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Review: Monkees, City Hall

May 24, 2011 by  
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In their Sixties heyday the Monkees released no fewer than eight albums in less than four years.

At times during this City Hall 45th reunion show, it felt like we were hearing every single track.

This was no cheap nostalgia exercise for the casual fan. During two sets together lasting well over two hours, Davy Jones, Micky Dolenz, Peter Tork and band whizzed through almost 40 songs.

Value for money certainly – but with the big hits coming along only sporadically, overall quality control was a definite concern.

Kicking off with I’m A Believer, the first half was packed with album tracks and one or two of the lesser hits such as Valleri and Listen To The Band.

It was good to hear songs by the absent Mike Nesmith – such as Mary Mary and The Girl That I Knew Somewhere – and despite recent illness, Tork’s vocals held up well on the likes of What Am I Doin’ Hanging Round.

Jones is still the diminutive cheeky chappy of old, giving it all on ballads like I Wanna Be Free and Shades of Gray, while Dolenz remains the band’s best rock voice.

We expected the tempo to pick up in the second half – but instead came no fewer than six songs from the band’s forgotten psychedelic movie Head. Hmm.

True, hits like Last Train To Clarksville, Steppin’ Stone and the excellent Pleasant Valley Sunday finally did arrive, but it seemed too late by then to build momentum.

More can be less, as the saying goes.

Mike Russell

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