|The Monkees performing "I'll Spend My Life With You"|
I had never been to the Orpheum before, and was pleased to discover it is a really nice venue, with a relaxed vibe and a friendly staff. I had purchased a ticket for a seat in the last row so that I could dance without bothering anyone. So glad I did. I danced the whole show, and had plenty of room. My seat was actually in the handicapped area. Good folks near me too, which helped make the experience even better. It’s great being with other knowledgeable fans. Before the show, the venue actually had Monkees music playing, including “All The King’s Horses,” “Salesman” and even “Me & Magdalena.” I was already really excited about the show because a few months ago Mike and Micky had indicated that they were going to play songs they didn’t usually perform.
At 8:04 p.m., the lights dimmed, and at 8:05 p.m., a screen came down at the back of the stage, which simply said “The Monkees Present The Mike & Micky Show.” They didn’t bother playing scenes from the television series, as they had at previous shows. And I certainly didn’t miss the visuals. This time it was all about the music. They kicked off the show with Michael Nesmith’s “Good Clean Fun,” a song from The Monkees Present. “I told you I’d come back and here I am!” Indeed! Micky was on acoustic guitar, and Mike played electric guitar. They followed that with “Last Train To Clarksville,” and man, there was a guy on banjo. After that song, someone shouted out, “I love you.” And Mike responded, “I love you too.” Micky then put down the guitar and picked up some maracas for “Sunny Girlfriend.” That song is always a lot of fun, and this was a good version.
After “Mary, Mary,” Mike joked, “Mary, Mary never answered.” They then played “You Told Me,” with Micky on tambourine, and followed that with “For Pete’s Sake.” Mike mentioned that song was written by Peter Tork, adding: “A big shout out to Peter Tork. Peter!” Peter has said that he wasn’t doing this tour because he’s focusing on other projects. Mike then also gave a shout out to Davy Jones, saying “This is for you, kiddo,” before getting into “The Door Into Summer.” Yes, Mike was pretty talkative at this show, which was great, even doing a running joke about missing a woman’s phone call. That running joke was not anything that was worked out beforehand, and Mike wasn’t sure just where he was going with it, and admitted as much.
Micky played acoustic guitar on “The Girl I Knew Somewhere.” After that, one of the band’s technicians brought out an acoustic guitar for Mike. Rather than just taking it, he made the guy stand there holding it for a bit while he joked that he’d give him eight dollars for it. He then played “You Just May Be The One.” Mike left the stage for “Steam Engine.” This was the first surprise of the night for me, and it was absolutely fantastic. This song is a whole lot of fun. I used to have a compilation cassette titled Monkee Business, and I’d to listen to this song over and over. Micky then jumped ahead in the set list, starting to introduce a song from Good Times! before being corrected. Instead, they played “Some Of Shelly’s Blues,” another delightful surprise. Mike sang the last line as “You settle down and stay with me,” as he has done when performing the song solo. After that, Mike mentioned Good Times!, and they played “Birth Of An Accidental Hipster.” I love that album, and “Birth Of An Accidental Hipster” was definitely cool, but it was the next song that really excited me. “Birth Of An Accidental Hipster” led directly into “St. Matthew,” which completely thrilled me. What a fantastic surprise. If memory serves me (and it often doesn’t), I first heard this song on a compilation titled Missing Links Volume Two. It’s an excellent song, and they did a great job on it last night.
Mike then left the stage while Micky sang “Porpoise Song.” The lights along the walls and the lights above me were going all weird, a nice touch that I didn’t expect. That was followed by another song from Head, “Circle Sky,” which completely kicked ass. Seriously, this tune was powerful last night, and it was followed by my favorite Monkees song, “As We Go Along,” also from Head. It was a beautiful rendition, featuring violin, and was followed by another gorgeous song to conclude the first set, “Me & Magdalena.” Seriously, this version was so beautiful that I started to cry. What a great finish to the first set. The first set ended at 9:06 p.m.
Micky said they’d be back in five minutes. The usher had told me it was going to be a twenty-minute break. Neither was correct. It was fourteen minutes. The first part of the second set was a nice, acoustic segment. And in fact, for the first song only two musicians joined Mike and Micky. That song was the always-appreciated “Papa Gene’s Blues.” Then bass and drums were added for an interesting, cool rendition of “Randy Scouse Git.” And that was followed by another wonderful surprise, “Nine Times Blue,” with some nice work on pedal steel. This is a song that was included on Missing Links. There was more nice work on pedal steel on “I’ll Spend My Life With You.” The backing vocalists returned for this one, and there was also mandolin on this sweet rendition. And by “Different Drum,” the whole band was back on stage, including keys. After that, Mike announced, “That’s the end of the acoustic set.”
Micky talked about the band’s first single, “Last Train To Clarksville.” The flip side was “Take A Giant Step,” except apparently in Hawaii. “In Hawaii, this was the song that was released as the single, because there are no trains in Hawaii,” Micky said. It looks like the French version of the single also had “Take A Giant Step” as the A side. The version last night featured some nice work on violin. As great as that was, it was the next song that made the night an absolute treasure for me. I am a big fan of The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees, in large part because of “Auntie’s Municipal Court.” It’s a song I never expected to see the band perform in concert. But last night they did it, and I could not have been happier. And they did it with a bit of that extended ending. In a night of highlights, this one had to be tops for me. It almost didn’t even matter what they did afterward.
After that completely magical song, someone in the audience shouted out a request for “Pleasant Valley Sunday,” and a lot of other people laughed in response. It seemed to me not only a stupid request (since the band was almost certainly going to play it), but an absolutely ridiculous thing to shout after being treated to such a rare gem as “Auntie’s Municipal Court.” It felt almost like that person didn’t appreciate the moment. I was glad to hear that the request was met by laughter by a lot of folks in the audience. Anyway, what they did choose to follow “Auntie’s Municipal Court” was a totally rocking rendition of “Sweet Young Thing.” How were other people not dancing? Actually, there were some people dancing near me, and some others down front, to the left of the stage from the audience’s perspective. At one point, a woman near me leaned in to say that the rest of the audience was demonstrating remarkable restraint. Ah, perfect!
“Sweet Young Thing” was followed by “(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone” and then another surprise, “Grand Ennui,” a song from Nevada Fighter, a Michael Nesmith & The First National Band album. Micky sat this one out. This was a country rock song, with the emphasis on rock, and included a nice long jam. Then Micky came back for an unusual rendition of “Goin’ Down,” with no horns, but with violin. During this song, Micky introduced the band. Micky then sang lead on “Daydream Believer,” singing “how happy we can be” rather than “how happy I can be.” Toward the end, Micky indicated it was the audience’s turn to sing, and we were accompanied only by drums. That was followed by a wonderful version of “What Am I Doing Hangin’ ‘Round?” and then “Pleasant Valley Sunday.”
Everyone except Mike then left the stage, and Mike began “Listen To The Band” solo, on acoustic guitar, an interesting country rendition. It was very cool. It wasn’t long before the band rejoined him, and the song then exploded. Fantastic! The second set then concluded with “I’m A Believer,” during which the crowd finally got to its feet. There was no encore, but I suppose none was needed. The show ended at 10:26 p.m.
- Good Clean Fun
- Last Train To Clarksville
- Sunny Girlfriend
- Mary, Mary
- You Told Me
- For Pete’s Sake
- The Door Into Summer
- The Girl I Knew Somewhere
- You Just May Be The One
- Steam Engine
- Some Of Shelly’s Blues
- Birth Of An Accidental Hipster >
- St. Matthew
- Porpoise Song
- Circle Sky
- As We Go Along
- Me & Magdalena
- Papa Gene’s Blues
- Randy Scouse Git
- Nine Times Blue
- I’ll Spend My Life With You
- Different Drum
- Take A Giant Step
- Auntie’s Municipal Court
- Sweet Young Thing
- (I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone
- Grand Ennui
- Goin’ Down
- Daydream Believer
- What Am I Doing Hangin’ ‘Round?
- Pleasant Valley Sunday
- Listen To The Band
- I’m A Believer
Here are a few photos from the show: