Sunday, December 16, 2012

Monkees Mania

Review and Photos: Jacob Blickenstaff

The Monkees, reunited with guitarist Michael Nesmith for the first time since disbanding in 1971 (not counting a few fitful UK dates in 1997), played the final show of their US tour at the Beacon Theater on December 2, 2012. The reunion with Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork came after - and possibly as a result of - the untimely death of Davy Jones last February.

Even while reverting to playful bits of vaudeville humor between songs, The Monkees mostly avoided schtick and focused on the great and under appreciated value of their music (cough, cough, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, cough). The group dug deeply into album tracks, including sections devoted to "HEAD" and lesser known tracks from "Headquarters," the self-produced album that The Monkees released to assert their autonomy as a band.  This did not detract from their well-loved and exceptionally crafted hits, many of which, as Dolenz pointed out, were written by stellar talents such as Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, Gerry Goffin and Carole King, Neil Diamond, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weill, and Harry Nilsson, among others.

Embracing their innovative role within television and film, the stage setup prominently featured a continuous video projection that collaged and referenced everything from campy cash-in TV commercials to clips from the subversive, satirical film "HEAD." Video montages were used twice to pay tribute to Davy Jones, and when it was time for "Daydream Believer" (Jones' signature song) Dolenz invited a young woman from the audience to lead an audience sing-along.

Despite the absence of Davy Jones' irreplaceable charm and charisma, the concert scratched a deep itch on Monkees fans' backs, honoring the depth and creativity of their music while becoming again, for two vivid, flickering  hours, the multimedia pop-culture stars they are.  By embracing both their creative and pop-culture powers (as their best work always has) the concert resolved the paradox of The Monkees;  born inside a cathode ray test tube, they emerged as musical artists yet remained inside the medium, reconciling the artistry and artifice with integrity in a way that no 90's boy band or American Idol has yet to do.

Set List - Beacon Theater, December 2 , 2012
Compiled by Teri Landi

Last Train To Clarksville (Micky lead vocal)

Papa Gene's Blues (Mike lead vocal)

Your Auntie Grizelda (Peter lead vocal)

She (Micky lead vocal)
Sweet Young Thing (Mike lead vocal, Micky on brushes and box)
I'm A Believer (Micky lead vocal)
I'm Not Your Steppin' Stone (Micky lead vocal)

I Wanna Be Free (Davy Jones video tribute)


You Told Me (Mike lead vocal)
Sunny Girlfriend (Mike lead vocal)
You Just May Be The One (Mike lead vocal)

Mary, Mary (Micky lead vocal)
The Girl I Knew Somewhere (Micky lead vocal)
For Pete's Sake (Peter lead vocal)

Early Morning Blues And Greens (Peter lead vocal)
Randy Scouse Git (Micky lead vocal & kettle drum)

Daily Nightly (Micky lead vocal, Mike making Moog synth noises)

Tapioca Tundra (Mike lead vocal)
Goin' Down (Micky lead vocal)


Porpoise Song (Micky lead vocal)

Daddy's Song (Davy Jones video tribute, dance clip from movie - band synchs to Davy's vocal & original track)
Can You Dig It? (Micky lead vocal)
As We Go Along (Micky lead vocal)
Circle Sky (Mike lead vocal)

Do I Have To Do This All Over Again? (Peter lead vocal)

Davy Jones video tribute (various songs)

Daydream Believer (audience sing along with Micky)
What Am I Doing Hangin' 'Round? (Mike lead vocal, Peter on banjo)


Listen To The Band (Mike lead vocal)
Pleasant Valley Sunday (Micky lead vocal)


Timmy said...

A great posting. Thanx.........

Kate Danley said...

FANTASTIC post! Thank you for putting all this together. It brought back some incredible memories of an unforgettable concert. I'm still reliving the evening in my head.

T. said...

I saw them the night before at The Paramount and they were wonderful. I agree--more than owed their place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I hope they release a live album of this tour. It far exceeded my expectations.

Unknown said...

Great article & pics. I saw them in NJ a couple of nights before. It was magical for me being a life-long Nesmith fan. Thanks for posting!

Anonymous said...

On this tour, Mike sang lead on his own composition "The Girl I Knew Somewhere". Micky did sing lead on the single version and during previous tours.

Anonymous said...

And that was Peter singing "Can You Dig It?" in concert, even though Micky sings it on the album.

Anonymous said...

And that was Peter singing "Can You Dig It?" in concert, even though Micky sings it on the album.

Sip13 said...

I saw the show Nov 30th in New Brunswick NJ & the show was great there were many times Mike obviously moved by the crowd, After seeing Davy & the Boys June 2011 in AC & this show I felt blessed. & the Rock N Roll Hall of fame should do thier proper Duty & enshrine the group.

Ringo said...


Mtc65 said...

The Monkees not being in the glorified Hard Rock Cafe (Hall of Fame) is a badge of honor in my view!

Anonymous said...

i totally agree Mtc65. who cares?!? just about everybody and his brother is in the rock n roll hall of infamy.It just isn't special. just... listen to the band...

ginger said...

I really enjoyed the show..an amazing night....if you 're reading this thank you karen!