The Monkees are coming to Cleveland the Sunday of Labor Day Weekend to play a show at Jacobs Pavilion. I'm a huge Monkees fan but I had some investigating and thinking to do before I plunked down money for the show.
The main objection is that Michael Nesmith is not on the tour. That's not surprising as he's only participated in one reunion tour. Though, word is he's telling fans to go see the band this time around, even without him. Nesmith has pretty much retired from performing.
Michael Nesmith's contribution to the Monkees was very influential on me. He was pioneering country rock in that band. As a whole, I love Nesmith's songs the most. That said, my two favorite songs by The Monkees, "Look Out, Here Comes Tomorrow" and "Daydream Believer" are both sung by Davey Jones and penned by Neil Diamond and John Stewart respectively. And don't forget that Mickey Dolenz probably did more lead vocal than either of them. So I crossed that objection off my list.
I love Youtube as it gives you a chance to see amateur video of bands currently out on the road. It's a way of seeing whether a show might be worth attending. So I watched some clips.
Ok, there's certainly a cheese element to the show which doesn't sit well with me. And, quite frankly, seeing aged idols of my youth makes me feel old.
Look beyond that and you'll see a good band that even has a horn section playing faithful renditions of these joyful songs. It's not unlike seeing Brian Wilson perform The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds. There's a tight band made up of huge admirers of the music and propped up in front is Wilson. And to continue the comparison, the music on the Pet Sounds album was played by the same musicians, the Wrecking Crew, who performed on those Monkees albums. Another objection satisfied.
The clincher for me was a look at the set list. For a Monkees fan it's stunning. Looking over the list of songs makes you realize just how many great ones they had. And they're digging deep as well. There's a portion of the show devoted to music from the bizarre film Head. They even play a number of Nesmith songs. And the show clocks in at about two hours. I was sold.
Here's the set list from The Greek in LA a couple of weeks ago:
I'm a Believer
Look Out (Here Comes Tomorrow)
The Girl I Knew Somewhere
When Love Comes Knocking
Randy Scouse Git
Papa Gene's Blues
I Wanna Be Free
That Was Then, This Is Now
I Don't Think You Know Me
All of Your Toys
Hard To Believe
What Am I Doing Hangin' 'Round?
She Hangs Out
Sometime in the Morning
Can You Dig It?
As We Go Along
Long Title: Do I Have To Do This All Over Again?
Porpoise Song (Theme From "Head")
For Pete's Sake
Shades of Gray
It's Nice to Be With You
Your Auntie Grizelda
Last Train to Clarksville
A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You
(I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone
Listen To The Band
Pleasant Valley Sunday
I'm a Believer (Reprise)
I made a Spotify playlist of the Monkees Set List as well.
So I'm inviting everyone to join me that evening. I've created an event on Facebook, Radio Hannibal's Monkees Bleacher Dance Party. Buy a bleacher ticket ($34, that includes the charges)and meet at the Harbor Inn at 6pm Sunday September 4. We'll head to the show early in order to commandeer the far upper corner of the bleachers. Then dance are asses off to some of the best pop songs ever.