2011 Concert Season: The Monkees 45th Anniversary Tour

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.

Setlist

  1. I’m a Believer
  2. Mary, Mary
  3. Look Out (Here Comes Tomorrow)
  4. The Girl I Knew Somewhere
  5. When Love Comes Knockin’ (At Your Door)
  6. Randy Scouse Git
  7. Valleri
  8. Papa Gene’s Blues
  9. Saturday’s Child
  10. I Wanna be Free
  11. That Was Then, This is Now
  12. I Don’t Think You Know Me
  13. All of Your Toys
  14. What Am I Doing Hangin’ ‘Round?
  15.  She Hangs Out
  16. Sometime in the Morning
  17. Someday Man
  18. Can You Dig It?
  19.  As We Go Along
  20. Long Title: Do I Have To Do This All Over Again?
  21.  The Porpoise Song
  22. Daddy’s Song
  23. For Pete’s Sake
  24. Cuddly Toy
  25. Words
  26. She
  27. Shades of Gray
  28. Goin’ Down
  29. It’s Nice To Be With You
  30. Your Auntie Grizelda
  31. Last Train to Clarksville
  32. A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You
  33.  (I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone
  34. Daydream Believer
    Encore
  35. Listen to the Band
  36. Pleasant Valley Sunday
  37. I’m a Believer (Reprise)

Videos

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.”

Headquarters was well represented with “All of Your Toys” and “Shades of Gray.”

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