On October 1, 1968, The Monkees were greeted rapturously as they arrived in Japan to perform a series of live concerts in that country for the very first time. One of these historic shows was filmed (most likely during the two day, three-concert stay at Budokan Hall in Tokyo on October 3 and 4, 1968) and later broadcast on Japanese television. The audio recording and video footage, however, has never been officially released. The audio (straight from the video) has long existed as a bootleg (complete with Japanese voice introductions before each song), but much to the chagrin of Monkees fans, the video footage is presumed lost or destroyed.
Monkees archivist Andrew Sandoval has confirmed that multiple attempts have been made to find the missing video footage. "It was definitely broadcast and there has been communication with TBS [Tokyo Broadcasting System] in Japan to retrieve anything they had," he wrote on Facebook in 2017. "We asked many times and have been told they have nothing. Unless they made a film print of the video, it is unlikely it survived."
I first acquired a cassette tape of this particular concert in the late 1980s that ultimately relayed a sprightly and resolute performance by The Monkees, exhibiting just how far these four individuals with disparate musical backgrounds had come to achieving a "group" sound in a relatively short amount of time.
For years, Monkees fans have clamored for some sort of official release of this concert, even if it was just the audio portion as it seems the video footage has seemingly been lost to time. In the latest twist of this long-sought after piece of Monkees history, Live Almanac contributor Justin Rakowski has commenced a project to restore the original Japanese concert bootleg. In an effort to present the cleanest audio possible while also removing the invasive voice introductions before every song, Justin has "demixed" the audio. For those that aren’t familiar with "demixing," Justin relayed some details to the Live Almanac. "It’s essentially the process of using specific programs that can run a algorithm on a mono track and separate out individual signals like vocals, guitars, bass, and drums," Justin said. "The inherent problem with the Japan concert is not only the mono mix but the narrator that talks over the beginning of each song."
Justin talked more about the challenges of his project. "Obviously the parts where the announcer talks is the hardest area to fix. It's easier when the announcer is not talking over The Monkees' performances. Even when there is commentary over the instrumental beginning of each song, I can remove the announcer, but the music underneath sounds like someone is playing with the volume knob so the music cuts in and out, leaving some bars with no recoverable information. So what I’ve done is flown in other parts of the song in to fix those areas."
And now, here are the initial results of Justin's experiment! While we're all doing our best to hunker down during this international health crisis, take a listen to Justin's work and keep your fingers crossed that the video of this concert finally emerges!
UPDATE 4/16/2020: Justin has completed this project and has uploaded the entire 1968 Japanese concert. Thanks again, Justin! (Individual clips still appear below.)
The Monkees Live in Japan 1968 - Complete Show (Stereo Demix)
"Last Train to Clarksville" (Live in Japan 1968 - Stereo Demix)
"I Wanna Be Free" (Live in Japan 1968 - Stereo Demix)
"Johnny B. Goode" (Live in Japan 1968 - Stereo Demix)
"D.W. Washburn" (Live in Japan 1968 - Stereo Demix)
"It's Nice To Be With You" (Live in Japan 1968 - Stereo Demix)
"I'm a Believer" (Live in Japan 1968 - Stereo Demix)
"(I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone" (Live in Japan 1968 - Stereo Demix)
"Salesman" (Live in Japan 1968 - Stereo Demix)
For "Salesman," Justin has offered up something special:
"Enjoy this 'what if' video using my newly demixed track of 'Salesman' synced up with edits of the 8mm Australia tour footage posted by Iain Lee's RareMonkees YouTube page."
Check out this fantasy album artwork that appeared in the Live Almanac's Facebook feed today, courtesy of Frank Jason Rhoden. Inspired by the cover of the Live 1967 LP, Frank took a shot at creating album art for a Live 1968 release, which would have documented a 1968 Monkees concert in Japan.
Here's what Frank wrote on Facebook:
I have great nostalgia for the "Live 1967" album, and its cover that just screams 1987 retro reissue. I never liked the commonly seen low-res yellow cover for the 1968 Japan boot, so I decided to use the 1967 album as a template to make something that looked like 1988 vomited all over 1968 - a tacky explosion of color and neon using images from that tour. I’m mostly happy with it, so I thought I’d share.
Take a moment to listen to The Monkees live in Japan in October 1968, courtesy of the Live Almanac's YouTube channel:
In 1989, The Monkees returned to Europe for the first time since 1967 for a tour that brought a sell-out crowd to nearly every venue along with a huge wave of publicity surrounding their activities. Most of the shows centered around the United Kingdom with dates in England, Scotland, and Wales. A concert was also held in Apeldoorn, Holland on April 21, portions of which were broadcast live on European radio. The Apeldoorn show was filmed and later screened on Holland television in May.
An acoustic set was a highlight of all of The Monkees' 1989 concerts in the UK, North America, and Japan. Listen below to Davy Jones take the lead on "When Love Comes Knockin' (At Your Door)" during the set while Peter Tork sings "Take a Giant Step."
The latest entry on The Monkees Live Almanac's YouTube channel is audio from the group's tour of Japan in 1968.
The Monkees visited Australia and Japan in September and October 1968. In Japan, one of the concerts was filmed (most likely during the two day, three concert stay at Budokan Hall in Tokyo on October 3 and 4, 1968) and later broadcast on Japanese television. The audio recording and video footage, however, has never been officially released. The audio (straight from the video) does exist as a bootleg, but the video footage is presumed lost or destroyed.
Monkees archivist Andrew Sandoval has confirmed that multiple attempts have been made to find the missing video footage. "It was definitely broadcast and there has been communication with TBS [Tokyo Broadcasting System) in Japan to retrieve anything they had," he wrote on Facebook in 2017. "We asked many times and have been told they have nothing. Unless they made a film print of the video, it is unlikely it survived."
Interestingly enough, in an earlier, separate video posting of "Cuddly Toy" from this same concert on the Live Almanac's YouTube channel, "Rock Channel Archives" left the following comment:
"The concert was videotaped and wasn't broadcast until Monkeemania hit for a 2nd time in 1983. After that one airing, the video tape was labeled "re-use" and has never been seen again. This according to Mr. Udo who is like the Dick Clark of Japan. This audio is a cassette copy from broadcast TV."
The comment above refers to the resurgence in popularity of The Monkees in Japan in the early 1980s. Japan experienced the first rebirth of The Monkees in the '80s even before Micky, Davy, and Peter reunited for the mega-successful 20th Anniversary Tour of North America in 1986. When "Daydream Believer" was used in a Kodak commercial in Japan in 1980, Monkeemania was rekindled as the television show returned to the airwaves and Monkees albums were reissued, causing them to chart in that country once again. Demand for The Monkees was so high in Japan in the early '80s that Micky, Davy, and Peter all toured the country individually between 1981 and 1982, playing to near-hysterical audiences.
If the comment left by Rock Channel Archives is indeed accurate, it could explain the origins of the Japanese 1968 audio, which has circulated throughout Monkees tape trading circles since the '80s. (I first acquired a copy from a tape collector in the late 1980s.)
Below is the audio recording of The Monkees live in Japan in 1968 that has survived, and please note there are breaks between each track:
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:
Over the years, longtime Monkees fan Jennifer Winkle has attended numerous Monkees concerts, and she has recently shared her rich catalog of photos with the Live Almanac. Here's a collection from a show I also attended on August 3, 1996 at a sold-out Valley Forge Music Fair outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This was a great (theatre in the round) venue, and I've always remembered how enthusiastic the crowd was that evening. Thanks, Jennifer!
This was the set list from the show at Valley Forge:
Here's a bootleg from the concert in two parts, and I believe this is the first time this has been made available online. I'm going to try and post this on the Live Almanac's YouTube channel at some point as well!
Tonight in 1989, 28 years ago, I attended The Monkees' concert at Valley Forge Music Fair in Devon, Pennsylvania, right outside of Philadelphia. The show was fantastic, and as you can tell from the audio below, the crowd was very enthusiastic.
The 1989 US tour featured an eclectic set list. Songs like "She Hangs Out" and "As We Go Along" were debuted live while "D.W. Washburn" got its first airing in concert since the 1968 Australian/Japanese tour. "What Am I Doing Hangin' 'Round?" hadn't been played by the trio since the initial 1986 reunion and saw Peter take the lead vocal in Michael's absence. An acoustic set, first performed during the European tour earlier in 1989, remained in the show and continued to be a highlight. Davy's solo spot, "Hangin' By a Thread," was a personal favorite.
Shortly after the Valley Forge concert, I acquired an audience recording from a tape trader. Here are some highlights, courtesy of the Live Almanac's YouTube channel:
"As We Go Along" was first performed live on The Monkees' 1989 summer tour that visited the United States, Canada, and Japan. This audience recording, from the group's final show in Japan to date, was recorded at Kosei Nenkin Hall in Tokyo, a popular venue for concerts in that city that closed in 2010.
A big thanks to Elliott Marx for sharing his recording of The Monkees' performance at the Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles, California!
The soundtrack from The Monkees' 1969 NBC TV special has never been officially released (many of the master tapes are missing), but a bootleg of it (courtesy of Zilch Records) surfaced in the mid-1980s. I ordered a copy from Golden Treasures in Arkansas (does anyone remember this company?!) in the late '80s, and here's a scan of the front and back covers. I'll have to search online to see if Golden Treasures still operates - I received mail order catalogs from them probably until the late 1990s.
This is my first recollection of a Monkees bootleg (along with Davy and His Band): the Monkeeshines album. As a new fan in 1986 who saw the picture of it in Glenn A. Baker's Monkeemania book, I wanted that album more than anything! I wasn't sure what this LP was all about - not knowing too much about bootlegs. It included unreleased songs ("Tear the Top Right Off My Head," "Mustang," "Lady's Baby"), tracks heard in the TV show but not available on the official albums ("All the King's Horses," the fast version of "I Wanna Be Free"), the first recorded version of "You Just May Be the One," the 1976 Christmas single, vocal bits and dialogue from the TV show ("Different Drum," "Iranian Tango," "Greensleeves"), and more. For a bootleg, the sound quality was pretty good. In the mid-'80s, there was a record store close to me that carried a ton of Monkees albums, including imports and bootlegs, but I never saw Monkeeshines in their racks.
I didn't get to hear it until the president of a Monkees fan club that I belonged to copied it onto a cassette tape for me sometime in 1987. (I still have that tape!) Although no date is stamped on the album cover, it is believed that Monkeeshines was pressed sometime around 1981. Remember, this was before the Missing Links series began in 1987, which featured previously unreleased Monkees material, so getting some of the songs on Monkeeshines was a must for fans at that time.
The front and rear covers of the boot appear in this post, along with the labels. So, take a moment to look back at one of the original Monkees bootlegs, produced by "Robert Dobolina" with liner notes by "Magnolia Simms."
As always, a big thanks to Ben Belmares, who has become the Live Almanac's key resource for high quality, rare album cover art!
The Monkeeshines bootleg was also issued with an orange-tinted cover:
Purchase the August 2015 issue of Record Collector
Believing In Daydreams (The Solo Monkees Collection) is a 5-CD release produced by longtime Monkees fan Chris Coyle. Strictly limited to 50 copies, the set was circulated among a small group of fans, myself included, in 2002. With artwork designed by Matt Moring, Believing in Daydreams was an attempt to highlight pre- and post-Monkees solo recordings, including alternate takes and B-sides, all taken from the best quality sources available at that time. Some of the 50 copies were sold on eBay and through a dealer at New England record shows.
More recently, Chris designed a Monkees-themed app for Windows Phone users. The app also uses the Live Almanac's blog as its news feed. You can check out the app in the Windows Phone store.
A little note on Chris: I connected with him online in 2000 or so. In 2001 I began a small project, writing brief summaries for each Monkees tour and embellishing the information with set lists and reviews. Brad Waddell at Monkees.net was kind enough to publish my work on his website that year, and Chris was a big help in collecting variations of set lists from different tours, reviewing the summaries I had written, etc. It took a decade for this website to be created, but the genesis of it all started during that time with assistance from Chris.
Courtesy of the Tulsa Poster Project, here's a poster advertising The Monkees at the Century II Convention Hall in Wichita, Kansas on May 10, 1969.
For years, rumors have floated that a concert from the 1969 Monkees tour was recorded. However, no tapes have ever turned up. One concert, thought to be the May 10, 1969 performance in Wichita, Kansas as advertised in the poster above, does exist as bootleg, but it’s an absolutely horrible recording usually sought after for historical purposes only. You can hear audio snippets from the bootleg at the Live Almanac's YouTube channel.
Both Micky and Monkees archivist Andrew Sandoval have seemingly confirmed that audio recordings of the 1969 tour don't exist. In an online interview with Micky in 2005, he said there's no official documentation of the shows. "We never recorded that," Dolenz recalled. "I recorded Sam & The Goodtimers [the supporting band on the 1969 tour] as an act, and was trying to sell them to a record company. But we never recorded - I wish we had, it was funny, it was really great having that band, they were a great band." Sandoval agreed with Micky about the nonexistence of 1969 live audio. "Certainly there’s no tape of a 1969 show in the Monkees vault. What Micky says…that he taped them (The Goodtimers) at that Souled Out Club in Los Angeles…makes a lot of sense," the Monkees historian said in a 2005 interview. "I tried to do research about that club. I found out where it was but there were never any advertisements or listings of who played there in that time period, so it was hard to say when the Goodtimers played there or when The Monkees might have come to see them. It seems more and more that if there had been a recording it would have shown up by now. It’s been a long time, you know?”
This rare clip below (courtesy of the Live Almanac's YouTube channel) features The Monkees on radio station KLEO promoting their concert at the Century II in Wichita.
A big thanks to Bill Shinn for sharing an audience recording from the 1989 summer tour over at Iain Lee's Monkee Bootlegs Facebook page. Check out the '89 North American/Japanese tour page here on the site to listen to a radio advertisement for this show (which can be found at the bottom of that page).
Maybe Bill or someone can leave a comment letting us know if this was the first or second show at Humphrey's that day.
This is an audience recording of The Monkees performing "You Just May Be the One" live on their 1987 summer tour. Peter handles lead vocals and plays guitar, Davy provides the harmony vocal and plays tambourine, and Micky is on the drums. Be sure to visit the Live Almanac's YouTube channel for more!
Peter Tork made a guest appearance with Micky Dolenz, Davy Jones, Tommy Boyce, and Bobby Hart onstage at California's Disneyland on July 4, 1976. Here's an audience recording of Peter's appearance:
Thanks a lot to Steve Lane for sharing this with the Live Almanac!