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Review: The Monkees, Royal Concert Hall

May 28, 2011 by  
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SATURDAY teatimes, Easter holidays, the best thing on TV when I was a kid (as well as the Banana Splits and Tiswas) was The Monkees. They were funny, cute (we all loved Davy), zany and the music, to my young ear, was groovy – almost as good as my mum’s copy of Hard Day’s Night. Hey, hey, they were the American Beatles (apart from Davy, of course).

I was watching 1970s repeats, but can you really believe that the seminal sound and look of The Monkees is now 45 years old?

The amazing thing that sets The Monkees in the history book of glorious pop, is that they were never formed for their music. Formed via an advert in a Hollywood newspaper looking for four well-groomed and safe, mop-top, pin-ups for a TV comedy show, Davy Jones, Micky Dolenz, Peter Thorkelson and Michael Nesmith became sensations on both sides of the Atlantic.

Think of the Sixties and you see four long-haired boys running around dressed in orange shirts, tight jeans and cuban heels, being chased by long-haired, mini-skirted lovlies, set to some of the best pop music ever written – well, I do anyway.

And it’s little wonder the music was so good, given that it was written by some of the most renowned songwriters in American pop history: Gerry Goffin and Carole King, Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwhich, Neil Sadaka, Neil Diamond, Carole Bayer Sager – as well as The Monkees themselves.

Their look and sound and the notion that four boys could live together in a beach house making music has inspired countless garage bands, indie groups and other TV shows – remember S Club 7?

But it was 45 years ago. And Michael Nesmith is no longer among the Pre-fab Four, so what on earth could three, let’s facing ‘aging’ actors/pop stars give in a live show that wouldn’t turn out to be, well, a little sad? I certainly didn’t want my huge affection for the group to be diminished.

The set of this, the last leg of their UK tour, started with a film montage of those mad-cap days which almost brought a lump to my throat – a bit like when I went to see Hard Day’s Night at the Broadway cinema. You feel so happy to see it, but sad it’s all gone.


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