Summer of Love Concert” offers note-for-note recreations music revue-style up through Woodstock. It will be in the Clark State Performing Arts Center at 8 p.m. Saturday, April 28.

This is the finale concert of the Springfield Arts Council’s Showstoppers season.

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Burtnik has performed professionally with Styx and ELO and written several hit songs. But the music of the 1960s keeps calling him back.

In the late 1970s, he portrayed Paul McCartney in Beatlemania, the first big Beatles music revue. Burtnik reflected that back then, it was Beatlemania and Elvis impersonators and that was mostly it for authentic tributes.

“You wouldn’t have guessed 40 years later it would be what it has become,” he said. “Audiences enjoy it so much.”

Burtnik leads of a full cast of veterans and young talent who emulate the artists, emphasizing it isn’t just a couple of guys.

“It’s a wonderful challenge because we love these songs,” he said. “The whole cast has really taken on this peace and love thing.”

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Burtnik and crew draw upon a large library of 20-40 songs. The audience will likely hear the Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter” and “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes” by Crosby, Stills & Nash.

A surprise crowd-pleaser is the bubblegum hit “Green Tambourine” by the Ohio band The Lemon Pipers that hit No. 1 in 1968, grooving the psychedelic vibe of the day.

He said it’s music that transcends generations and everybody can enjoy.

While the music is center stage, behind the performers will be a show within the show — a groovy reminder of the day.

Marc Rubenstein’s Pig Light Show used at the legendary Fillmore East in New York will be recreated with computer graphics on a screen.

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It’s part of what Burtnik hopes isn’t just a show, but an experience.

“It’s very infectious for us and for the audience as we do our best to express the feeling of peace and love from an absolutely magical time in music.”

How to go

What: “Glen Burtnik’s Summer of Love Concert”

Where: Clark State Performing Arts Center, Kuss Auditorium, 300 S. Fountain Ave., Springfield

When: Saturday, April 28, 8 p.m.

Admission: $52, $47, $42, $32 (plus facility and ticket fees)

More info: 937-324-2712 or go to www.springfieldartscouncil.org/event/summer-of-love

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