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The Monkees Concert Review – Nashville, TN – Ryman Auditorium – 7/24/2013

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    Posted on 8/14/2013

    The Monkees In Concert - Nashville, TN

    The Monkees In Concert - Nashville, TN

    Concert Blast was invited to cover The Monkees in concert as they returned to Nashville, TN to perform at the historic Ryman Auditorium.  With The Monkees touring without Davy Jones, many fans were wondering how good could it be.  Other devoted fans of Davy Jones can’t imagine seeing them in concert without the main front man. Mike Arnold was available to capture this event and he’s glad he went.  Not only did the artists make this event a fun show, the enthusiasm of those in attendance added to the atmosphere to bring this party to life!  Enjoy Mike Arnold’s concert review as he steps through every song on the set list!


    The Monkees Drum SetWritten by Mike Arnold
    Being born in the 50’s makes me one who grew up with the music of The Monkees and looked forward to their weekly TV show as a kid.  I really thought the show was a bit… make that A Lot Silly, but I was one who waited through the silliness to see and hear their music performances on the show.  Although I thought the TV show was somewhat ridiculous, I believed their music was very mature. So being a fan of The Monkees’ music, I was looking forward to seeing them in concert for the first time.  Yes, I would have loved to see Davy Jones with them, but I will take what I can get.  I realized that Davy sang a lot of good songs, but the others sang many great songs as well.
    When the house lights went down in the Ryman Auditorium on this particular Wednesday night, the crowded concert hall came alive with screams of pleasure.  As the theme to their TV show blasted through the PA System, the backup band took the stage consisting of two keyboard players (one played other instruments throughout the show), three guitarists, a bassist, a drummer, and a female backup singer.  An announcement came over the PA system to introduce the individual names of the surviving members of the Monkees.  I could hardly hear the announcement due to the loud screams from the excited crowd.  Out walked Michael Nesmith (with his 12 string Gretsch guitar that he played the entire night), Micky Dolenz (sporting a hat), and Peter Tork.

    Michael Nesmith of The Monkees In Concert - Nashville, TN

    Michael Nesmith of The Monkees In Concert - Nashville, TN

    It didn’t take the trio long to get started on the music… and the hits, as Michael Nesmith started the opening riff to the hit sang by Micky Dolenz, “Last Train To Clarksville”.  Most everyone on the floor of the Ryman stood throughout most of the entire set.  Michel Nesmith sang the second song of the night, “Papa Gene’s Blues”.  Micky moved back from the front of the stage to play the beat box he sat on (with drumstick brushes) during a tune sang by a dancing Peter Tork, “Your Auntie Grizelda”.  Micky continued playing the beat box as the lead vocals switched to Michael Nesmith during the popular song, “The Kind of Girl I Could Love”.  During the riff of the song everyone in the place was clapping along waiting for the Michael to sing out the first word of the song, “GIIIRRRL!”  The place erupted with approval!

    The songs were back to back with very little talking.  The show continued as Peter strapped on a guitar while Micky moved back to the front and center of the stage to sing lead on “She”.  During the “Hey!” parts, Peter led the crowd to join in while the house lights came on for that one split second. Peter then switched to a banjo while Micky went back to the beat box to play with brushes as Michael took over the lead vocals on “Sweet Young Thing”.

    Mickey Dolenz & Peter Tork of The Monkees In Concert - Nashville, TN

    Mickey Dolenz & Peter Tork of The Monkees In Concert - Nashville, TN

    Micky went back to the front and center of the stage to grab the mic and tell the audience that they were going to performing a song written by Mr. Neil Diamond.  He also sent a message to the kids in the audience that they sang this song long before Shriek (the animated movie).   The song brought everyone to life with singing along and standing in one place dancing.  The excitement continued as they went straight into another one sang by Micky, “I’m Not Your Stepping Stone”.

    At this point the stage lights went out and the three remaining Monkees left while a short clip of their old TV show was playing on the huge video screen in the back of the stage.  The audio portion of the clip was not very clear.  In fact we couldn’t understand what they were saying at all.  I was thinking that maybe it was the floor acoustics in the Ryman, but the music sounded excellent.  Once the clip was over, the famous Monkees drum set played by Micky Dolenz was in the middle of the stage.  Peter Tork came out front wearing a banjo to say how honored he was to stand on the stage where some of the greatest players of all time stood.  While Micky played the drums for the first time of the evening (band drummer played percussion), Michael Nesmith took over the lead vocals again with “You Told Me”.  Peter switched to guitar while Michael sang lead again on, “Sunny Girlfriend”.  Before continuing, Micky grabs a towel, removed his hat, and dried off his head.  Peter saw this and asked Micky if he was all dried up now.  Micky laughed and said sure, as they started another Michael Nesmith song, “You Just May Be The One”.

    Micky Dolenz of The Monkees In Concert - Nashville, TN

    Micky Dolenz of The Monkees In Concert - Nashville, TN

    With Micky still on the drums, he started the intro beat and sang the hit, “Mary Mary”.  Peter switched over to play the keyboards while Michael sang lead on, “The Girl I Knew Somewhere”.  Micky left the stage while Peter went to the front and center as he sat on a stool to sing the ballad, “Early Morning Blues and Greens”.

    Micky Dolenz returned to the center of the stage as the road crew rolls out a kettledrum (used mainly in orchestras).  Peter walks over to Micky to slip a hippie type shawl over his head.  The fans approved with the applause as he bowed and acted as a priest by crossing himself and pretending to sprinkle holy water over the crowd. As the cheers continued Micky said, “I thank you, my tablecloth thanks you.”  Then Peter added, “I thought that was Shriek’s napkin.” Micky laughed with the crowd.  Micky began a couple of drum rolls

    Micky Dolenz of The Monkees In Concert - Nashville, TN

    Micky Dolenz of The Monkees In Concert - Nashville, TN

    on the drum to introduce the song, “Randy Scouse Git”.  During the song the video screen displayed old clips from the TV show of Micky wear that same shawl.  As the song came to a close, Micky continued to do short drum rolls on the kettle drum while Michael was waving his hand at him to stop it… which he finally did.  Once the song did end, the road crew came out to retrieve the kettledrum.  While they were rolling it away, Peter got in character and said to them while motioning his arm to the side of the stage, “Be Off With You!”  Everyone once again laughed.

    Micky went back to the drum set, Michael walked over to play Peter’s keyboard (with his guitar still on) and Peter took control of the stage at this time to tell us that they were going to do another song from “Headquarters”, the album they got to play on.  This one was “For Pete’s Sake”.  Micky came back out front to play an acoustic guitar while Peter went over to his keyboards and Michael back to his normal place on the stage with his 12 string guitar, while all three shared the vocals on the upbeat song, “No Time”.

    Michael Nesmith of The Monkees In Concert - Nashville, TN

    Michael Nesmith of The Monkees In Concert - Nashville, TN

    Once again it was time for another TV clip break.  The stage turned dark and the guys left the stage.  Once the clip was over, Micky was out front with a tambourine to sing lead, with Peter back on guitar as they continued with another upbeat song, “Words”.  Micky did an excellent job on singing the very high parts of the song, although the backup vocalists and Peter did help out a little.

    Peter left the stage while Micky took center stage with an opened notebook in hand to inform us that this next song was the first pop song to ever use the Moog synthesizer.  He then added that they couldn’t get a Moog synthesizer for their tour, but they have a picture of one.  Photos of a Moog synthesizer were shown on the video screen.  Michael Nesmith then added that he could provide the sounds of the synthesizer.  They began the song and Michael displayed his ability to provide the various sounds throughout “Daily Nightly”.   Peter return to the stage to play guitar, Micky got some percussion shakers, and Michael began whistling for the intro and led the singing of “Tapioca Tundra”.  Michael started the riff to start the next number which Micky sang, “Goin’ Down”.

    Micky Dolenz of The Monkees In Concert - Nashville, TN

    Micky Dolenz of The Monkees In Concert - Nashville, TN

    The stage went dark again as the TV show clips shown on the video screen once more.  Toward the end of the clip, it showed The Monkees running across a bridge while Micky jumps off the bridge.  The clip showed him slowly falling as the organ sound started from the band.  Once the clip showed Micky hitting the water, the band started the intro music to the next song as Micky ran out on the stage without Peter and Michael to sing, “The Porpoise Song”.  The video clip continues with Micky swimming with fish in the sea.  Mickey hit some very difficult high notes about half way through the song.  Toward the end of the song, Micky went back to his drum set to pound out the instrumental ending of the tune with the rest of the band.

    Peter Tork came out to take the stage by himself to play guitar and sing during “Can You Dig It” as Harem dressed / Belly Dancing girls filled the screen dancing and prancing around while Peter did a little dancing himself during the instrumental portion of the oriental sounding song.

    Peter Tork of The Monkees In Concert - Nashville, TN

    Peter Tork of The Monkees In Concert - Nashville, TN

    The stage went dark again and the video screen then switched to show clips of The Monkees in concert from the early days.  Actually most of the clips were of the guys running through the crowd taking the stage.  Michael Nesmith walked back out on the stage with Micky on the drums and Peter on guitar.  Michael strummed out the opening chords and sang “Circle Sky”.  The tunes slowed down as Micky left his drum set to walk out front to sing lead on “As We Go Along”.

    A keyboard sounds as Peter counts off 1-2-3-4 while the band picks the beat up again as he sings “Do I Have To Do This All Over Again?”  This one had a sort of a psychedelic sound in the instrumental section while various graphic designs displayed on the screen… Wow, Heavy Man!

    Now it was time for something strange.  The stage lights went off again as the three left the stage and the focus was on the screen.  On the screen was Davy Jones singing and dancing from his old days to the tune of “Daddy’s Song”.  They could have displayed Davy in a much better way.  He could have been on the screen singing (from recent tours) while the band played the music.  The Who did it that way for John Entwistle and Keith Moon and the crowd loved it!  Just playing a video (with the horrible sound) took it away from the live show.  I would had included Davy in more songs, especially the more popular ones, and took out some of the boring songs that the other three performed.  Playing a video for a concert was very strange to me!

    Micky Dolenz of The Monkees & Guest Singer In Concert - Nashville, TN

    Micky Dolenz of The Monkees & Guest Singer In Concert - Nashville, TN

    Once the video was over, the three returned to the stage with Micky talking to the audience about performing the next song.  He continued that Michael said it’s not our song.  Micky said he was right, “It isn’t our song, it is your song!” Then he said we need to get someone from the crowd to sing it.  A lady in the crowd, who happened to already have backstage credentials, was pointed out to sing lead on “Daydream Believer”.  She did an ok job, but the crowd really picked it up on the chorus!  This was the song to have Davy singing on the screen with the live band.  We all would have loved it!

    The show continued with Peter on the banjo, Micky on the percussion shakers, and Michael singing lead while the house lights came on and the three got everyone clapping to start, “What Am I Doing Hangin’ Round?

    Once the song was over, Mickey, Michael, and Peter lined up across the front of the stage waved, bowed, thanked the crowd and ran off the stage.  The crowd yelled for more and they returned within a couple of minutes.  Peter said, “You knew we were going to return didn’t you?”  Micky played tambourine, Peter on guitar, and Michael sang lead on the song, “Listen to the Band”.  This song could be extremely long due to all the musicians on stage playing solos, but instead, Micky went around to each member of the band to introduce them.  Some of the members included Michael Nesmith’s son on guitar, Micky’s sister on background vocals, as well as the bass player and guitarist/band leader being from Nashville.  The encore ended with Micky on acoustic guitar, Peter on the same electric guitar, while Michael picks the intro to another favorite Monkees tune, “Pleasant Valley Sunday” to end the night.

    The Monkees Video Screen

    The Monkees pleased everyone in the crowd.  As we were leaving there were no complaints at all.  In fact the only complaints I heard were from those who didn’t want to attend the concert without Davy with them.  Everyone there had a great time.  I realized that I didn’t know that many songs of theirs and I had forgot about several that I did know.  The last half of the concert, with the exception of the last song, was the weak point of the show.  The best part of listening to a song of theirs that you didn’t care about was, no worries, it will be over in 2 ½ minutes!  I didn’t care for the guest singer in “Daydream Believer”.  If not have Davy singing on the video, then why not have the words scrolling on the video screen for a big sing-along from the crowd… That would have been fun!  I was disappointed in Michael Nesmith’s performance.  I thought he would really tear up the guitar, but he was laid back and played soft.  His intros to “Last Train To Clarksville” and “Pleasant

    The Monkees & Band Members Waving Goodbye

    The Monkees & Band Members Waving Goodbye - Nashville, TN

    Valley Sunday” was very weak.  Another thing about Michael was how serious he seemed. It was like he didn’t belong with the other two fun cut-ups. Michael also had something attached to his mic stand that seemed to be an iPad to read words and chords.  The other two didn’t need anything to help with their memory (that I could see).  Peter was the biggest cut-up of the night and he seemed like he was having the most fun.  Throughout the show he was dancing, laughing, making faces, and funny gestures.  Micky was not only having a good time, but I was surprised by how well he could still reach the high notes and play the drums.  He was always full of energy and he was my favorite of the night.

    Thank you Monkees for the fun, clean show and for giving the fans their money’s worth by performing a two hour set.  On the Concert Blast scale (with 0 being terrible and 10 being the best) I will give The Monkees concert review a 7.5.  I loved what I liked, but I thought they could have performed some of Davy’s songs, too many goofy clips, and there was so much room for improvement.
    Written by Mike Arnold


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      1. denise Mar 7th 2014

        FYI….My daughter did get Mikes autograph on her back….she got it here in Maryland a few months ago….BUT SHE GOT IT.

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