The Monkees Present: The Mike & Micky Show
Copernicus Center, Chicago, IL
Thursday, June 14, 2018
Review and photos by Jeff Elbel
Several generations of Monkees fans arrived at the Copernicus Center on Thursday knowing they’d see only half of the beloved band. What they might not have expected was that The Mike & Micky Show would be twice the concert it had to be to satisfy most ticketholders. Regular touring presence Micky Dolenz and his less-traveled partner Mike Nesmith traded songs and blended their voices for a generous set spanning two hours and 33 songs, including tracks like the Dolenz-led “(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone” and Nesmith’s blissful blast through “The Door Into Summer.”
Dolenz’ presence was certainly sufficient to draw elated cheers, but Nesmith’s participation was the evening’s rare treat. Although the Monkees have maintained household name status for a staggering 52 years, it’s estimated that Nesmith has only participated in a tenth of the group’s public activity since the Monkees’ TV show folded in 1968. “What a gas!” declared a beaming Nesmith after the jangling “Last Train to Clarksville.” The singer and guitarist did not seem like someone who had to have his arm twisted to take his songs on the road.
Since the Monkees’ most popular hits were sung by Dolenz and the late Davy Jones, the songs Nesmith led veered into deep cuts that thrilled diehard fans. Headquarters tracks including “You Told Me” and “Sunny Girlfriend” were warmly received, but Nesmith’s own “Listen to the Band” from 1969’s The Monkees Present brought the house down during the encore. The show was also sprinkled with winning country-rock cuts like “Nine Times Blue” from Nesmith’s work with his First National Band.
Dolenz’ selections dug deeply as well, and included the benefit of Dolenz’ genial storytelling. “About 50 years ago, we had the pleasure of making a movie,” he said, referring to the surreal 1968 film Head. “Did anyone here see it?” After the answering roar, Dolenz quipped, “Can anyone tell me what it’s about?” Dolenz then praised serial Monkees songwriter Carole King before performing the psychedelic and carnivalesque “Porpoise Song.” Dolenz’ lilting, boyish voice returned for “As We Go Along,” another King highlight from the Head soundtrack.
Dolenz and Nesmith were abetted by an excellent nine-piece band that was as adept at the shimmering ‘60s-era psych-pop of “Pleasant Valley Sunday” as they were at the country two-beat rhythm of “Circle Sky.” Guitarists included Nesmith’s son Christian, who stood shoulder to shoulder with his dad for the latter song’s concluding riff. Nesmith claimed that all he’d ever required of Christian to earn paternal pride was to learn the bottleneck guitar, as his son lashed into the snarling slide licks of the First National Band’s “Grand Ennui.”
Dolenz’ sister and longtime touring partner Coco sang and played percussion while her brother scatted through the sprightly jazz-pop of “Goin’ Down.” The group’s nimble bassist propelled the singalong encore of Neil Diamond’s “I’m a Believer.” Glistening harpsichord sounds twinkled through “The Girl I Knew Somewhere.” A cartwheeling violin solo elevated “Take a Giant Step,” and pedal steel sharpened the twang of songs like “What Am I Doin’ Hangin’ ‘Round?”
Dolenz and Nesmith sang in sweet unison during the gentle “Me and Magdalena” from 2016’s Good Times! album, a song written by Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard. The band also performed the album’s “Birth of an Accidental Hipster,” written by the Jam’s Paul Weller and Oasis’ Noel Gallagher. Dolenz performed “Randy Scouse Git” on the acoustic guitar, returning the song from its Monkee-fied timpani version to its original arrangement.
Dolenz sang “Daydream Believer” in tribute to Jones, as Nesmith marveled at the sea of twinkling cell phone lights and the roomful of voices unified in song. The love and goodwill between the stage and audience seemed entirely mutual. While it’s uncertain whether Nesmith and Dolenz will tour again with Peter Tork as the Monkees, The Mike & Micky Show honored the band’s legacy and justified the love of its enduring audience.
Thanks to Sherri Hansen for uploading this great rendition of a Nez classic!
Sound of the Sunset – “The Monkees Present The Mike & Micky Show” at Rose Music Center, Huber Heights, OH 06-15-2018
EXCLUSIVE! 7a Records announces the release of "Michael Nesmith and The First National Band Redux Live at the Troubadour" deluxe CD and 2-LP gatefold vinyl
The Monkees Live Almanac is happy to share the official press releases from 7a Records announcing their latest project: a live recording documenting Michael Nesmith's historic return to the Troubadour in Los Angeles with the First National Band Redux! Thank you very much to 7a co-founders Glenn Gretlund and Iain Lee for passing along all of the details. Don't forget to follow 7a Records on Facebook and Twitter. And you can read more about 7a's past releases in the archives of the Live Almanac.
THE PRESS RELEASE
2-LP GATEFOLD VINYL DETAILS
COMPACT DISC DETAILS
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!
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 Monkees are spotlighted in an exhibit now on display at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame entitled "Stay Tuned: Rock on TV." Monkees archivist, author, and tour producer Andrew Sandoval visited the exhibit today in Cleveland, Ohio, where "The Mike & Micky Show" will stop tonight at Cain Park.
By Andy Argyrakis for Chicago Concert Reviews
They may have been part of the same band and pop culture in general for more than 50 years, but it wasn’t until this summer’s billing of "The Monkees Present: The Mike & Micky Show” that original members Michael Nesmith and Micky Dolenz have ever appeared together as simply a duo. Throughout a little more than two hours filled with over 30 tunes at the gorgeously restored Copernicus Center, the TV stars turned serious musicians gave longtime listeners and viewers a night to fawn over, not only revisiting many major hits, but frequently exploring the most distant corners of the vault.
Backed by a sharp seven-piece band (including Nesmith’s son Christian on guitar) and two background singers, The Monkees men broke out some “Good Clean Fun,” took the “Last Train To Clarksville,” introduced their “Sunny Girlfriend” and officially opened “The Door To Summer.” Beyond those cheerful, harmony-drenched tracks, Dolenz dived back to the more experimental “Head” soundtrack for “Porpoise Song,” “Circle Sky” and “As We Go Along,” plus Nesmith demonstrated his prolific songwriting nature outside the group with “Some Of Shelly’s Blues,” “Nine Times Blue,” “Different Drum” and “Grand Ennui.”
Collectively, the still sturdy performers made sure nostalgia wasn’t all that appeared on the agenda thanks to a couple of cuts from 2016’s thoroughly enjoyable “Good Times!” “Birth Of An Accidental Hipster” came cheekily from the pens of Oasis’ Noel Gallagher and The Jam’s Paul Weller, while “Me & Magdalena” was reverently crafted by Death Cab For Cutie’s Ben Gibbard and enhanced The Monkees’ potential for cross generational appeal.
Post-intermission settled in with a rootsy, stripped down segment that uncovered “Papa Gene’s Blues,” “Randy Scouse Git,” “I’ll Spend My Life With You” and a few of the above mentioned Nesmith nuggets. There were many other welcome surprises too, though the greatest impact came from golden oldies such as “Daydream Believer” and “Pleasant Valley Sunday” that couldn’t help but force even the oldest fans to their feet as they remembered exactly why The Monkees will always matter.
"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.
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."
In June 2017, The Monkees Live Almanac reported about a new listing on Amazon for the long-awaited Monkees book by Gary Strobl, Henry Diltz, and Harvey Kubernik. Entitled The Monkees: From Reel to Real, the online retailer advertised a release date of September 18, 2017. When speaking with Omnibus Press (the publisher of Reel to Real) last summer after the book appeared on Amazon, the Live Almanac was able to attain more information, including that the publication date had actually been delayed to 2018.
Unfortunately, one year later, it can now be reported that The Monkees: From Reel to Real is experiencing another postponement. Today I spoke with Matthew from Omnibus Press, and he was kind enough to take time to update fans about the book. "October 2019 is the current pub date," Matthew relayed to the Live Almanac. "The book is a mighty tome and we are putting in the work to make sure that this is the best book it can be. Rest assured it will be worth the wait when it arrives. We’re obviously very keen for the fans to know that we’re taking the book seriously and are determined to bring everyone a book about the Monkees that will stand as their definitive story."
The Monkees Live Almanac will continue to report more information about this project as it becomes available. And a special thanks to Matthew at Omnibus Press for providing the latest updates on the publication of Reel to Real.
Mike & Micky Show Tour Merch