After eight months, I have (finally) closed the Live Almanac poll that asked fans to select their favorite Monkees tour. Over 1,200 votes were recorded, and last year's 50th Anniversary Tour has taken the gold. Thanks to everyone who participated!
This illustration is courtesy of Sandra Schock, who shared several pieces of her work with the Live Almanac late last year. Thanks, Sandra!
A big thanks to Daniel Coston for sharing his Monkees concert photos with the Live Almanac. Here's three from Micky and Peter's appearance in Atlanta, Georgia on May 21, 2016.
A new page has been added to The Monkees Live Almanac website, chronicling The Monkees' appearance at the Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles, California this past September, which Michael Nesmith said would be his last with the group. The essay examines Michael's history with The Monkees since the group's revival in 1986 as well as the Pantages concert itself.
I'd like to say a big thank you to Sherri Hansen who provided most of the photos you will see on the page (with more on the way to be added at a later date). A shout-out as well to Elliott Marx, who shared his wonderful audience recording of the show on SoundCloud, and to all the fans who uploaded their video footage to YouTube. Please enjoy - and I welcome any feedback.
Sandra Schock recently shared some of her Monkees artwork with the Live Almanac. Here's a sketch of The Monkees inspired by their September 2016 performance at the Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles. For more of Sandra's artwork, be sure to visit her on Facebook and Twitter, and stay tuned to the Live Almanac for a page devoted exclusively to this show, Michael Nesmith's final performance with The Monkees.
Thanks to the Monkees Fans Down Under Facebook page for posting a photo of the set list for The Monkees' final show in Australia, and, the last of the entire 50th Anniversary Tour.
Sandra Schock recently shared some of her Monkees artwork with the Live Almanac. Here's a great sketch of Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork with their touring band. For more of Sandra's artwork, be sure to visit her on Facebook and Twitter.
The Live Almanac would like to extend a warm thank you to Micky, Peter, and Michael Nesmith for all of the fun and excitement they brought to the road this year. I'd also like to recognize Andrew Sandoval, who produced the tour, along with the entire staff and crew that worked behind the scenes. Andrew was also kind enough to share photos of set lists from numerous shows on the tour with the Live Almanac, and that was much appreciated. If only Davy Jones had been around for it all.
With that being said, the 50th Anniversary concerts wouldn't have been the success they were without The Monkees' touring band: Wayne Avers (guitar/musical director), John Billings (bass), Rich Dart (drums), Dave Alexander (keyboards), and Coco Dolenz (vocals/percussion). Everyone involved with the tour should take a bow!
In the meantime, I'm going to begin work on my essay for the 50th Anniversary Tour page here on the Live Almanac, along with creating a page dedicated exclusively to Michael Nesmith's final concert with The Monkees at the Pantages Theatre this past September.
I would also like to take a minute to thank everyone for their constant support of this website and blog. I have been overwhelmed by your kind email notes and well-wishes. I continue to be astonished by the traffic flow the site receives!! I was also honored that The Monkees Live Almanac was mentioned this year in online articles published by industry websites like Billboard and others, and author Peter Mills gave a shout-out to the Live Almanac in his newly published book, The Monkees, Head, and the 60s (which I highly recommend):
John Wilson, Alan Adkins, Jim Catapano, Fred Velez, Patrick Zappi, Daniel Eckert, Mark James Melhi, Amy Collen, and Brian Marchese also deserve recognition. In honor of The Monkees' 50th Anniversary, they composed essays for the Live Almanac (and in Brian's instance produced a podcast) celebrating the group's history and impact, and their work has greatly enhanced this website.
Finally, a hearty thank you to John Hughes, Andrew Sandoval, Dan Wingate, and everyone at Rhino Records, who provided Monkees fans with two monumental releases this year. Good Times!, The Monkees' first studio album since 1996's Justus, shot to the upper echelons of the charts and captured the spirit of the group's '60s recordings, due in large part to Adam Schlesinger, who produced the LP. Rhino's Blu-ray set, which featured all of the Monkees episodes, Head, and 33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee restored from their original prints (along with a bevy of bonus features), allowed The Monkees' legacy on film to jump into the 21st century.
Now, stay tuned to The Monkees Live Almanac in 2017 for all it will bring to Monkees fans!
Check out this great poster, a creation of Monkees fan Becca Nelson. I think it sums up 2016 nicely!
Thanks to Brian Sumner for filming this historic show, advertised as Michael Nesmith's final concert with The Monkees, and to Sherri Hansen for creating a playlist of the footage on YouTube. Enjoy!
Famed studio musician Louis Shelton, who played the famous guitar lick on "Last Train to Clarksville" and was featured on numerous Monkees songs in the 1960s, guested with Micky, Peter, and the band last night during the group's final show of their 50th Anniversary Tour in Gold Coast, Australia.
Andrew Sandoval marked the occasion in a message on Facebook:
A cool moment featuring the wonderful Louie Shelton, a Candy Store Prophet and a key component of the Boyce & Hart sound. What was really a thrill was how Micky & Peter performed "Last Train To Clarksville" tonight, like they were doing it for the first time in 1966. This was in fact the first time they had ever performed with the man who played guitar on so many of their classic recordings from 1966-1969.
Of note, this is the song they've played the most since they started performing in December 1966 (pre-"I'm A Believer"). We shared so much great history this year, and this along with the appearances of Michael and hearing Davy's voice every night brought home that there is still very much a real group called The Monkees.
Rich Dart has been the drummer in The Monkees' backing band since 2012, and he also supports Micky Dolenz during his solo performances. Today on Facebook, Rich reflected on The Monkees' 50th Anniversary Tour and how being associated with the Monkees organization has impacted the last decade of his life:
Tonight is the last show of The Monkees' 50th Anniversary Tour and quite possibly the final Monkees show ever. It's been a long and amazing year. Who would have thought that ten years ago when I accepted a gig at the Goodspeed Opera House to play a production of Pippin that it would have led to this today?! I have been blessed to not only work with but become a close knit family with the great band of hard working musicians (Wayne Avers, David Alexander, John Billings and Gemma Dolenz). I have gained new friendships with a phenomenal crew whom without there would be no show (Tim Iseler, Chip Auchincloss, Austin Becker and Sabrina Rush - along the way Martin Garneret, Francis Sapienza, Guy T. Koepp, Noamme Elisha, and Dave Butterworth). We were fortunate to have some great musicians from our extended Monkees family join us at times (Vrandel Brescia, David Robicheau and Felipe Torres and of course Michael Nesmith) as well as getting to play with some amazing guest musicians from all walks of the industry and I have gotten to meet many people who I have been a fan of since my childhood. I have met numerous fans who have shown so much appreciation for the shows that I felt so blessed to bring joy to others the way this music has brought joy to me over the years. I want to extend a big thanks to all of these people but especially to the man who put it together, our manager and producer, Andrew Sandoval. Not only is is he a great person and a good friend but he is the only person I have met that knows more about the Monkees than I do and for those that grew up with me, you know that's pretty big in my book! LOL.
It has been one heck of a ride and tonight we head to Gold Coast, Australia for what will be a happy occasion as we once again give it our all to perform this amazing catalogue of music but also a sad one as it brings a gigantic chapter of my life to close. I cannot thank Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork enough for this incredible opportunity.
I return home on Saturday night to business as usual with a pop in at the Creamed Corn gig Saturday night (I know - I'm nuts) and a Greg Piccolo gig on Monday night. But tonight, I get to back the Monkees one more time.