Three Monkees in a Corral

June 26th, 2011 by The Professor


Dolenz, Tork & Jones 45th Anniversary Reunion Tour is a stunning stage rebirth

by Radio RockonTour host Timothy Tilghman

The Monkees as a faux musical unit were initially a television creation for a Saturday morning viewing audience, singing hits crafted by top pop composers. As their popularity skyrocketed, the individual Monkees endeavored to record their own original music as a band. Whether you were a Monkees fan or not, one must respect the fact that they strove to establish a genuine musical identity for themselves.

The Monkees first regrouped as a trio sans Michael Nesmith for their 20th Anniversary and conducted a successful 1986 reunion tour that stretched from Summer into Fall. To commemorate their 30th Anniversary, Nesmith rejoined the fold and produced their only studio reunion album Justus in 1996. The full quartet toured England together in Winter 1997. The trio last toured for their 35th Anniversary in Spring 2001.

The terrific trio are now back on the road to mark their 45th Anniversary and simply put – Wow! The Monkees delivered an incredible performance at Stage AE in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on Wednesday, June 22, 2011. The intimate outdoor venue is nestled in between the playing fields of two major sport stadiums just along the riverbank. The cool evening weather was picture perfect to enjoy an extended live repertoire of classic Monkees material.

Credit for The Monkees reunion rebirth rests with their Tour Director who rearranged their live stage production to rock with an audible edge rather than rehash their sound as saccharine pop confectionery served up for the masses. This enhanced Monkees stage production was embellished by an eight member musical touring entourage that enriched the individual performances.

The sheer number of numbers the trio played was impressive itself. Dolenz, Jones and Tork each took turns alone and together singing their signature hits as well as mixing choice album tracks with several unexpected rare tracks for added measure. A diehardcore Monkees fan could not have asked for more than what the band knocked out under a blanket of sparkling stars in Pittsburgh.

Bassist Peter Tork participated in an expanded musical role on this overwhelmingly enjoyable tour. Peter sang lead vocals on a total of six songs from an exciting setlist of 37 titles. A good deal of unanticipated album tracks were pleasantly dusted off for inclusion and welcomed by an appreciative audience. The individual musicianship of The Monkees was demonstrated throughout the evening by the differing instruments each played on stage.

A magnificent montage of Monkees excerpts spliced from the television series accompanied the stage performances as background visuals. Dolenz, Jones and Tork each shared comments with the Pittsburgh natives recalling their experiences as a Monkee. Micky mentioned his 1955 appearance with an elephant at nearby Kennywood Park. Their humorous stage banter was an amusing and popular means of interacting with their loyal fans.

Without question, The Monkees reunion romp has to be one of the best tours going during the Summer of 2011. The gents were entirely entertaining and gave the crowd beyond what they bargained for as an overall presentation. Davy, Micky & Peter are solid entertainers and together, they prove themselves to be a powerful team. Hey! Hey! They are The Monkees.

The Monkees┬áStage AE, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, June 22, 2011 setlist: Here They Come Again [ensemble intro] * I’m A Believer * Mary, Mary * Look Out (Here Comes Tomorrow) * The Girl I Knew Somewhere * When Loves Comes Knocking At Your Door * Randy Scouse Git * Valleri * Papa Jean’s Blues * Saturday’s Child * I Wanna Be Free * That Was Then, This Is Now * I Don’t Think You Know Me At All * All Of Your Toys * Hangin’ Round * She Hangs Out * Sometime In The Morning * Someday Man * Can You Dig It * As We Go Along * Didn’t I * Porpoise Song (Theme from Head) * When I Grow Up To Be A Man * For Pete’s Sake * Cuddly Toy * Words * She * Shades Of Gray * Goin’ Down * It’s Nice To Be With You * Auntie Grezelda * Last Train To Clarksville * A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You * (I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone * Daydream Believer * Encore: Listen To The Band * Pleasant Valley Sunday * I’m A Believer




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