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The Creswell Chronicle in Creswell, Oregon

July 14, 2011 by  
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Story and photo by Victoria DeLeon

Last weekend I had the privilege to attend the Monkees 45th Anniversary Reunion Tour in Ridgefield, Wash. Being in my early 20s, my limited exposure to the Monkees has consisted only of old recordings and reruns on TV, in addition to many a reminiscent retelling of my mother’s youthful adoration of Davy Jones.

I’ve always appreciated the upbeat, family-friendly songs and the sense of humor that goes along with them, but with titles like “Auntie Griselda” and “Porpoise Song” and TV episodes brimming with slapstick comedy, I’ve often felt it difficult to take them seriously.

“They weren’t even a real band,” Mom said, explaining that the mid-60s sensation started as a fictional group of young musicians who were wont to get into sticky situations and overlay double-timed chase scenes with their radio hits.

“It wasn’t until later that they really got into the music,” she added. “But people were crazy about them; they were like the American Beatles.”

Forty-five years later, the Monkees haven’t skipped a beat.

The touring members of the band, which did not include Mike Nesmith, appeared to enjoy performing together again, poking fun at themselves and at their age. Davy Jones, upon taking the stage, said, “I’m Davy’s father. Davy’ll be out in a few minutes.” Likewise, Peter Tork didn’t hesitate to point to Davy’s hair as he sang the last line in “Shades of Gray.” Chuckles arose from a diversely comprised crowd, which was an interesting mix of young and old, male and female, fanatics and lukewarm fans.

But the Monkees’ age was no hindrance to their abilities. My mom, who attended the concert with me, said, “I don’t think I could keep up with them, and they have about 15 years on me.”

Micky Dolenz’s performance of “Going Down” had just as much soul as it did when he was young. Peter’s French horn solos were still enough to bring listeners to tears. Davy can still wear a white suit and dance across the stage like the Artful Dodger. I walked out of the show with a new perspective.

Whether or not they were the real thing in the beginning, their talent is indisputable. Each member of the band plays several instruments (this, of course, includes the tambourine) and sings multiple parts. Though other songwriters wrote many of their early recordings, the Monkees wrote several of their own hits later on — and the music is only a portion of their ability to entertain.

The reunion show was full of subtle comedy and flawless, live music against a backdrop of old photos and scenes from the Monkees TV show and music videos. Peter Tork filled in on the vocal performances where Nesmith would typically sing.

After the encore, Micky, Davy and Peter exited to the Monkees’ theme song with the familiar line-dance-style walk to match, and comedic, Monkees-typical attempts at stage-hogging during the final applause.

While many musicians fail to replicate the quality of their recordings when performing live, the Monkees had an energy that only a live performance could convey. While many musicians lose vocal quality or physical abilities over time, the Monkees have aged like fine French cheese, bringing their old talents to the table with the added flavor of wisdom and experience.

via The Creswell Chronicle in Creswell, Oregon – Community News and Visitor Information.

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