Here they come! The Monkees...Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith, and Peter Tork, will begin their late spring tour on May 22 at the Hampton Beach Ballroom in Hampton, New Hampshire. The trio will visit 14 different cities in all, including stops in Atlantic City, Detroit, Milwaukee, St. Louis, and Cincinnati. The tour will close on June 7 right outside of Cleveland, Ohio.
After a small round of concerts in late 2012 that drew critical praise, was a hit at the box office, and consoled fans still reeling from the loss of Davy Jones, The Monkees returned to the stage in the summer of 2013 largely due to popular demand, playing 24 shows across the United States. The individual Monkees expressed gratitude for their audiences during the second tour undertaken without Davy, and even broached the band's internal relations. "The shows have been remarkably stimulating and happy-fying," Michael told The Austin Chronicle. "And yes, the validation for it has been almost overwhelming. We all come offstage after a show riding on the high that the audience is on. For me, the greatest show of the evening is the show I see from the stage: watching the audience connect, which I think is the way a great live show should be. So it’s most satisfying for all concerned." Micky echoed Michael’s sentiments about the fans and their expectations of seeing The Monkees live in concert. "When we get back together in these incarnations, I don’t think of these as a reunion. I think of them as a revival," he told IndyWeek.com. "I understood from the get-go that when the fans come to see a Monkees show or a Micky Dolenz solo show, they want to hear those songs as they remember them. You owe it to them." Peter took a moment midway through the 2013 tour to ruminate about the group’s internal relations. "We’re getting along brilliantly," Tork relayed.
When the 2013 shows came to a close on August 18 in Portland, Oregon, Micky, Michael, and Peter had completed another round of concerts that were met with rave reviews, and for some, helped soften the blow of Davy’s passing. "Musically, historically and emotionally, the night was a triumph, a cause for joy and celebration, and a whole lot of fun, to boot," wrote the Asbury Park Press. When being interviewed by the Boston Globe, Nez waxed philosophically about The Monkees, its fanbase, and playing for their audience in 2013. "Part of the fun of growing up is not having to act any certain way - and Monkees fans always traveled their own path," Michael said. "They stayed fans while their contemporaries ridiculed them and they are still fans. So to play live for the codger boppers while the new fans discover the music and silliness and share it is a lot of genuine fun - and that’s hard to come by."
This past March at the 2014 Monkees convention Micky, Michael, and Peter shared with attendees the news that they would visit the East Coast and the Midwestern United States in late May and June. Earlier this month, the Live Almanac took a glance at Ticketmaster and found that ticket sales appeared to be slow in some markets. Since that report, sales seemed to have picked up, but there are still plenty of seats available in markets that are traditionally friendly to The Monkees, like Detroit, Michigan and the New York metropolitan area (the show in Newark, New Jersey still has an abundant amount of seats open).
In general, things have been quiet on the Monkees front leading up to the latest round of concerts, especially in comparison to the days and weeks preceding the 2012 and 2013 tours when fans were updated about rehearsals, potential setlist surprises, merchandise, and more via Monkees social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter. Micky, Michael, and Peter also seemed to be more available to the press for those tours, speaking to such outlets like Rolling Stone before opening night. Not so this time around. Beyond a few low-key interviews published online, the press has largely ignored the latest round of Monkee business.
On that note, fans have emailed the Live Almanac wondering if the absence of Monkees historian and archivist Andrew Sandoval, who produced the 2011, 2012, and 2013 tours, has resulted in a different approach this time around. Andrew played a large role in bringing The Monkees back to the stage in 2011 after a near decade long hiatus from the road. Since then, concertgoers have been treated to a full multimedia experience that utilizes numerous pieces of video footage working in tandem with The Monkees' live performance, an eclectic setlist, and pre-show entertainment highlighting rare Monkees video and audio. Sandoval has yet to officially comment on his lack of involvement with the 2014 tour, despite various theories being offered on internet discussion forums. It has also been rumored that there will be changes in the presentation of the show, including the setlist, video footage, and the make-up of the backing band. (The Live Almanac has avoided these speculative conversations due to a lack of any official confirmation of such reports.)
Outside issues aside, seeing The Monkees live in person has always provided something special for the group's loyal fanbase, no matter which generation you became a fan. This tour is likely to be no different. Michael made it clear that it's this notion that is special to him now. "That's why I want to go do it again. It was so much fun," he told Rolling Stone last year. "The people that come, they bring their expectations, and we give them exactly what they want, so that's perfect. I don't know what they're bringing in the door, but I'm happy to see them."