Peter Tork and Shoe Suede Blues performed live in concert last evening in Westbury, New York at NYCB Theatre. The group opened an evening of entertainment dubbed "Hot Autumn Nights" on a bill that included Peter Noone, The Grass Roots, and The Buckinghams. This marked Peter's first concert appearance since the conclusion of The Monkees' 50th Anniversary Tour last December, and his first public event since early May, where he took part in Wizard World Comic Con in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Peter and the band performed the following songs:
A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You
Bring It With You
Cross Cut Saw
I’m a Believer (with Peter Noone)
Pleasant Valley Sunday
Jennifer Winkle was in attendance and shared her photos on Facebook, along with audio of Peter's set:
Peter Noone made a surprise appearance and performed "I'm a Believer" with Peter:
And here's more footage from Westbury courtesy of YouTube:
Meanwhile, on the other side of the country, Micky Dolenz welcomed Michael Nesmith and friends back to the stage during his concert at The Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills, California. Previously on Friday night, Nez had joined Micky at The Canyon in Agoura Hills, California for their first concert appearance together since September 2016.
Jodi Ritzen shared video from the show on Facebook, which includes the duo's performance of "Me & Magdalena" and the encore selections of "Listen to the Band" and "I'm a Believer."
Kiefo Nilsson, son of Harry, once again joined Micky for "Good Times" just as he had during Friday night's debut of the song at the Agoura Hills show.
Mary Cherry posted this video of "I'm a Believer" and final bows:
Last night at the The Canyon in Agoura Hills, California, Micky Dolenz took the stage with his sister Coco and special guests Michael Nesmith, Christian Nesmith, Circe Link, and Kiefo Nilsson. Micky and Nez performed "Me & Magdalena," a highlight from The Monkees' 2016 album, Good Times!, and later sang both "Listen to the Band" and "I'm a Believer" during the encore.
Jeffrey Sherman posted video of Micky, Michael, Christian, and the band performing "Me & Magdalena":
Joining everyone onstage was Micky's longtime touring group, who have also backed The Monkees in concert since 2012: Wayne Avers (guitar/musical director), Rich Dart (drums), John Billings (bass), Dave Alexander (keyboards), and Coco Dolenz (backing vocals).
Davy Jones' daughters Talia Jones Roston, Sarah Jones, and Annabel Jones, along with Davy's first wife Linda Haines Jones, were also in attendance.
April Hayes shared her photos from the concert on Facebook:
And Rolling Stone contributing editor David Wild posted this photo on Twitter of Michael and Micky singing "I'm a Believer":
Family members of Micky's longtime friend Harry Nilsson were also present, and Harry's son, Kiefo, accompanied Micky for the debut live performance of "Good Times." The song, originally demoed by Harry Nilsson for The Monkees in the late '60s, was revived last year after Micky added his vocal to the track, allowing for a modern day duet that ultimately inspired the name of The Monkees' 2016 album. You can watch Kiefo join Micky in the video below, courtesy of Dyana Levinson:
Kiefo Nilsson commented about his guest appearance with Micky on Facebook and posted a picture of the two onstage:
"Had the great privilege of getting to sing my dad’s part to 'Good Times' alongside Micky Dolenz tonight at the Canyon in Agoura Hills. Will be doing it again tomorrow at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills — come hang if you can!"
Thanks to Andrew Sandoval for sharing a photo of the set list with The Monkees Live Almanac:
Videoranch3D on Facebook posted photos and a few short videos of Michael with fans during the post-show meet and greet session. A portion of the proceeds collected from the meet and greet is being donated to the Davy Jones Equine Memorial Fund.
Stay tuned for more updates, and remember that Micky, Michael, and company will be doing it all again at this evening's show in Beverly Hills, California at the Saban Theatre!
This past weekend, Micky Dolenz (and the Monkeemobile) appeared at Northeast Comic Con & Collectibles Extravaganza in Hanover, Massachusetts. Thanks to Scott Catton for submitting photographs from the event!
Last evening, Michael Nesmith appeared in Santa Monica, California at an event sponsored by Live Talks Los Angeles to promote his new book, Infinite Tuesday: An Autobiographical Riff. The session was hosted by D.A. Wallach, and Michael also signed books for attendees. A big thanks to Jeff Gehringer who submitted this report to the Live Almanac:
"What a wonderful evening at the Moss Center. Great to hear intelligent conversation with no mention of Liquid Paper! The extended Monkees family were on hand: Andrew Sandoval, Gary Strobl, Henry Diltz, Christian Nesmith, Circe Link, Rodney Bingenheimer, and John Hughes. I got a laugh from John when I asked him to sign the new Nez CD (he produced the set). Once the evening began, the session was funny and interesting. We loved his candid responses. The stories about getting high in Ojai [while writing the script for Head], asking Hendrix how to play 'Purple Haze,' and John Lennon soliciting Mike's thoughts about an unfinished recording of 'Sgt. Pepper,' were hilarious. The audience of 700 loved it. The book signing went quickly, too. Thanks Mike, for sharing your evening with us. I can't wait to see your next step."
Here's another photo taken while Michael was discussing The Monkees and Jimi Hendrix:
Live Talks Los Angeles has posted a gallery of photos from the event on their Facebook page (click the image below to visit):
Wayne Avers is no stranger to Monkees fans. He has been a part of The Monkees' family since the group's 30th Anniversary in 1996, acting as musical director and handling lead guitar duties. Wayne has performed onstage with all four Monkees at Wembley in 1997, appeared twice on The Tonight Show with the group, and took part in The Monkees' massive 50th Anniversary celebrations in 2016. He recently spoke with The Monkees Live Almanac about his guitar collection, career highlights, and more.
Wayne first entered the orbit of The Monkees in the early 1990s when he joined Breakaway, the group that supported Davy Jones in his solo performances during that period. "In 1991 I was asked by Jerry Renino (Davy's bandleader) to fill in for a weekend for their guitar player, Rory Gordon," Wayne told the Live Almanac. "David asked me to join the band right after the first show. So we had both Rory and me for a few years, and then Rory went on to other things and I stayed." Wayne continued to be a part of Davy's touring band in the '90s and backed both Davy and Micky Dolenz on their joint 1994/1995 Together Again tour. Ever since then, he's been a constant presence in The Monkees' live concert performances. Today Wayne continues to serve as musical director and lead guitarist for Micky's band.
Residing in Nashville, Wayne is an ardent collector of guitars. "I play the guitar because I saw The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964," Wayne shared. A standout guitar in his collection happens to be a Monkees Gretsch model. The Monkees have a long history with Gretsch. The company provided guitars, basses, and drums for The Monkees in the 1960s, and a Monkees model Gretsch guitar was available on the market from 1966 until 1968. Today, the Gretsch Monkees Signature Guitar is a highly sought after collectible that has been known to sell for thousands of dollars through online retailers like eBay. "I own one and play it on tour, and have done a lot of research on these guitars - I'm a guitar collector geek!," Wayne enthused.
"This is a photo of me in Toronto on the 2016 Monkees tour. It's a 1967 Gretsch Monkees model, also known as the 6123 model. They originally all came in red, but this one was refinished in black 30-40 years ago before I got it on eBay in 2014. I played it nightly on the 2016 tour."
Here's another photo of Wayne playing his refinished Monkees Gretsch guitar:
"The next picture is me with Micky's personal Monkees Gretsch model, also a 1967. Micky owns 2 Monkees models. He was given one by a fan in 2014 and that's the one I played on the 2014 tour. He has another one that he got from a collector a few years ago. None of the other Monkees own any [Gretsch Monkees guitars], but Davy's family still owns the small bass guitar that Gretsch made for him."
Wayne mentioned other famous musicians who count a Monkees Gretsch guitar as part of their own collections.
"Rick Nielsen from Cheap Trick owns a Gretsch Monkees model, and so does Bono from U2. When I lived in New York City in 2001, Bono bought it from 30th Street Guitars. My friend Matt Brewster owns the store and they shipped it to him in Ireland. In 2002 when The Monkees played in Dublin, Bono's guitar tech brought it for Davy and Micky to autograph. He's a big fan."
You can see Rick Nielsen's Monkees Gretsch in the video below:
Wayne also revealed to the Live Almanac another Monkees-related guitar that's in his collection, one that he carefully customized himself. "After the Monkees Gretsch guitars were discontinued, they used the Monkees guitar bodies and electronics, changed the finish, and renamed it the Streamliner. I own a 1969 Gretsch Streamliner guitar in cherry red. And I had a Monkees pickguard and truss rod cover made for it, and added a bigsby."
I took a moment to ask Wayne about his personal highlights of working with The Monkees for the last 20+ years. "Too many to remember!," he exclaimed. "But playing on The Tonight Show twice [in 1996 and 2001] was a real highlight, and I've had the opportunity to tour the world: the United States, Canada, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, and twice visiting Japan with Davy Jones. And getting to play at the Cavern Club in England with Micky last summer at the International Beatle Fest was also a highlight!," Wayne said. "And all the friends I have made through this experience. I'm great friends with mostly everyone that has been in the band and crew over the years, as well as many of the fans. It's a dream job."
As for what's next, Wayne will once again be on the road while also releasing new music with the Wayne Avers Group. "I'll be doing the "50 Summers of Love" tour this year with Micky Dolenz and Mark Lindsay, and the Fab Four as our band. My own band in Nashville will soon release our new CD as well." Wayne will also be playing with Micky and fellow Monkees touring musicians Rich Dart, John Billings, Dave Alexander, and Coco Dolenz in Micky's solo shows throughout 2017.
Fans will also get to hear the Wayne Avers Group performing "For Pete's Sake" on an upcoming Monkees tribute album from 7a Records, with all proceeds benefiting the Davy Jones Equine Memorial Foundation. "I was taking my band into the studio to record a new CD, and at the same time 7a Records asked if I'd like to contribute a song. Since I am a sponsor of one of Davy's horses, I was happy to participate." Wayne also spoke about his admiration for Peter Tork's most famous work. "I always thought 'For Pete's Sake' was a great song. I love the guitar part, and have been playing it for over 20 years with The Monkees. So, I rearranged it as an instrumental Latin Jazz song. The original version is perfect, so rather than copy it, I did my own version, and we think it came out great."
I'd like to say thank you to Wayne for taking the time to speak with The Monkees Live Almanac. And be sure to stay tuned for more information about the upcoming album by the Wayne Avers Group!
UPDATE: The new album from The Wayne Avers Group is now available on CD.
Last evening, Micky Dolenz performed with the American Metropole Orchestra at Rice Auditorium in Salem, Oregon, as part of the Smith Fine Arts Series. The orchestra was led by conductor Keller Coker, who can be seen below in rehearsals with Micky, and he was assisted by Wayne Avers (Monkees/Dolenz musical director and guitarist), who also took part in the performance.
Here are some more photos courtesy of Jennifer Winkle, who documented the final show of The Monkees' 2012 tour that featured the return of Michael Nesmith. Thanks a lot, Jennifer!
Thanks to Jennifer Winkle for these pictures from the final show on The Monkees' 2012 tour at New York City's Beacon Theatre on December 2, 2012.