Hey Hey, they were the Monkees, and for a few television seasons and one surrealistic film, they monkeyed around, creating some of the most beloved 60’s pop songs and leaving a legacy that still resonates with millions of fans today. Hard to believe, for many. The Monkees were just supposed to be a made up band of cute boys, an American Beatles that popped up on girls tv screens. But today the music and image Mike Nesmith, Mickey Dolenz, Peter Tork and the late Davy Jones created has transcended time. The proof was in the pudding last night at the University of Buffalo, where Tork, Dolenz and Nesmith brought their An Evening With The Monkees concert to an adoring crowd of fans.
This tour marked the band’s first since Davy Jones’ passing earlier this year, and remakably, it’s also the first one Nesmith has done in North America with Dolenz and Tork since he left the band 40+ years ago. The fact that Mike was onstage once again with his comrades was a hgue drawing card for many fans, including myself. I’d seen the Monkees back in 1996 in Toronto and never thought the opportunity to see Nesmith on stage would come.
Backed by an able seven-piece band that included Nesmith’s son Christian and Dolenz’s sister Coco, this show was a near perfect outing by the group. While I wouldn’t recommend 70-year old Peter Tork continue wearing this leather pants, he was quite amazing on every instrument he played, from guitar to banjo to keyboard to bass. 67-year old Mickey Dolenz was the showman/frontman of the band, working the crowd, including letting one woman in the front row sing a verse of Goin’ Down with him (she did great as well). Meanwhile, with his tweleve-string guitar strapped on for most of the evening, 69-year old Mike Nesmith’s voice was in fine form, and he sounded great on tracks like You Just May Be The One and Listen To The Band.
Davy Jones was paid tribute to throughout the night with various videos, and when it came time for his signature song Daydream Believe, it was a woman from the audience picked by Dolenz who led the crowd in a mass singalong.
From the big hits like I’m A Believer and Pleasant Valley Sunday to album tracks from Headquarters and Head, this was a fantastic show that proved that, while they may have been manufactured to start with, the Monkees legacy is one of great music and memorable talents.