A big thanks to Live Almanac reader Dave Marcone for sending in this picture of an advertisement for a September 23, 2018 concert by Michael Nesmith & The First National Band at the Ridgefield Playhouse in Ridgefield, Connecticut. This is the first confirmation that Nez will indeed be expanding his January mini-tour that showcased the First National Band era of his career with a string of shows in California.
No dates have been officially announced and this show is not yet advertised on the Ridgefield Playhouse website, but it certainly looks like we can expect more FNB concerts in the fall! Stay tuned to the Live Almanac for future updates.
It's official! Michael Nesmith and Micky Dolenz will commence a 16-city concert tour on June 1 in Chandler, Arizona. Produced by Monkees archivist and author Andrew Sandoval, here is the complete list of dates (which arrived first via Rolling Stone) for "The Monkees Present: The Mike Nesmith & Micky Dolenz Show."
June 1: Chandler Center For The Arts / Chandler, Arizona
June 2: The Orpheum / Los Angeles, California
June 3: Humphreys Concerts by the Bay / San Diego, California
June 5: The Grove / Anaheim, California
June 6: The Mountain Winery / Saratoga, California
June 8: Bob Hope Theatre / Stockton, California
June 9: Harrah's Lake Tahoe / Stateline, Nevada
June 12: The Paramount / Denver, Colorado
June 14: Copernicus Center / Chicago, Illinois
June 15: Rose Music Center / Huber Heights, Ohio
June 16: Cain Park / Cleveland, Ohio
June 18: Sony Center for the Performing Arts / Toronto, Ontario, Canada
June 19: Centre in the Square / Kitchener, Ontario, Canada
June 21: Keswick Theatre / Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
June 22: Beacon Theatre / New York, New York
June 23: The Paramount / Huntington, New York
June 25: Count Basie Theatre / Red Bank, New Jersey
Tickets and VIP packages will go on sale February 23 at Monkees.com. VIP Packages include access to soundcheck, a signed, hardbound copy of the tour book, early entry to the show, and a commemorative VIP laminate. (UPDATE 2/26/2018: A concert in Huntington, New York has been added to the tour schedule. The link to purchase tickets now appears above.)
"These 16 special performances will feature songs that span the group's entire career – from its 1966 eponymous debut to 2016’s Good Times," reads the press release, which appears in full below. "The shows will highlight many of Nesmith's compositions, including some that have never been performed live."
Both Michael and Micky also issued statements about the upcoming performances. "I love being onstage with Micky," Nesmith says. "We've been collaborating for over 50 years, so it's hard to believe it’s never been just the two of us. I'm excited to dust off some tunes that I haven’t played for a long time too." Dolenz agreed, adding: "Right from the get-go, I admired Mike's songs," he said. "When we used to get together around the campfire to sing in the early days, we were always doing his songs. We always had such a great a vocal blend; he was the one who encouraged me to write songs of my own. I've always been a big fan and now we finally get to do the Mike & Micky show that we riffed on back when we were shooting The Monkees."
The press release also discusses Peter Tork's absence from the tour. "Original Monkee Peter Tork will not take part in the tour," it reads. "Instead, he’s focusing on Relax Your Mind, a new album by Peter Tork and Shoe Suede Blues that honors the music of Lead Belly. The album is available now via CD Baby and Bandcamp. “I have in general made no secret of the fact that all these recent years of Monkees-related projects, as fun as they’ve been, have taken up a lot of my time and energy. Moving forward, I have blues projects that I want to give my attention to, hence Relax Your Mind. So, I’m shifting gears for now, but I wish the boys well, and I’ve learned to never say never on things further down the line.”
THE PRESS RELEASE
LOS ANGELES – Michael Nesmith and Micky Dolenz of The Monkees will hit the road in June for their first-ever national tour as a duo. Billed as “The Monkees Present: The Mike & Micky Show,” these 16 special performances will feature songs that span the group’s entire career – from its 1966 eponymous debut to 2016’s Good Times. The shows will highlight many of Nesmith’s compositions, including some that have never been performed live. The tour also includes two shows in Canada, which represent Nesmith’s first “Monkees” concerts since the band played there in 1969.
Tickets and VIP packages will go on sale February 23 at Monkees.com. VIP Packages include access to soundcheck, a signed, hardbound copy of the tour book, early entry to the show and a commemorative VIP laminate.
"I love being on stage with Micky,” says Nesmith. “We’ve been collaborating for over 50 years, so it’s hard to believe it’s never been just the two of us. I’m excited to dust off some tunes that I haven’t played for a long time too. These are going to be some fun shows.”
"Right from the get-go, I admired Mike's songs. When we used to get together around the campfire to sing in the early days, we were always doing his songs,” says Dolenz. “We always had such a great a vocal blend; he was the one who encouraged me to write songs of my own. I've always been a big fan and now we finally get to do the Mike & Micky show that we riffed on back when we were shooting The Monkees."
Original Monkee Peter Tork will not take part in the tour. Instead, he’s focusing on Relax Your Mind, a new album by Peter Tork and Shoe Suede Blues that honors the music of Lead Belly. The album is available now via CD Baby and Bandcamp.
“I have in general made no secret of the fact that all these recent years of Monkees-related projects, as fun as they’ve been, have taken up a lot of my time and energy. Moving forward, I have blues projects that I want to give my attention to, hence Relax Your Mind. So, I’m shifting gears for now, but I wish the boys well, and I’ve learned to never say never on things further down the line.”
“The Monkees Present: The Mike & Micky Show” is the latest chapter in Monkee-mania, a saga that began in 1965 when four young men were cast in a television show about a struggling rock band that was inspired by the Beatles’ A Hard Day’s Night. Few could have predicted the impact the Monkees would have on music and pop culture at large, one that still reverberates more than 50 years later.
Formed in Los Angeles for the eponymous television series, the quartet of Dolenz, Nesmith, Tork and the late Davy Jones brought a singular mix of pop, rock, psychedelia, Broadway and country to their music. The Monkees’ first single, “Last Train to Clarksville,” was released in 1966 and quickly headed for the top spot of the Billboard charts, where it would ultimately sit for 13 of the 78 weeks it remained in the Top 200. (Two decades later, in the midst of a new burst of Monkee-mania, The Monkees popped back onto the charts, bringing the total number of weeks to 102.)
By the time the series aired its final new episode on March 25, 1968, the Monkees had seen three further albums top the charts --More of the Monkees, Headquarters, and Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones, Ltd. All were released in 1967, staggeringly enough, racking up several more hit singles, with “I’m A Believer,” “(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone,” “A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You,” “The Girl I Knew Somewhere,” “Pleasant Valley Sunday,” “Words,” “Daydream Believer,” “Valleri,” and “Tapioca Tundra” all finding their way into the Billboard Top 40. The final tally: 16 million albums and 7.5 million singles sold in a mere 2 1/2 years.
After the series’ two-season run, the group went on to star in the cult feature film Head (co-written by Jack Nicholson) and a TV special (33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee) while also continuing to record new material. But as the ’60s gave way to the ’70s, the members of the Monkees eventually gave in to their individual musical interests and went their separate ways . . . for awhile.
In February 1986, after MTV broadcast a marathon of The Monkees, Dolenz, Jones, and Tork reunited for a 20th anniversary tour, with Nesmith joining them onstage for the Los Angeles date of the tour. In 1996, all four members of the group reunited for a new album (Justus) and TV special (Hey, Hey, It’s the Monkees).
In the wake of Jones’s death on February 29, 2012, the surviving members of the Monkees reunited and performed a series of concerts. The shows were received so triumphantly that Dolenz, Nesmith and Tork returned the following summer for a tour dubbed, “A Midsummer’s Night With the Monkees.”
To celebrate the Monkees’ 50th anniversary in 2016, the surviving members of the band recorded the critically acclaimed album Good Times. Much like the Monkees’ early albums, it featured tracks written for the band by a group of gifted songwriters, including Ben Gibbard (Death Cab for Cutie), Rivers Cuomo (Weezer), Andy Partridge (XTC) and more. To support the album, Dolenz and Tork launched a successful tour that featured Nesmith on four shows.
For the dates listed below, VIP meet and greet tickets might be available at select venues.
Please note that these are the first announced solo concerts for Micky in 2018. He is also performing with Michael Nesmith this June in The Monkees Present: The Mike Nesmith & Micky Dolenz Show. Keep checking back for updates!
March 10: Sharon L. Morse Performing Arts Center / The Villages, Florida (5pm show)
March 10: Sharon L. Morse Performing Arts Center / The Villages, Florida (8pm show)
March 16: Wolf Den @ Mohegan Sun / Uncasville, Connecticut
August 3: Benton County Fair / Corvallis, Oregon
Michael Nesmith's First National Band is returning in early 2018 with a new lineup, performing a limited run of shows in California. And now, Meet & Greet opportunities have been announced through Videoranch. Check out the different options below.
Michael Nesmith previously announced that a revamped First National Band would return to the concert stage this January, and now three more shows have been added to the itinerary. Click each poster below for more information and to purchase tickets.
Hot on the heels of yesterday's announcement of the More Of The Monkees super deluxe edition by Rhino Records, Michael Nesmith has unveiled his first concert engagements for 2018 with a brand new lineup of The First National Band.
The First National Band was Nesmith's initial post-Monkees outfit that consisted of Red Rhodes, John London, and John Ware. The group released three acclaimed albums between 1970 and 1971, but their live performance history was fairly limited. Sadly, both Rhodes and London have passed away. The 2018 edition of the First National Band will consist of Christian Nesmith (guitar), Jonathan Nesmith (piano/guitar/vocals), Circe Link (vocals), Christopher Allis (drums), Jason Chesney (bass), Amy Spear (vocals), and Pete Finney (pedal steel).
In January, for two dates in California, Nesmith will bring the music of The First National Band back to the live arena with a series of shows focused on his early 1970s RCA recordings, including a concert on January 25th at the Troubadour in Los Angeles, where he debuted the First National Band in March 1970. A press release on Monkees.com reported the following: "Songs like 'Different Drum' (a Top 20 hit for Linda Ronstadt & The Stone Poneys), 'Listen to the Band' (re-recorded by the FNB in 1970), 'Some of Shelly’s Blues' (covered by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band), and 'Silver Moon' will join lesser-known but equally transcendent album sides in a rebirth of what was labeled by critics as 'the greatest music that you never heard.'" It is expected that dates will be added nationwide.
Monkees archivist Andrew Sandoval confirmed on Twitter that he will be involved in these concerts, and that he hopes live recordings will become a reality. "For me personally, this is the music of Michael's that I always come back to - revelatory, heartfelt and transcendent," Sandoval wrote on Facebook. "The albums - Magnetic South, Loose Salute, Nevada Fighter, Hits Keeps Coming, Ranch Stash & Tantamount - are brimming with brilliance. Those of you who have followed his story know that 'Papa Nes' became Nez, and went in new directions after this phase of his solo career. For these shows he will at long last call back to these records with full-blown country-rock backing and I am so excited to hear the results." Sandoval also noted on Facebook that John Ware is contemplating a cameo appearance.
Tickets for the California shows will go on sale on Friday:
January 23, 2018: The Coach House / San Juan Capistrano, California
January 25, 2018: The Troubadour / West Hollywood, California
Here is the full press release about the new activities surrounding the First National Band, courtesy of Monkees.com:
Almost fifty years ago, in May 1968, Michael Nesmith ventured to Nashville to record a series of groundbreaking sessions with local musicians. What they produced is now recognized as the foundation of the country-rock and alt-country movements.
"I could just feel this happening, that there was this 'thing,'" recalled Nez. "So, I headed off to Nashville to see if I couldn't get some of the Nashville country thing into the rock'n'roll or vice versa."
Nez's intuition was correct; he was on the leading edge of a new genre. His exploratory work caught the attention of legendary RCA A&R man Felton Jarvis who had produced the Nashville sessions with Nez. In February 1970, Jarvis signed Nez and his new band, the First National Band (pedal steel virtuoso Red Rhodes, bassist John London, and drummer John Ware), to a deal with the venerable imprint and produced their first record, Magnetic South.
Despite the eight innovative country-rock LP's Nesmith created between 1970 and 1978, he is one of the less heralded architects of the genre. The First National Band's three classic albums -- Magnetic South, Loose Salute, and Nevada Fighter -- spawned four charting singles, including "Joanne" which reached #21 on the Billboard Top 100. However, live success for the fledgling band was harder to come by and the musicians Nez collected to bring his country-rock dream to market soon scattered. Nez played out his remaining RCA albums with Red Rhodes and toured with him throughout the '70s. Yet the full-blown sounds of the First National Band were never to be heard on the concert stage again.
In January 2018, Michael Nesmith will bring this music back to the live arena with a series of shows focused on his RCA recordings, including a show on January 25th at the Troubadour in Los Angeles, where he debuted the First National Band in March 1970. Songs like "Different Drum" (a Top 20 hit for Linda Ronstadt & The Stone Poneys), "Listen to the Band", "Some of Shelly's Blues" (covered by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band), and "Silver Moon" will join lesser-known but equally transcendent album sides in a rebirth of what was labeled by critics as "the greatest music that you never heard."
UPDATE 11/8/2017: Michael's Videoranch3D website has taken a moment to look back at the First National Band:
The Original Band
"[John] Ware wisely pointed out that if he and John [London] were my band, we could not only record but could tour in support of the records we made, something the Nashville first-call session guys seldom did for a new band. We would be a real band rather than a pure studio effort. ... [John] wondered who I might like to approach, and my first choice was Red Rhodes. I had no hope of him accepting, but he was my first choice. A pedal steel guitar player -- especially a magical-reality player like Red -- was critical-path for the music in my head."
-Michael Nesmith, Infinite Tuesday: An Autobiographical Riff
Pedal Steel Guitar
Nez first came across Red at The Palomino Club, a popular country western spot in North Hollywood, where Red was in the house band. Red played with Nez throughout the 1970s. It is impossible to imagine Nez's music without Red's playing. Red's final performances before his death were with Nez on his ...tropical campfires... album and tour in 1992.
John began working with Nez as a duo before they left San Antonio for Hollywood in the mid-60s. After joining The Survivors with Nez, he was Nez's stand-in on The Monkees. He met John Ware while working as a bass player for Linda Ronstadt.
Prior to joining the First National Band, John attended Pomona College in Claremont, CA, and met John London while playing in Linda Ronstadt's touring band. Years after the First National Band dissolved, he joined Nez for Live at the Palais, recorded at the Palais Theatre, Melbourne, Australia, in 1977.
UPDATE 11/21/2017: The concert at the Troubadour in Hollywood sold out in less than an hour, and as of November 21, there are no longer tickets available for the performance at the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano.
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