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Peter Tork At The Iridium, NYC May 5 & 6, 2013

May 6, 2013 by  
Filed under Fred Velez, news feed

Photo by Nancy Benecki

Peter Tork At The Iridium, NYC – May 5 & 6, 2013
by Fred Velez

I attended the second show of Peter Tork’s three show stand at the Iridium Club in New York City. The Iridium is well known as the club were the legendary Les Paul held a long-time regular residency. It’s a small club which adds to it’s intimacy between the performer and the audience. It was the perfect setting for Peter’s show. The evening was a retrospective of Peter Tork’s life and career, beginning with a short student film Peter starred in called ‘The Love Potion’, with Peter playing a Charlie Chaplin type character looking for love and purchasing a love potion from a gypsy with disastrous results which foreshadowed Peter’s dumb but loveable character on the Monkees TV series.

Peter came onstage and on his acoustic guitar played a wonderful version of ‘Long Title: Do I Have To Do This All Over Again’. For the rest of the evening Peter regaled us in the story of his life, on becoming a Folk musician inspired by Pete Seeger and Burl Ives, discovering Rock & Roll and Elvis Presley, moving to New York City and joining the Folkie scene and hanging with folks like John Sebastian, Stephan Stills, Denny Doherty, Roger McGuinn, Dylan. Moving to California and auditioning for the Monkees TV series, the first meeting between the band and the famous Davy Jones ‘salad story’.

Peter shared many great stories and performed songs related to his life experiences. I was impressed by the way a clip of Peter and Micky from the ‘Monkees on The High Seas’ episode showing them singing a short clip of Peter’s song ‘Tear The Top Right Off My Head’ which Peter seamlessly segued into live on his guitar. Peter told the story of how he tried to convince Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider to use his song ‘Easy Rider’ for the opening credits of their movie, which they rejected, but Peter played the song while the opening credits of ‘Easy Rider’ played on the video screens and gave us a taste of what it would have been like if the song had been used in the movie.

Among the other rarities Peter played in his show included ‘Lady’s Baby’, ‘Alvin’, ‘Prithee’, as well as Monkees tunes like ‘Take A Giant Step’, an Hawaiian version of ‘Last Train To Clarksville’, ‘I’ll Spend My Life With You’, a blues version of ‘She Hangs Out’, and a lovely version of ‘Shades Of Gray’. For the May 5th evening show Peter performed a couple of songs he didn’t do in the afternoon show, ‘Daydream Believer’ which he had the audience join in on the chorus, and ‘Higher & Higher’. Peter also played several Blues numbers which were quite fitting for the intimacy the Iridium Club offered. Video clips and photos were shown on the screens in the club to add further flavor to Peter’s stories.

Throughout the evening Peter showed his versatility as a musician going from acoustic guitar to banjo to piano. His stories were funny and insightful, giving us a rare glimpse into Peter’s fascinating life and career. The show reminded me of the performances I used to attend of Peter’s in the Village when he started to re-emerge as a performer in the late 1970’s-early 1980’s. I used to see Peter at the Speakeasy Club in the Village in New York City and the show he did at the Iridium reminded of those early 80’s gigs.

Peter Tork and Fred Velez at the Speakeasy Club in NYC, 1982.

After the shows Peter met with fans and signed autographs at the table were his cd’s and photos were being sold. Monkees manager and archivist Andrew Sandoval helped to put together the visual elements of the show and he was at the club. I spoke with him briefly about the upcoming release of ‘The Monkees Present’ box set which he said that folks who loved the ‘Birds & Bees’ box set are really going to enjoy this set, and I inquired about the possible audio release of the Monkees 2012 live shows, which he hopes will be released at some point.

For about 90 minutes, Peter Tork took his audience on a fun musical journey of his incredible life and career. Peter is currently on tour with this show and I highly recommend you catch Peter when he’s in your town.

P.S.: If you’d like to see a show that was filmed at the Iridium Club, I highly recommend you pick up ‘Jeff Beck ‘Rock & Roll Party’ honoring Les Paul, with incredible perfomances by Jeff Beck and the amazing Imelda May.

Set List for the May 5th, 2013 Evening Show:

(Note: I wasn’t able to catch the titles of some of the more obscure Blues numbers)

Long Title: Do I Have To Do This All Over Again?
I Want You, I Need You, I Love You
If I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate
The Fox
Cripple Creek
Come On In
Last Train To Clarksville – Hawaiian Luau Version
Take A Giant Step
I’ll Spend My Life With You
Shades Of Gray
Lady’s Baby
Tear The Top Right Off My Head
Prithee (Do Not Ask For Love Once More)
She Hangs Out – Blues Version
Easy Rider
Crash Course In The Blues
Daydream Believer
Higher & Higher
Come On In My Kitchen
Gettin’ In

Fred Velez, 2013


One Response to “Peter Tork At The Iridium, NYC May 5 & 6, 2013”
  1. fancypants says:

    Nice article, Fred! Great photo from the 80s!

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