Sherri Hansen is the premier photographer of Monkees concerts, and her photos from "The Mike & Micky Show" in Chicago on June 14 appear below. As always, thanks, Sherri!
And a note to Live Almanac readers: more of Sherri's photos to come!
With a more robust band, fresh arrangements, Micky being Micky and a rejuvenated Nez, "The Mike and Micky Show" turned out to be the ultimate Monkees concert many have been waiting on for decades.
The set list was perfect! Early/middle/late periods of the Monkees era were covered (and Good Times!, too). All of the Nez songs you wanted to hear were played. Songs that have been aired frequently during recent tours were dropped, while other warhorses were reinvented in ways that made them feel like new releases. The deep cuts were dynamic, rewarding, and ultimately delivered on pre-tour expectations.
The band was tight. The addition of Paul Kramer's fiddle and Pete Finney's slide guitar breathed new life into the arrangements. Circe Link and Christian Nesmith added relative youth and energy. The re-worked arrangements of many of the songs on the set list added so much soul to nearly every song. Both Wayne Avers and Christian deserve accolades for their work in this department.
The Monkees themselves were at the peak of their craft, which is quite an accomplishment considering their age. Micky and Mike's harmonies were beautiful, as always. Nez looked engaged and happy. His voice sounded as rich today as it did in 1968. That being said, it can never be forgotten that Micky is the consummate entertainer and a wonderful singer. There was so much energy in their performance, and if you closed your eyes, the whole show felt like 1968. Furthermore, the camaraderie between the band appeared authentic. It looked like everyone was having fun and enjoying themselves. Christian and Mike; Mike and Micky; each had special moments.
A paragraph could be written about every song that was performed at the concert in Chicago. I will highlight just a few:
The performances of "Listen to the Band," "You Told Me," "Sweet Young Thing," and "Sunny Girlfriend" were infinitely superior at these shows. The arrangements, background vocals, and Mike’s ability to hit higher notes made it truly special.
I was so happy to see the return of "As We Go Along." This is Micky at his finest and one of the best songs in The Monkees' catalog.
It was also gratifying to witness "Accidental Hipster" being played. A fully contemporary sounding song, and a great match for Micky and Mike.
The Monkees as a whole have cemented their place as one of the greatest bands of all time. What other group with multiple #1 hits in the 1960s ever produced more pleasing, contemporary music 50 years later and achieved this type of longevity?
We can now all retire as happy and satisfied Monkees fans.
A big thanks to Shane for sharing his photos from the June 14 concert in Chicago!
Soundcheck in Chicago
Live at the Copernicus Center in Chicago
"The Mike & Micky Show" played in Huber Heights, Ohio last night at the Rose Music Center. Tonight, the tour rolls into Cleveland for a concert at Cain Park.
Coming tomorrow to the Live Almanac's blog: photos from Chicago, courtesy of Sherri Hansen and Shane Worden!
Here's additional video from last night's show in Chicago. The band really seems to have hit its stride and boy, what a great crowd!
How incredible is it that Monkees fans in 2018 are being treated to songs like "Auntie's Municipal Court" live in concert?! Not to mention "St. Matthew," "Nine Times Blue," and despite already being played on the 50th Anniversary Tour, "Steam Engine," which is always a highlight! A very honorable mention goes to "Take a Giant Step" as well. Sure, it has been performed during previous Monkees concert tours (usually in an acoustic version like in 1989 or 2015), but the performance of the B-side to "Last Train to Clarksville" on this current tour is stellar!
It's also great to have "Different Drum" in the set, along with "I'll Spend My Life With You." The acoustic rendering of "Randy Scouse Git" is a welcome change of pace, and it's a tribute to the strength of the material from 2016's Good Times! that both "Me & Magdalena" and "Birth of an Accidental Hipster" are received so warmly. Enjoy...
Last night, Micky, Mike, and the band played what was reported to be one of the best shows of the tour to date in front of a very enthusiastic audience at the Copernicus Center in Chicago, Illinois. Both "Steam Engine" and "Grand Ennui," which have not been performed since June 5 in Anaheim, California, returned to the set in Chicago. Here is the set list, courtesy of Andrew Sandoval:
Nez demoed "Propinquity," a song he wrote for his first wife, Phyllis, in 1966:
He later recorded it during the famed Nashville sessions in 1968, but this version remained in the Monkees vaults until its appearance in 1996 on Missing Links Volume Three:
The song was given its first official release in 1971 on The First National Band's third album, Nevada Fighter:
A reworked version appeared on Live at the Palais in 1978:
Finally, this performance of "Propinquity" is taken from Live at the Britt Festival, a video and compact disc recorded on June 19, 1992 at the Britt Festival in Jacksonville, Oregon:
"Nesmith, speaking earlier this week, said there's a possibility for more 'Mike and Micky Show' dates after Red Bank and revealed that the tour has been recorded for a potential future live album, with his son Christian serving as the designated producer."
A big thanks to Shawn New for sharing his photos and a video taken during "The Mike & Micky Show" at Humphrey's in San Diego, California on June 3.
Thanks to the podcast We Want The Monkees, here is an audience recording of the complete show at Harrah's Lake Tahoe in Stateline, Nevada on June 9, 2018:
Last night, "The Mike & Micky Show" visited Harrah's Lake Tahoe in Stateline, Nevada. The set list for the show was a little different in that the following songs were not played: "You Told Me," "The Door Into Summer," "Some of Shelly's Blues," "Birth of An Accidental Hipster," and "St. Matthew," and the Head set was also rearranged. (There was no intermission as well.) It's likely the set was shorter since casinos often place time constraints on concerts in their venues.
UPDATE: Andrew Sandoval confirmed with the Live Almanac that last night's show was shortened because of the casino setting.
Good Clean Fun
Last Train to Clarksville
For Pete's Sake
You Just May Be the One
The Girl I Knew Somewhere
As We Go Along
Me & Magdelena
Papa Gene's Blues
Randy Scouse Git
Nine Times Blue
I'll Spend My Life With You
Take a Giant Step
Auntie's Municipal Court
Sweet Young Thing
What Am I Doing Hangin' 'Round?
Pleasant Valley Sunday
Listen to the Band
I'm a Believer
Next stop: Denver on June 12!
John Billings shared some backstage moments before last night's show at Harrah's Lake Tahoe in Stateline, Nevada: