LEWISTON — Nick Knowlton hatched his idea while standing on the stage at the Colisee, looking down at the graying grandparents on the dance floor.
This was the same audience that had gathered more than 40 years ago when Lewiston's Police Athletic League held its Friday night PAL Hops. They sometimes drew 2,000 dancing kids.
“The faces were the same,” said Knowlton, who sang in the 1960s with Terry & the Telstars. Last May at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee, he emceed and sang at a nostalgia show titled, “Echoes in Time.”
“I thought, 'I wonder if we could get enough of those bands back together.'” For the Echoes show, two bands — the Moon Dawgs and Rockin' Recons — performed. For this show, Knowlton wanted five bands.
He got six.
For the Aug. 14 event, “The PAL Hop Reunion will Rock Again,” the Moon Dawgs and the Rockin' Recons are back. So are the Royal Knights, the Innkeepers and the Travelers. Knowlton's old band mates in Terry & the Telstars have also reunited.
On Monday, Knowlton kicked off publicity for the concert, holding a news conference with more than a dozen of the musicians who will perform.
Many tickets are still available, but the floor seats have sold out, Knowlton said.
Reserve seats are $25 each. They can be purchased at the Colisee box office, by phone at 783-2009, ext. 208, or online at www.thecolisee.com.
Plans call for each of the bands to play a 40-minute set, with short bits of entertainment in between. Among the guests will be Janis Joplin sound-alike Pat Pepin and the “Marden's Lady,” Birdie Googins.
Roger Michaud, lead singer and keyboardist for the Moon Dawgs, said he looks forward to seeing and hearing the bands.
Several played a 1994 reunion concert and haven't performed since.
Despite the passage of so much time, Michaud figures there will be a friendly competition between the musicians, he said.
As teens, they had competed to see who was the loudest, who drew the most squeals from the girls or merely sounded the best.
“Of course we'll be competing,” Michaud said smiling. “We have to.”
Of course, the Moon Dawgs still play from time to time. Knowlton hadn't played with his band mates in 23 years
“It's surreal,” Knowlton said.
The five-piece band led by Terry McCarthy has created a set with some of the same songs they played in the 1960s.
“You think, 'Are we really going to remember all of these songs?'” Knowlton said.
Before they began rehearsals, two of the guys had sold their instruments. One has arthritis.
But after some practice, the guys are already talking about playing again after next month's show.
“We still have chemistry,” Knowlton said.