Monkee-ing Around

If you know me at all, you know I’m a huge Monkees fan. I was devastated when Davy Jones died earlier this year, because I was sure I’d never see another Monkees concert again. However, in a surprise move, Micky Dolenz, Peter Tork, and Michael Nesmith got together and did a short tour this November!

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All Three

Mike Nesmith, Micky Dolenz, Peter Tork
Keswick Theatre
Glenside, PA

Not only were they touring, but they were playing my “hometown” theater, the Keswick…on Nov 29th. Why does the date matter? Because my two best friends and I rocked the Monkees all through high school and college and beyond. And Donna Hanson Woolman’s birthday was Nov 29th. She died almost 10 years ago, and I couldn’t help but feel some sort of karmic convergence in the date.

Keswick Marquee

And to further the cosmic aspect of the Keswick’s date, my other Monkee friend, Donna L., scored 6th row center seats for me. The amazing thing is not that she got the seats, but that she got them 4 HOURS after the tickets had gone on sale. As a veteran of many concerts, I can tell you those prime seats should have been gone in the first 4 MINUTES. While I don’t believe that God cares a hoot where I sat to see the Monkees, I couldn’t help feeling that Donna Hanson Woolman had a heavenly hand in making that happen.

So, I saw them at the Keswick Theater in Glenside, PA, and at the NJ State Theater in New Brunswick, NJ. Both shows rocked! All the favorites, plus all of my favorites that they never used to play. Since Mike never toured with the other three in the USA before, this was the first time I ever heard a lot of his songs live. Since his are some of my favorite tunes, I greatly enjoyed rocking to them.

Micky MaracasThe guys sounded great, and the music was excellent. These guys can still rock it like no one’s business! Mike on the guitar, Peter on guitar, keyboard, and banjo, and Micky on guitar, drums, tambourine, maracas, bongos, and the big timpani drum for Randy Scouse Git. The crowds jammed hard, too, singing along with every song.

The guys had an easy rapport with each other, talking back and forth in a mix of ad lib and scripted banter. They didn’t mind goofing aroundMoog Mike a little either, with Peter hamming it up during Auntie Grizelda, and Mike pretending to be a Moog synthesizer during Daily Nightly.

Peter CUIn an interview I read, Peter stated very firmly that this was not meant to be a “Davy is Dead” tour, but that Davy would be very much represented. Sure enough, on the big screen behind the band, video clips from the TV show, their movie HEAD, and even from 33 1/2 Revolutions Per Monkee ran continuously, Davy included. They also had a special tribute video montage of Davy, featuring clips from his pre-Monkees day as well as Monkee highlights. And, of course, no Monkees concert could be complete without Daydream Believer. For this, Micky pulled an audience member up on stage to help him sing, and the audience as a whole carried the refrain, while Davy danced on the big screen. It was a moving and fitting tribute.

DavyDaydream Believer

Daydream Believer

I had a great time, hitting back-to-back Monkees concerts and singing myself hoarse! I felt like a teenager again – until Toddler woke me up very early in the morning. Then I remembered I wasn’t 18 anymore!

I’ve been a Monkees fan since grade school, and starting following their tours in 1986, their 20th Reunion Tour. I’ve seen them together and on solo tours many times over the past 26 years. No matter how many times I see them, or in what configuration, I always love their shows. Together or separate, they have never failed to bring the energy, the skillful musicianship, and the showmanship I’ve come to expect.

Even after all these years, I’m A Believer.

Micky CU

Peter KeyboardMike


  1. That must have been a real treat! I too loved the Monkees in the 8th grade through high school. I never did see them in person but Davy Jones was my favorite. Enjoy!
    Barbara of the Balloons

    • Davy was my favorite, too – and so nice to his fans. He’d stand for hours and sign autographs until everyone waiting had gotten one. And I once saw him order hot tea for two soaking wet and shivering fans waiting for him in a hotel lobby.

  2. It’s nice to see youngsters enjoying the Monkees. The TV show first aired when I was 8, and it left a huge impression on me. I wanted to be in a rock and roll band! I started learning guitar, and had bands all throughout high school and college, writing songs and performing, and even going into the studio from time to time. (At one point, we even all lived in a big house together and practiced in the basement, just like the Monkees!)

    I was always more into the music than the TV show though, and was thrilled to be at the New Brunswick concert, even if I was so high in the balcony I could hardly make out the performers!

    • My friends and I weren’t musical enough to have our own band. We did, however, make two parody albums of Monkees songs which will forever remain hidden from the ears of anyone but ourselves!

  3. What fun! Thanks for spreading the joy. This post felt like an early Christmas present!

    • Glad you enjoyed it! Sounds a little cliche, but the Monkees were always very good at spreading joy, at least in my experience, so it was great to get that feeling again, even if my two Monkee-friends couldn’t be there to share it. I had a great time!

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