In an August 2016 interview with Rolling Stone, Micky Dolenz spoke about The Monkees' first single and #1 hit, "Last Train to Clarksville":
"It's about a guy going off to war. Frankly, it's an anti-war song. It's about a guy going to Clarksville, Tennessee, which is an army base if I'm not mistaken. He's obviously been drafted and he says to his girlfriend, 'I don't know if I'm ever coming home.' Considering that it was a Monkees song and the first one, I was always surprised that the record company even released it unless it just went right over their head.
"I don't recall recording it because there was just so much going on at that time. I was recording two or three songs a night after filming the TV show all day. [Co-writer] Bobby Hart tells me I went in to sing one night. He says that I'd learned the song and routined it. We'd done the keys and all that stuff. There was a bridge part of that song. You know the bit where I go 'di da di di da di da?' Well, there were words to that. I said, 'Bobby, I just can't sing that.' I just couldn't learn it in time. He said okay. 'Well, we need to get it done so just go, 'di da di di da di da.'
"I have a very fond memory of hearing it on the radio for the first time on KHJ, a big station out here at the time. Davy [Jones] and I were renting a house up in the Hollywood Hills. We were pulling up to this big, beautiful rented house in Beverly Hills when they went, 'Here they are, the Monkees' 'Last Train to Clarksville.' We pulled over and just had the biggest grins on our faces."
This afternoon, Micky Dolenz appeared at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to sing the "Star Spangled Banner" before the start of the Phillies-Nationals game. Thanks to Jodi Ritzen for live streaming Micky's performance on Facebook:
Read the full article by Steve Marinucci on Billboard.com at the link posted below:
Micky Dolenz Talks The Monkees' Canceled Concerts Due to Mike Nesmith Illness: 'We're All Praying for Him'
The Monkees' Micky Dolenz says he doesn't know the full details of the health problems that caused his fellow Monkee Mike Nesmith to call off their tour close to its end, but he says Nesmith felt very badly about having to end the trek, which got raves from fans.
“Frankly, I don't know,” he says in a phone interview with Billboard when asked about further details. “But I talked to him the day he left. He sounded a little bit under the weather, a little weak. He was obviously apologizing profusely. And I said, 'Hey, buddy. Don't worry about it. We'll adjust.'”
One thing that could likely come out of the already completed dates of The Mike & Micky Show tour is a live album. “We recorded a bunch of shows. I think every show. And these days, you know, that's pretty easy to do on your frigging laptop. So I do know that it's in hand. I was thrilled with the reviews and the reaction that we got. And the music sounded wonderful. And Nez was actually in very good voice. I was too, frankly, if I do say so myself. So hopefully it's going to sound pretty cool.”
The last four dates of “The Monkees Present: The Mike & Micky Show” tour have been officially postponed.
This afternoon at the Keswick Theatre in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, site of what was to be this evening's sold-out performance by Michael Nesmith and Micky Dolenz, tour manager Andrew Sandoval addressed approximately 40 pre-show VIP attendees a little after 5pm and announced Michael was ill and that he was returning to Monterey, California to see his personal physician. The remaining shows in Philadelphia, New York, New York, Huntington, New York, and Red Bank, New Jersey, according to Andrew, will be rescheduled for January 2019.
I am leaving Philadelphia at the moment. More information later. The Monkees Live Almanac would like to extend well wishes to Nez for a speedy recovery!
UPDATE 6/21/2018 @ 7PM: Andrew Sandoval shared the following message on Facebook about the postponement of the remaining shows on the tour:
I was in the lobby at the Keswick Theatre this afternoon when Andrew addressed the fans gathered for the VIP soundcheck experience. Andrew handled what was obviously a very challenging situation with grace and poise. And the fans, while disappointed, were grateful to Andrew for coming to speak with everyone and vocally expressed their concern for Nez. A special thanks goes to the accommodating staff at the Keswick Theatre.
UPDATE #2 @ 8:30PM: Thank you to John Hughes of Rhino Records for submitting the following statement to The Monkees Live Almanac:
"Michael Nesmith had a minor health issue today in advance of his tour date in Philadelphia tonight. He visited a local medical facility and, although the issue was not serious, was advised to rest for the next week, so unfortunately the remaining four dates on The Monkees Present: The Mike & Micky Show tour have been postponed until a later date. Nesmith has been dismissed from the hospital and is traveling back to his home in Carmel Valley. He is in good spirits and thanks all the fans for their support and understanding. He looks forward to getting back on the stage again soon."
UPDATE #3 @ 9PM: Andrew Sandoval posted on Facebook for the second time this evening to dispute an article published by TMZ about Michael's condition:
TMZ later updated its original piece to clarify errors in their reporting.
UPDATE #4 @ 9:15PM: Various statements about the postponement of the final four shows have been shared on social media from Videoranch, the official Monkees Facebook page, and Peter Tork:
UPDATE #5 @ 9:40PM: Kyler Schwartz posted a photo on Facebook from inside the Keswick Theatre in Philadelphia after tonight's cancelation. VIP attendees were ultimately permitted to enter the theatre to use the restroom if needed. Band members John Billings and Rich Dart were mingling with fans inside. By the time I went to take a picture of the stage, the backdrop had already been removed and the stage was beginning to be cleared by the crew.
UPDATE #6 @ 10PM: The mainstream press are reporting about Michael's health issue and the postponement of the remaining dates on the tour:
UPDATE #7 on 6/25/2018:
UPDATE #8 on 6/26/2018: Micky Dolenz, in an interview with Billboard, speaks about Michael Nesmith, the postponement of the final four "Mike & Micky Show" dates, the potential for a live album from the tour, and more:
Micky Dolenz Talks The Monkees' Canceled Concerts Due to Mike Nesmith Illness: 'We're All Praying for Him'
UPDATE #9 on 6/29/2018: Michael's daughter, Jessica, posted the following message on her Facebook page:
UPDATE #10 on 7/3/2018:
UPDATE #11 on 7/12/2018: Michael's oldest son, Christian, posted the latest information about Nez on Facebook while also confirming that the previously announced First National Band fall tour will still take place:
"The Mike & Micky Show" visited the Sony Center for the Performing Arts in Toronto on June 18:
Micky, Nez, and the band performed at Centre in the Square in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada on June 19:
Thanks a lot to Sherri Hansen for the footage below, and look for more of Sherri's videos here on the blog shortly!
Thanks a lot to Daniel Coston for sharing his great photos from the June 15 "Mike & Micky Show" concert in Huber Heights, Ohio.
Tonight "The Mike & Micky Show" made its second stop in Canada with a performance at Centre in the Square in Kitchener, Ontario. This show, along with last night's in Toronto, Ontario, constitute Michael Nesmith's first appearances in Canada as a member of The Monkees since August 25, 1969, when Micky, Davy, and Nez played two shows at the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto (videos below).
Also noteworthy in Kitchener tonight was the addition of "D.W. Washburn" to the set. This 1968 Monkees single peaked at #2 in Canada (while it stalled at #19 in the United States). "Sometime in the Morning" and "Propinquity," both of which have been soundchecked as of late, also made their debut in the set in Kitchener. "St. Matthew," "You Told Me," "You Just May Be the One," "Birth of an Accidental Hipster," and "The Door Into Summer" all took the night off. And for those keeping track, the regular set was played last night in Toronto sans "Steam Engine" and "Grand Ennui."
Here is a copy of Michael's Kitchener set list, courtesy of Andrew Sandoval:
And check out this silent footage of The Monkees performing on August 25, 1969 in Toronto at the Canadian National Exhibition:
Sound of the Sunset – “The Monkees Present The Mike & Micky Show” at Rose Music Center, Huber Heights, OH 06-15-2018
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!