Last night, Michael Nesmith & The First National Band Redux closed their September tour with a show at the Ridgefield Playhouse in Ridgefield, Connecticut. Micky Dolenz was in attendance, and posted the following message on Twitter:
Here's a great photo of Micky with R.E.M.'s Peter Buck and Scott McCaughey of The Minus 5. Buck and McCaughey co-wrote the title track of The Monkees' forthcoming holiday album, Christmas Party.
On a personal note, I'm a longtime fan of R.E.M. and am thrilled that Peter is working with The Monkees. Scott is also closely aligned with R.E.M. as he was an auxiliary musician in the studio and on stage with the group from 1994 until their their breakup in 2011.
Scott's band The Minus 5 released Of Monkees and Men in 2016, described as "an imaginative tribute to the Monkees’ legacy in music and popular culture."
Thank you very much to John Hughes of Rhino Records for providing The Monkees Live Almanac with an exclusive behind-the-scenes peek in the studio when Peter Buck (R.E.M.) and Scott McCaughey (The Minus 5) joined Micky Dolenz to record the tracks "Christmas Party" and "Jesus Christ" for the upcoming Monkees holiday album, Christmas Party. John is the executive producer of this latest Monkees project.
Left to right are guitarist Jody Porter, producer Adam Schlesinger, John Hughes, Mark Pinkus (President, Rhino Records), Micky Dolenz, drummer Brian Young, Peter Buck, and Scott McCaughey:
Michael Nesmith is currently conducting a live Q & A session at the Steel City Comic Con in Monroeville, Pennsylvania:
UPDATE: Thanks to Jodi Ritzen at Monkee Meet & Greets and Videoranch for the live feeds, and don't forget that you can see Nez all weekend in Monroeville, Pennsylvania!
UPDATE #2 on 8/11/2018: Michael reconnected with John Cusack at Steel City Comic Con. Cusack starred in the 1988 film Tapeheads that was produced by Nez.
Micky Dolenz played an outdoor solo show in Corvallis, Oregon on Friday night, August 3. Here's a picture from that evening's performance, courtesy of bassist John Billings:
"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 Daniel Coston for sharing his great photos from the June 15 "Mike & Micky Show" concert in Huber Heights, Ohio.
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.