"The Monkees Present: The Mike Nesmith & Micky Dolenz Show" is heading out across North America this June. Fans are already contemplating the potential for set list surprises, and The Monkees Tour Facebook page is asking for suggestions on what the duo should perform.
To get into the spirit of things, The Monkees Live Almanac is now running two polls asking fans to select five songs that they would like to hear performed by Mike and Micky this June. But first, a little background on the songs I decided to place in the running. I left out all of the big hits along with some other set list perennials like "Randy Scouse Git," "Papa Gene's Blues," "Goin' Down," "What Am I Doing Hangin' 'Round?", "She," "Mary, Mary," etc. The press release promised that "the shows will highlight many of Nesmith’s compositions, including some that have never been performed live." With that preview, I thought it made sense to omit all of Michael's songs from albums like Headquarters, or his B-sides such as "Tapioca Tundra," as it is likely a healthy chunk of those songs will make the cut. In comments made here on the Live Almanac's blog, on Facebook, and elsewhere, I've read about the desire to hear Michael's "Writing Wrongs" and Micky's "Shorty Blackwell," but I just don't think they will be rehearsed and thus their absence from the poll.
There have been a few hints about the set list since the tour was announced on February 20. Last week, Monkees archivist Andrew Sandoval, who is producing the tour, was interviewed by Tom Scharpling on The Best Show. Andrew said that at least two songs from Good Times! are likely to be played ("Me & Magdalena" and "Birth of an Accidental Hipster"), but he doubted that anything from Justus or Pool It! would be included. When the discussion moved to the potential for solo cuts, Andrew said that it wasn't out of the realm: "So far that has been discussed and it looks like there will be some early Mike solo stuff because a lot of that was recorded while he was still in The Monkees." Scharpling also asked about the potential for the inclusion of some of Micky's early 1970s MGM singles, but the conversation was sidetracked and nothing more was said about it. Sandoval also revealed that playing "Nine Times Blue" has been considered, and that it's a possibility Micky could sing songs written by Peter Tork, such as "For Pete's Sake" and "Can You Dig It." (Micky sang the lead vocal on these tracks on the original recordings but since 1986, Peter has sang them live in concert.) Andrew furthermore relayed that a lot of "Michael Monkee-era songs that have never been done live" are also being talked about. On a personal note, I would love to hear Micky attempt "Oh Someone" or something like "Daybreak" from his MGM run on this tour.
As a result of Andrew's comments, I included in the polls a lot of Nesmith-penned songs like "Don't Call on Me," "Auntie's Municipal Court," and "All the King's Horses" that have never been aired in concert. (It is believed Nez wanted to tackle "Auntie's Municipal Court" on the 2013 Monkees tour but Micky allegedly vetoed it.) I also picked tracks like "Midnight Train," "Mommy and Daddy," and "Bye Bye Baby Bye Bye," all Dolenz originals and some of which ("Mommy and Daddy" especially) have been requested by fans to be played live for years. ("Midnight Train" was aired briefly, albeit in an abridged version, in 2015 during the Dolenz/Tork shows that year.)
There are some wild cards in the polls as well. "Tear Drop City" has never been performed live by The Monkees in any incarnation. "Salesman" was last played in Japan and Australia in 1968, and "I Won't Be the Same Without Her," a fan favorite from Instant Replay, has also never made its way onto a Monkees concert set list. Some readers might be wondering about the absence of "Love Is Only Sleeping," another classic from Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd., but I'm guessing it might be more realistic to hear "The Door Into Summer." The Good Times! bonus track "Terrifying" was included as a wide array of fans (and Sandoval himself) have praised it as one of Micky's best in recent years.
"You Bring the Summer" was a crowd favorite on the 50th Anniversary Tour and would be fitting for these early summer shows. And "All of Your Toys" is such a key song in the history of The Monkees' battle with Don Kirshner that seeing Nez partake in its performance would be something special. ("All of Your Toys" made its set list debut in 2011 when Micky, Davy, and Peter spotlighted it during the 45th Anniversary World Tour, but it hasn't been played live since.)
And now finally, it's time to vote! Please participate in both polls where you can select up to five songs in each. (You can also listen to the individual tracks if you scroll down past the polls.) The Monkees Tour Facebook page is asking for set list suggestions by March 4, and it says that the responses "will be tabulated...and reviewed directly by Mike & Micky." I will collect the results from the Live Almanac's polls and forward them to Andrew Sandoval at that time.
If I left out a song you'd like to hear, feel free to post your selections in the comments. Happy voting!
Poll #1: VOTE!
Poll #2: VOTE!