The Monkees at the State Theatre, 11/15/12

Categories: Last Night
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Photo By Steve Cohen

The Monkees
State Theatre, Minneapolis
November 15, 2012

The Monkees were determined to make their sold-out performance at the State Theatre on Thursday night a sunny, psychedelic affair, despite the palpable absence of Davy Jones, who died earlier this year. And it was thrilling to see Micky Dolenz, Peter Tork, and Michael Nesmith (making his first U.S. appearance with the Monkees since 1969) on stage together again, as the band gave the audience a playful audio/visual guided tour of a simpler, more innocent time during their uplifting but uneven 110-minute performance.

See Also:
Slideshow: The Monkees at the State Theatre, 11/15/12
Slideshow: The Monkees at Minnesota Zoo, 7/1/11

The show was certainly steeped in nostalgia, and while images of the young members played during the show's exuberant introduction (and continued throughout the show), Dolenz, Tork, and Nesmith obviously have aged, even though to most fans they will always be the fresh-faced teen idols that they were on-screen in the '60s and '70s. After the seven-piece backing band (featuring Micky's little sister Coco on backing vocals and Mike's son Christian on guitar) served up a medley of familiar melodies as the crowd filed in, the stage darkened as the three Monkees took to the stage to a loud, lasting ovation, as the aging audience slowly rose to their feet.

The show started with a rollicking version of the Monkees' first single, "Last Train to Clarksville," with clips from the corresponding episode playing out behind the group. Micky's voice was in fine form straight from the start, and his outsized personality would carry much of the show. "That's the one that started it all," Dolenz exclaimed after the song drew to a festive close. "Welcome to the evening, an evening with the Monkees." And indeed, most of the crowd were there to recapture those moments of bliss that came from watching the TV show, while singing along to these songs that soundtracked their youth.

Nesmith assumed lead vocals on "Papa Gene's Blues," giving the song a dusty vibrancy that rang throughout the hall. And while Mike's vocals didn't hold up throughout the performance, many fans in the audience were getting a glimpse of the talented songwriter on stage for the very first time at this show, and his added presence certainly went a long way to the venue being sold-out. Tork took over on a perky "Your Auntie Grizelda," and Peter certainly played the role of Ringo throughout the show, adding moments of comedy and an occasional innocuous song, but mostly staying out of the way while trying to fit in with the groove.

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Photos By Steve Cohen

The show hit its highpoint early on, as the band added a psychedelic twist to "She" as Dolenz elegantly carried the song, while "Sweet Young Thing" was given a folksy, Americana thump as colorful old pictures of the band were projected behind them. Dolenz then took to the microphone to humorously introduce the next number, "We've got one for you from that great songwriter, Neil Diamond. And I just want all the kids in the crowd to know -- I see one right there, unless you're a midget (as Nesmith chimed in, "Don't you scare that child"). We did this song a long time before Shrek." And, as a montage of magazine covers featuring the band were projected behind them, the group delivered a buoyant rendition of "I'm A Believer" which got most of the crowd dancing and singing along.

Micky danced around the stage during a rocking version of "(I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone," which proved to be one of the night's highlights, as Dolenz poured so much of himself into the song that he was visibly out of breath as it came to a close. The stage darkened again for the first of three video tributes to Davy during the set, as "I Wanna Be Free" played over the speakers as wistful images of Jones strolling along the beach and playing in the ocean were projected on the screen. These glimpses of the charismatic singer only accentuated his absence, as everyone in the crowd missed him in their own way.


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4 comments
kozzie17
kozzie17

Great overview of the concert Erik. I too thought the pacing was a bit uneven. It was still great to see the three back together. Micky was in great form. The only other song I wish they would have performed, in addition to the (Theme From) The Monkees, was "Words". That would have completed the evening for me. Otherwise very solid. It might be the last time we see the remaining three back in the Twin Cities.

mommalemke
mommalemke

I was at the Cupertino concert and most of the crowd was in their 40s & 50's - hardly "old" by today's standards.  The guys sounded the same as they did when they were young and we enjoyed every second.  It was great to hear their own work featured and not just the pop songs. Thanks for the long winded, uneven review, I'm glad I could keep my eyes open to read it.

lfrattallone
lfrattallone

Thanks for the thorough review, but you seem surprised that people get old and that "old" people go to concerts. Yes, believe it or not, many of us who liked the Monkees when they and we were young can still hear, drive and even "slowly rise to our feet" to groove at a concert. 

Kathie Bursaw Rummelhoff
Kathie Bursaw Rummelhoff

Thanx for the extensive review. I had Mike Nesmith on facebook but, after awhile, I just couldn't quite understand his rambling posts. I wish I could've attended. My older brothers were Beatles "snobs" & thought i had no taste in music for adoring The Monkees. They, grudgingly, admitted that "Pleasant Valley Sunday" was a passable song. By the way, my favorite player was Mike Nesmith because of his caustic personality and stand-out musical ability.

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