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August 13, 1997 - Image 9

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 1997-08-13

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

-__ __ -

The Oxford, England, quintet tours behind its
latest album, the lauded "OK Computer." The
Detroit show is sold out, so hopefully you
have tickets already. Doors open at 7:30.


Wednesday (
August 13, 1997 7

Miles Uhlar
For the Daily
The Monkees played to a near-
capacity crowd at Pine Knob Music
Theatre last Wednesday night. That's
tight, The Monkees those four shiny,
faces that are again popping up on
VH t and Nickelodeon, those teeny-
bopper pop gods of the 1960s. When
I called friends and
relations offering1
them my second ,1
ket to the show,
responses varied T
from petrified looks
f disgust to cruel Pine Kno
ckles of laughter.
'ut 1 remained
undaunted. Peter Tork, Davy Jones,
Michael Nesmith and Micky Dolenz
-till deserve some attention.
o, The Monkees were not a real
d. But in some senses they did
come one. Music on the first two
bums (which included the smash
its "Last Train to Clarksville" and
"I'm a Believer") were performed
entirely by studio musicians, save a
track or two by Nesmith. (Neil Young
and Steven Stills headline a distin-

a ''5'


guished list of musicians on Monkee
But on-the next two albums, 1967's
"Headquarters" and 1968's "Pisces,
Aquarius; Capricorn, and Jones," The
Monkees played nearly all the music
and penned roughly half the songs.
Surprisingly, these are the group's two
best offerings, particularly "Pisces."
Undoubtedly a
great album of
E V I E W pop music, it
also contains a
he Monkees few murkier
songs, a touch of
Music Theatre the psychedelic.
August s, 1997 During this
time period the
group launched two completely sold-
out tours, on which they played every
note live. In doing so they became the
first true "arena" act, playing hockey
and basketball arenas for up to 90
minutes, an unprecedented length at
the time.
Although Jones can't play much of
anything, Nesmith and Tork are
accomplished musicians on guitar and
bass, and Dolenz can keep a steady
beat on drums. So with today's better

sound systems, it would have been
interesting to hear the group live. And
earlier in the year European fans got
to do just that. The band began tour-
ing in support of its poorly titled 1996
album, "Justus."
But Nesmith, who remains a bit
disgruntled with his Monkee fame,
bailed on the summer American tour,
saying he would write the group's
1998 movie instead. What a downer.
Always a positive influence on the
more show-biz-oriented Jones and
Dolenz, his absence would mean a
backup band would be necessary. This
made me fear something akin to an
embarrassing.Vegas lounge act,
Luckily, the trio managed to avoid
most such pitfalls. Dolenz played
drums for most of the evening, and
Tork alternated between bass, key-
boards and guitar. Even Jones danced
around with a guitar. (Unfortunately
the strap broke at one point, and
although our hero had been pounding
away at the strings, it became obvious
he hadn't really been playing much of
anything at all.)
Early numbers included the
"Headquarters" standout "Shades of
Gray," with a beautiful piano line
from Tork, and "Words" from
"Pisces." A surprise followed with
"Oh My My," which hails from the
group's final '60s effort, "Changesi'
(This album featured only Dolenz and
Jones - a cruel rumor had it that
Jones would follow it with an album
and tour utnder the name The
Monkee.) Dolenz's vocals were
smooth and restrained - the song
was well-performed.
The hit "Valleri" started off well,
but broke into some kind of wah-wah
guitar solo from a guy in the backup
band. A few minutes later the guys
thrilled the crowd with a haunting
performance of "The Porpoise Song,"
off the soundtrack to the group's 1968
cult classic film "Head," directed by
Jack Nicholson. This was probably,
the evening's musical highlight -
stellar vocals by Dolenz and Jones,
with more outstanding piano from

The 1968-era Monkees (left to right): Davy Jones, Michael Nesmith, Micky Dolenz
and Peter Tork. Based on the size of their belt buckles, Nesmith and Dolenz are
extremely afraid that their pants might fall down.
Tork. The momentum continued with going nuts. Unbelievable. I guess the
worthy performances of "I'll Be Back twerp must still have sex appeal.
Upon My Feet" and "Pleasant Valley Damn.
Sunday," another classic off "Pisces." Fortunately, the group ended with a
Unfortunately, at this point each string of crowd-pleasers. "I'm a
member did a solo piece to the accom- Believer," "Stepping Stone" and
paniment of the backup band. Tork's "Daydream Believer" came in rapid
performance of "Lucille" on the banjo succession. It sounded "groovy," and
was no better all were happy.
than adequate. Nearly the
Dolenz's was entire crowd
much less than stood and
that; he started w oing nts cheered during
with some DwarydDaydream
embarrassing Unbelievable3 j Believer" -
one-liners and the ultimate
then proceeded guess t twerp f e e I - g o o d
to perform some moment. There
sort of song must s lnave had been some
which he called bad jokes and
blues. It sound- se appe , some smarmy
ed more like solo numbers.
something that But the song
would be at home in a Carnival Cruise selection was great, and the tunes.
ballroom - definitely a showstopper. were performed well. All in all, it was
Jones followed with "Girl, the cute hit a good night. And if Michael Nesmith
of Brady Bunch lore. The song made does hop back on board in 1998,
me squirm in my seat, but the crowd things will only get better for The
went ballistic. Girls from 14 to 60 were Monkees.

It is plainly evident that Micky Dolenz (left, with Tork and Jones) nas won tne bat-
tie of the belt buckles, as Michael Nesmith's has swallowed him whole.

The Monkees: Have they fallen from their tree?

Peter: Dabbled with a variety of solo projects, including "The Peter Tork Experience." Also dabbled with illegal sub-
stances and spent a year in the "big house." Works as a sometime substitute history teacher at a California junior high
Micky: Barely lost out to Henry Winkler for the role of "The Fonz" on "Happy Days." Current star of the USA hit drama
"Pacific Blue" (you know, the one with the bike cops).
* Davy: Titled his autobiography "They Made a Monkee Out of Me." Used to wear shoes with five-inch wooden heels; admit-
ted dashing to put them on before answering the phone. Recently rocked out with The Edge at the Los Angeles U2 concert.
* Mike: Inherited millions from mother's invention of Liquid Paper. Won first Grammy ever for music video; credited with
the concept of MTV. Rolling Stone calls his work "the best music never heard." Gets mad when you ask him about his little
green hat.


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