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Review: Monkees deliver nostalgia-filled feast for fans

June 21, 2011 by  
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One case was during the number “Daddy’s Song.” Davy Jones emerged in a white suit, complete with tails and pranced across the stage, following parts of the original choreography from his performance of the song in the 1968 film “Head.” Toward the end he danced across the full length of the stage, ending in a bow. His head low, his face was suddenly haggard, old and tired. Then the cheers came in, and immediately he shifted to a boyish grin and straightened up, puffing out his chest.


That moment really captured the show. It was entertaining and showed a lot of heart. The Monkees put a lot of effort to replicate past performances. But at the end of the day, they are no longer the 20-something pop stars they once were. Which is not necessarily a bad thing.

The fact that 45 years after they were created the Monkees are still able to pack an auditorium (which they did on Monday evening) is a huge accomplishment. Their fans are of all ages, some grew up watching the show, others discovered the band in the 1980s revival, others found about them from parents or grandparents. Time has allowed their fan base grow, and has shown that their music can stand the test of time, especially the crowd favorite “I’m a Believer,” which they used to open and close the show.

Just because they are older does not mean they gave a poor performance either. Part of the fun of the Monkees is their cheesy banter, humor and happy-go-lucky music. Both were there in abundance.

“Thank you to those of you who are here tonight,” said Peter Tork. “We know who you are.”

“Those of you who are not here tonight, eat dirt,” he said before taunting the audience with a false start of “For Pete’s Sake,” almost beginning before he opting to rev up the audience first. Conducting their cheers, from extreme screams to absolute silence, Tork was as playful as he was in the 1960s. And then he delivered with a killer rendition of the jaunty “For Pete’s Sake.”

Each performer shined though in their solo numbers. Jones’ performance of the sentimental “It’s Nice to be With You” to his neighbors in Beavertown was a nice personal touch to the show. He truly excelled in “When Love Comes Knocking at Your Door,” which he prefaced with a jokey reference to his love of being in the Monkees show in the 1960s. “I got to kiss the girls and fall in love twice in every episode,” he said. Jones managed to hold the bright ditty’s high notes with bell-like clarity, showcasing his unique singing voice.

The Monkees 45th Anniversary Tour The Monkees 45th Anniversary Tour Xandra Amrine, 16, of Etters waits outside Hershey Theatre to see The Monkees perform Monday night during their 45th Anniversary Tour. Amrine said that she is huge fan of The Monkees, and that Davey Jones is her heartthrob. Watch video

Mickey Dolenz was in top form. He had all the energy of 40 years ago, jumping up and down, leaping to and fro, and sliding across the stage in cha-cha style during “That Was Then, This is Now.” He then battled Jones in slow-motion before shouting in his trumpeting voice the lyrics to “Words.” He even sashayed around while performing the fast-paced tongue-twister jazz-infused “Goin’ Down.”

For Tork, the show-stealer moment was “Shades of Gray,” a ballad filled with nostalgia and a longing for the innocence of childhood. With every “Shades of Gray” he sang, Tork received applause, which only intensified when he pulled out his French horn for a solo. Make a note all those who still believe the Monkees are not true musicians.

Most importantly, the Monkees were fun, a lot of fun. Almost every song had the audience singing along, clapping hands, and dancing in their seats. The theater transformed into a giant sing-along with a group of friends.

The band busted out “I’m Not Your Stepping Stone” with such ferocity that the floor almost rumbled and the jaunty melody of “Little Bit Me, Little Bit You” was done with such joy that the audience was filled with smiles.

The captivating “Daydream Believer” saw fans flee their seats and race down the aisles to dance by the stage, teenage girls seeming to push their way to the front. It must have seemed like déjà vu for the band.

But none of those compared to when the beginning guitar strums of “Last Train to Clarksville” were played. That is when they proved, with just a few notes, that they can generate as much enthusiasm in 2011 as they did in 1966. And while they may be older, they are still, and always will be, the Monkees.

via Review: Monkees deliver nostalgia-filled feast for fans |

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