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Monkees bring more than novelty and nostalgia to Lowell

June 18, 2011 by  
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Forty-five years after first creating a frenzy by bringing teen-approved pop to the small screen, the Monkees still resonate, as seen Wednesday at the Lowell Memorial Auditorium where the band performed a two-hour show that went beyond surface nostalgia.

Michael Nesmith bowed out of the current anniversary tour, leaving Davy Jones, Peter Tork, and Micky Dolenz to make the case that the Monkees were more than a prefab four cooked up in the 1960s by American entertainment executives to capitalize on Beatlemania. Tackling more than 30 songs may have been excessive, but the Monkees were persuasive in selling a catalog of indelible pop from the AM radio era. The band is still not to be mistaken for a Beatles doppelganger, but did prove itself an uncanny cipher of song styles influencing rock ’n’ roll through the music’s adolescence.

The Monkees’ catalog, largely written by outside aces such as Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, Neil Diamond, and Carole King, reflects the period’s merger of folk and rock, its rise of garage and psychedelic styles, and the ironic appropriation of Tin Pan Alley innocence. Musical purists may have once bristled at the overt cashing in on flower power, but time has been kind to the Monkees, and the band members themselves seem to understand that what they wield is entertainment gold; no more, no less.

The Monkees’ eight-piece band kicked off the concert by playing the troupe’s television theme song. Jones, Dolenz and Tork trotted out on the high of “I’m a Believer.’’ The principal players’ voices are a little flatter and their comedic timing a tad off, but there was no doubting their investment in the video-enhanced show. Dolenz dashed from drum kit to center stage throughout the concert. Tork played guitar, keys, banjo, and French horn. Jones donned white tails to reprise the “Daddy’s Song’’ dance routine from the cult film “Head.’’

A backbone of hits — “Pleasant Valley Sunday,’’ “Daydream Believer,’’ “Last Train to Clarksville’’ and “(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone’’ — ably supported lesser-known but solid fare such as “Someday Man,’’ “Your Auntie Grizelda’’ and “As We Go Along.’’

via Monkees bring more than novelty and nostalgia to Lowell – The Boston Globe.

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