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Monkees revive past hits at Mohegan Sun Arena

June 13, 2011 by  
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UNCASVILLE, Conn – It was a “young” crowd who attended the Monkees’ 45th Anniversary Tour on Friday night at Mohegan Sun Arena.

Young, that is, if you closed your eyes and considered the fact that most were only in their teens when the TV-manufactured pop group hit the small screen back in the mod 1960s.

America’s answer to the Beatles, the Monkees debuted on NBC television along
with a No. 1 single, “Last Train to Clarksville,” in 1966. The show won two Emmy Awards, and they scored a
dozen Billboard Top 40 hits – outselling both the Beatles and 
Rolling Stones in 1967. They are the only artists ever to have four No. 1 albums in the same year and they had Top 10 hits in more than 25 countries.

And they played all of those hits and more in a 90-minute concert which allowed each group member – Micky Dolenz, Davy Jones and Peter Tork – to shine throughout the evening.

Backed by an eight-piece band – in addition to Dolenz playing guitar, drums and percussion, Jones playing guitar, and Tork playing keyboards and guitar – the Monkees performed a set list of nearly 30 songs including the hits “I’m a Believer,” “I’m Not Your Steppin’ Stone,” “Someday Man,” “Valleri,” “Pleasant Valley Sunday,” “Listen to the Band,” “A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You,” “Goin’ Down” and more.

But it wasn’t until they launched into “Last Train to Clarksville” nearly half-way through the show that some in the audience actually got up to move to the music and that arms began to sway in the air during “Daydream Believer.”

There were other favorites, too, and some obscurities, as well, including “Mary, Mary,” “Cuddly Toy,” “All of Your Toys,” “She Hangs Out,” “Saturday’s Child,” “Your Auntie Grizelda” and for the first time on stage, “Porpoise Song” from their groundbreaking movie “Head.”

While the songs still had a freshness to them, the group should have had new stage banter written for them, instead of relying on many of the same lines they’ve used over they years such as Dolenz talking about their meeting the Beatles before writing “Randy Scouse Git” and Jones admonishing the audience not to sing along because it “puts me off.”

Given the fact it has been a decade since the group’s last tour – minus original member Mike Nesmith who has seldom participated in their reunion tours, except for a short jaunt through the United Kingdom – Friday night’s concert in the nearly-full arena was probably the last opportunity for hardcore fans to enjoy a little Monkeemania on stage. Tork is 69 and his bandmates are both in their mid-60s, not to mention most of their fans.

A large screen on center stage behind the group, which played videos and scenes from their comical television show, was fun to watch, but added to the stark difference from their youthful days of the ’60s to the present.

It comes as no surprise, then, that Dolenz, in an obvious joke on their advancing age, closed the concert by saying, “Farewell, Chicago.”

The tour, which began in North America on June 3, includes some 30 cities before ending later in July.

Monkees revive past hits at Mohegan Sun Arena

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