An Evening with The Monkees: The 45th Anniversary Tour at Stage AE
Pittsburgh, PA – June 22, 2011
Hey hey, they’re The Monkees and they came to my town this summer!
The Monkees are celebrating their 45th anniversary this year by touring the United Kingdom and North America for the first time in ten years. As soon as I heard Pittsburgh was a stop on the reunion tour, I immediately made plans to go. It’s been ten years since the first time I saw Davy Jones, Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork perform together at the South Park Fairgrounds during their Monkeemania Tour. Unfortunately, I’ve never gotten the chance to see Mike Nesmith, since the last time he reunited with the other Monkees was for a string of UK tour dates in 1997.
Not only did Davy, Micky and Peter deliver a fantastic and entertaining show, but I ended up standing so close to the stage I could have reached out and pulled Davy into our little mosh pit of fan girls. Don’t worry, I refrained!
When The Monkees put together the 37-song set list for their tour (no that’s not a typo), they catered to their fans. From what I’ve read and heard, the majority of fans were thrilled about the mixture of classic hits and deep cuts in the set list. I know I was – we heard the best of both worlds. Some uninformed critics may not speak very highly of these deep cuts, but I don’t think you can scoff at the song-writing talents of giants such as Neil Diamond, Carole King/Gerry Goffin, Neil Sedaka, Tommy Boyce/Bobby Hart… or Mike Nesmith.
Along with the expected classics such as “I’m a Believer,” “Last Train to Clarksville” and my favorite, “Pleasant Valley Sunday,” The Monkees treated us to some awesome deep cuts – delving into the soundtrack from their 1968 cult classic film Head (“The Porpoise Song,” “As We Go Along”) , some Nesmith-penned tunes (“Listen to the Band,” “Mary, Mary”) and tracks from their 1967l album Headquarters where they asserted greater creative control in the studio (“All of Your Toys,” “Shades of Gray”).
It was great to hear Micky’s powerful pipes still in full force, belting out “Randy Scouse Git” and scatting on “Goin’ Down.” I honestly think he has one of the best and most underrated voices in pop music. I loved watching Peter bounce back and forth between the guitar, keyboard, french horn and banjo – what an amazing musician! Davy exuded so much energy on stage and still flashed those stars in his eyes as he crooned those love songs. I remembered much I was enamored with him!
I feel like that many fans of The Monkees have to resort to “rescue criticism” when discussing the band’s significance in popular music. There are a lot of preconceived notions about the band because of their origins and their television show. However, when you actually study their careers, musical backgrounds and their groundbreaking accomplishments on their television show and albums, you can hardly dismiss their influence on pop culture and popular music. I especially have a problem with the “Monkees didn’t play their own instruments” nonsense. It’s a fact that they did. Also, many groups and producers back in the 1960s used and shared session musicians like the famed Wrecking Crew to record albums, The Monkees were no different than The Beach Boys or The Mamas and the Papas, for example.
Between Mike’s song-writing, Peter’s musicianship, Micky’s rock star vocals and Davy’s charisma, you have a legitimate band who held their own against other contemporary pop groups of their day. Although we were missing Nez that evening, the three Monkees celebrated the youthfulness and joy of their music on that stage.
- I’m a Believer
- Mary, Mary
- Look Out (Here Comes Tomorrow)
- The Girl I Knew Somewhere
- When Love Comes Knockin’ (At Your Door)
- Randy Scouse Git
- Papa Gene’s Blues
- Saturday’s Child
- I Wanna be Free
- That Was Then, This is Now
- I Don’t Think You Know Me
- All of Your Toys
- What Am I Doing Hangin’ ‘Round?
- She Hangs Out
- Sometime in the Morning
- Someday Man
- Can You Dig It?
- As We Go Along
- Long Title: Do I Have To Do This All Over Again?
- The Porpoise Song
- Daddy’s Song
- For Pete’s Sake
- Cuddly Toy
- Shades of Gray
- Goin’ Down
- It’s Nice To Be With You
- Your Auntie Grizelda
- Last Train to Clarksville
- A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You
- (I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone
- Daydream Believer
- Listen to the Band
- Pleasant Valley Sunday
- I’m a Believer (Reprise)
Kick ass medley from Head featuring “Can You Dig It,” “As We Go Along,” “Long Title: Do I Have To Do This All Over Again,” “Porpoise Song” and “Daddy’s Song.”
Here’s a YouTube video featuring Micky nailing “Goin’ Down.”
Micky busted out the timpani on “Randy Scouse Git.”
I waited until the encore for my favorite song: “Pleasant Valley Sunday.”
We can’t forget “Last Train to Clarksville.”