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

Categories: Last Night
Photos By Steve Cohen

With the crowd seated now, Micky took to the drum kit while Peter played the banjo on the "Dr. Robert"-echoing "You Told Me." "Sunny Girlfriend" and "You Just May Be the One" both drifted by pleasantly, with the latter tune featuring a cool image of the back cover of the album Headquarters, with a changing array of pictures of the band fading in and out of the image. The group tried to maintain their playful, boyish interaction throughout the performance, but some of it seemed forced and didn't draw the laughs they were expecting from the crowd. But for the most part, the music was on point throughout the set, as a spirited take on "Mary, Mary," led by Dolenz on vocals and drums, got the audience clapping and singing along.

Tork took a moment to thank the appreciative crowd, "We're very grateful that you're here tonight, otherwise we'd be playing to an empty hall, which would be more of a rehearsal than a performance. So, because you're here, you're making us perform. Thank you for that." And he launched the band into the familiar, "For Pete's Sake," which served as the closing theme for their television show during the second season, which blended fluidly into the smoothed out stoner vibes of "Early Morning Blues And Greens."

Dolenz moved a timpani out to the middle of the stage and donned his flowery '60s poncho as he told a story of the band's trip to England in their early days. "We got to meet the royal family, and by that I mean the Beatles. And they threw a party for us, and I'm told I had a very good time. I wrote a song about my time over there called "Randy Scouse Git," but the record company said I had to change the title. Loosely translated it means 'Horny Liverpudlian Putz." And with that the band dove into their loudest song of the night, with Micky leading the way with his animated vocals. The crowd loved it, and gave the group a loud ovation, to which Dolenz responded as he took off the poncho, "My tablecloth thanks you."

Micky and Mike then went into a long conversation leading into the next number, with Dolenz saying the Nesmith-penned track "Daily Nightly" was one of the first pop songs to use a Moog synthesizer, and how Mike promised he would get one for the show, but instead just brought a picture of one. Nesmith explained, "They're as big as a Buick, and the first Moogs were quite complex but they wouldn't actually do a lot" -- "Like the government," chimed in Dolenz. Micky then eased the group into the acid-tinged psych-pop number as Nesmith playfully provided twisted Moog-like sound effects during the track.

Photos By Steve Cohen

Mike truly struggled on vocals during "Tapioca Tundra," as he read his lyrics from an iPad affixed to his mic stand. But a swinging version of "Goin' Down" picked things back up, with Dolenz mentioning how the track was used in "a cool show called Breaking Bad." Colorful Warhol-like images of Micky singing and dancing were projected behind the band, giving the song an added abstract '60s spirit.

A long montage of clips from the Monkees' psychedelic feature-film, Head, then played on the screen (including a clip of Frank Zappa's zany guest appearance in the movie), before Dolenz emerged alone, leading the band through a trippy take on "The Porpoise Song," which drew to a close with him settling back in behind the drum kit. The stage again darkened as the band played along to a video of a tuxedo-clad Davy singing "Daddy's Song," as he danced along to the beat, reminding all of us how much his boundless, effervescent personality would have added to the show.

A Middle Eastern-tinged "Can You Dig It" featured clips of belly-dancers as Peter took over vocals, before a pensive, melancholy version of "As We Go Along" showcased Dolenz' best vocal take of the evening. The crowd finally rose back to their feet for a raucous rendition of "Circle Sky," with Michael working through his vocal issues to deliver a fine version. A Kinks-like rendition of "Do I Have To Do This All Over Again" kept the energy going, before a lengthy tribute video to Davy (where he admits to wanting to be a juggler) put everyone back in their seats.

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