Note: For an update to this article, click here.
The Monkees will soon embark on their next run of concert dates since returning to the stage after Davy's untimely death in early 2012. In November and December of that year, Micky, Michael, and Peter embarked on a short tour of the United States that visited twelve cities. Ticket sales were exceptionally strong, causing The Hollywood Reporter to take notice and prompting promoters to beg for additional dates to be added to the tour itinerary. "When we called to get ticket counts on the first day sales for the November tour, we were taken aback by how quick the East Coast dates were selling out," Bruce Solar of The Agency Group told The Hollywood Reporter. "By the middle of the first day, we had promoters calling us trying to add more nights."
With the limited amount of dates performed in late 2012 and an obvious demand for tickets, Monkees fans almost immediately wondered if there would be more concerts in the future. Early in 2013, Nez assured the fanbase. "Yes, we will tour again I am sure," Michael told Examiner.com. "It was great fun and the show was great. Micky and Peter are good guys, talented, and fun to work with." The following summer, the tour schedule was doubled, visiting 24 cities across the United States. Micky noted the enthusiasm for the latest round of Monkees activities. "The reaction to the last tour (in 2012) was euphoric," Micky told Rolling Stone. "It was pretty apparent there was a demand for another one." A press release for the 2013 Monkees tour touted that the trio was returning "by popular demand." A source close to the group told the Live Almanac that ticket sales for the 2013 tour "were mixed, but mostly good."
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. A quick glance at Ticketmaster shows that sales appear to be slow in some markets. Let's take a look at some of the venues to see how tickets are moving.
Hampton, New Hampshire
Reserved seats for opening night at the Hampton Beach Ballroom in New Hampshire are nearly sold out, but general admission seats remain.
Atlantic City, New Jersey
Tickets are still available at this intimate venue that sold out when Davy, Micky, and Peter visited it during the 2011 tour.
Newark, New Jersey
A massive amount of tickets are unsold for this 2,800-seater venue located just outside of Manhattan, which is traditionally a strong market for The Monkees.
Huntington, New York
This show at The Parmount is almost sold out. Micky, Michael, and Peter performed here in 2012, too.
Plenty of seats remain for this Philadelphia suburb, a city that always turns out to see The Monkees.
Greensburg (Pittsburgh), Pennsylvania
Ticket sales for the Palace Theatre appear to be very strong in most sections of the venue, but note how many seats are still for sale in the right orchestra of the theatre.
The Fox Theatre in Detroit hosted a packed house on the 2011 Monkees tour, but numerous seats remain for sale.
Kansas City, Missouri
The Monkees haven't visited Kansas City since 2001.
Once again, a great amount of seats have yet to be sold at this venue with a 4,000 seat capacity.
Cleveland was a hotbed for Monkees concerts in the 1980s, and ticket sales appear somewhat strong for the show at Hard Rock Live.
Could the market for The Monkees be oversaturated? The group has now been a consistent live attraction for the last several years, playing a healthy amount of dates in the United States since 2011. It's clear that Michael's return in 2012 after Davy passed spiked interest after an already solidly-performing tour in 2011 that featured only Davy, Micky, and Peter. However, since that time, Michael has undertaken a large amount of solo shows in between the recent Monkees tours, and perhaps the novelty of seeing Nez live (after such a long layoff) has faded when it comes to the casual concert goer. Steep ticket prices in the midst of a lethargic economy might also be a factor, and Davy's absence could also be impacting ticket sales at this point.
Reviews haven't been an issue, and the quality of The Monkees' show since the group returned to the stage in 2011 has drawn overwhelmingly positive responses from concertgoers who have been treated to things like a multimedia presentation and a diverse set list. Longtime Monkees detractor Rolling Stone has been effusive in its praise, stating in their review of a 2011 show in New York City that "It's hard to imagine anybody disappointed by this show unless they just plain hate life." The Chicago Tribune said of Micky, Michael, and Peter's performance at the Chicago Theatre in late 2012 that "It wasn't just a recap of the band's greatest hits. It was an emotionally disarming multimedia show that, for all its backward glance, felt fresh and electric." And last summer's tour continued the critical lovefest for The Monkees, with the Baltimore Sun declaring that "Never have they sounded better, appeared more assured or been more enjoyable than right now."
All these things considered, The Monkees have done little to promote the upcoming concert dates in May and June. There have been a few interviews and some low-key articles online, but absent have been major promotional appearances that could potentially garner the attention of those outside of the Monkees fan community. For example, Davy, Micky, and Peter were guests on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno in both 1996 and 2001 to promote the tours that year. Perhaps the group should consider a high-profile appearance that could assist in creating awareness that The Monkees are on the road this spring. And since The Monkees have received a tremendous amount of good press recently, granting an interview to a top tier publication or website might help sell tickets, too.
For full disclosure, I'm not a ticket agent and I've never managed a band, so I'm not an expert on the factors, trends, and cycles that occur when it comes to selling concert tickets. I'm sure there are a considerable amount of tickets sold as the concert date approaches and the local promotion kicks in to achieve those last minute sales. And I'm guessing that ticket buyers who are on the fence about attending probably do wait until later to purchase their tickets. This piece is simply based on reviewing venue seating maps that are readily available online. It's quite possible the group's management and ticket agents are happy with the sales reception to date.
So, The Monkees are coming to your town. Have you reserved your seat?
Thursday, May 22: Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom, Hampton, New Hampshire
Friday, May 23: Borgata Music Box, Atlantic City, New Jersey
Saturday, May 24: New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Newark, New Jersey
Sunday, May 25: The Paramount, Huntington, New York
Tuesday, May 27: Sands Bethlehem Event Center, Bethlehem (Philadelphia), Pennsylvania
Wednesday, May 28: The Palace Theater, Greensburg (Pittsburgh), Pennsylvania
Friday, May 30: Fox Theater, Detroit, Michigan
Saturday, May 31: Star Plaza Theater, Merrillville, Indiana
Sunday, June 1: Riverside Theater, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Monday, June 2: Weesner Amphitheater, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Wednesday, June 4: Uptown Theater, Kansas City, Missouri
Thursday, June 5: Fox Theater, St. Louis, Missouri
Friday, June 6: PNC Pavillion at Riverbend Music Center, Cincinnati, Ohio
Saturday, June 7: Hard Rock Live, Northfield (Cleveland), Ohio
In Memoriam: Michael Nesmith
Dolenz sings Nesmith - The EP
Micky Dolenz Live!