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The Monkees At Westbury – July 19, 2013

July 20, 2013 by  
Filed under Fred Velez, news feed

Photo by Jennifer Winkle

The Monkees At Westbury – July 19, 2013

by Fred Velez

One of the first concerts I saw on the massive Monkees 1986 20th anniversary reunion tour took place at the famous Westbury Music Fair in Long Island, New York. To this day I still recall the excitement and the screams from the fans when the Monkees took the revolving stage at Westbury for the first of many outstanding shows on that famous stage. July 19th, 2013 marked a first for both the Monkees and Westbury. It was the first Monkees concert to take place at Westbury without Davy Jones who passed away the previous year and who had done many great shows there with the Monkees and on his own, in particular, the 1998 Teen Idols tour with Peter Noone and Bobby Sherman. However, it was not only the very first Monkees concert at Westbury to feature Michael Nesmith as part of the band but also Nesmith’s first ever appearance at Westbury which made it a musical milestone. As such, the show was magical and memorable on many levels.

Because of the video screen, the stage which usually revolves was kept stationary, which limited views from some parts of the theater. After a brief video introduction, Peter Tork, Micky Dolenz and Michael Nesmith took the Westbury stage to wild cheers and along with their back-up band, the Monkees launched right into their first hit single ‘Last Train To Clarksville’. This was followed by Nesmith’s first vocal of the evening ‘Papa Gene’s Blues’. I was sitting on the side of the stage closest to Mike and from time to time he would turn and warmly wave to our section and the fans cheerfully returned his greeting. Peter Tork followed with a spirited version of ‘Auntie Grizelda’, Peter being very animated and all over the stage with great energy throughout the evenings performances. Mike then launched into one of the newer songs added to this years’ set list, ‘The Kind Of Girl I Could Love’ from the ‘More of the Monkees’ album, one of my early favorites of his and a big favorite of the crowd who sang along with him as Nesmith strummed his famous Gretch guitar, the arrangement giving it the jangly feel of a classic Buddy Holly song. Micky and the band burst forth with a blistering version of ‘She’ also from the ‘More’ album, with Micky and Peter engaging in some wacky onstage antics. A slower and mesmerizing version of ‘Sweet Young Thing’ was performed that totally transformed the song and made it seem like new. Then Micky introduced ‘I’m A Believer’ by declaring, especially to the delight of the younger fans in attendance, “I sang this song BEFORE Shrek!!!”.

Unlike last years’ tour, there were no extensive tributes to the late Davy Jones, but videos from the various last minute interviews from the TV series were interspersed during parts of the performance to give the Monkees and the band some break time. The video clips didn’t all center on Davy but showed him within the context of the band. While I missed the previous years tributes, I felt that these clips were appropriate too as they emphasized that Davy, though sadly no longer with us, was still a member of the Monkees.

The segment of the show dedicated to the Monkees classic album ‘Headquarters’ was well received by the Westbury crowd, cheering and singing along to Nesmith songs like ‘You Told Me’, ‘Sunny Girlfriend’ and ‘You Just May Be The One’. Peter gave a sincere vocal to a lovely rendition of ‘Early Morning Blues & Greens’, the only Monkee song of the evening associated with Davy Jones that was sung by another member of the band. Dave Alexander beautifully recreated Peter’s original organ solo from the song. For ‘The Girl I Knew Somewhere’ Mike took the lead vocals for his song while Peter faithfully recreated his harpsichord solo to the vocal approval of the fans. With the entrance of the kettle drum, Micky prepared himself for his performance of ‘Randy Scouse Git’ by the traditional adornment of his ‘tablecloth/curtains’ and regaled us with the songs’ origin of the 1967 Beatles party and how it became known as ‘Alternate Title’ in England, then attacked the kettle drum in a very spirited performance of the song. ‘No Time’ returned to the set with each Monkee taking a verse, though it seemed Mike forgot his and just made up his own nonsense lyrics to the amusement of Micky and Peter. ‘Words’ was another returnee from the 2011 tour with Micky and Peter singing the songs’ ‘call and response’ sections.

Micky and Mike performed their routine for ‘Daily Nightly’ with Micky singing while Mike vocally recreated the Moog synthesizer sounds from the original song to the hysterics of the crowd. They followed it with ‘Goin’ Down’ with Micky commanding the stage as the band grooved along. Next up was the spotlight on the Monkees movie ‘Head’, with clips of the film projected on the video screens as the Monkees performed the movies’ songs, starting with ‘Porpoise Song’, complete with Micky on drums as the band played the extended coda from the original single. ‘Can You Dig It?’ followed with Peter taking the lead vocals with longtime band member Aviva Maloney contributing a great solo on soprano sax. Nesmith was next with a blistering version of ‘Circle Sky’ which had the fans roaring with approval. The mood slowed down with the soothing ‘As We Go Along’ with Micky giving a great understated vocal. The house rocked again with Peter leading the band through a wild and enthusiastic rendition of ‘Long Title: Do I Have To Do This Over Again?’ with guitar licks being traded between Peter and musical band leader Wayne Avers. The stage lights dimmed as the video screen showed Davy Jones in his performance of ‘Daddy’s Song’ from the movie ‘Head’. Unlike last years’ tour where the band played live over Davy’s recorded vocal of the song, just the recorded version of the song was heard. While it was disappointing that the band didn’t play live, it was still nice to see Davy giving this sterling performance from the movie with the audience applauding wildly and emotionally at this tribute to his greatly missed talent.

The familiar keyboard opening of ‘Daydream Believer’ elicited more applause as Micky explained that the song now belonged to the fans as he invited a young female fan onstage to sing the song and lead the rest of the audience in an emotional sing-a-long while images of Davy Jones flashed on the video screen, a definite highlight of the evening.

The evening started winding up with Nesmith singing ‘What Am I Doing Hangin’ Round?’ quickly followed by ‘Listen To The Band’, with Micky introducing the other musicians onstage, which included Micky’s sister Coco on background vocals and Nesmith’s son Christian on guitar. After briefly leaving and returning to the stage for the encore, Peter recited ‘Peter Percival Patterson’s Pet Pig Porky’ from the ‘Pisces’ album, which was slightly ruined with some audience members prematurely shouting out the verses before Peter to his chagrin and to the amusement of Micky and Mike, though Peter got them back at them by adding in the ‘pops’ that the fans kept leaving out. The evening ended with a great version of ‘Pleasant Valley Sunday’ with Mike recreating his guitar riff of the song along with Wayne Avers. The audience gave the Monkees and their band a well deserved standing ovation.

It was a wonderful, memorable performance by the Monkees and another magical notch in the Monkees belt on the famous Westbury stage. If you haven’t gotten your tickets to see the Monkees on their Summer 2013 Tour, don’t delay, this is too good a show to miss.

The Monkees Westbury Set List:

Last Train To Clarksville
Papa Gene’s Blues
Auntie Grizelda
The Kind Of Girl I Could Love
Sweet Young Thing
I’m A Believer
(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone
You Told Me
Sunny Girlfriend
You Just May Be The One
Mary, Mary
The Girl I Knew Somewhere
Early Morning Blues and Greens
Randy Scouse Git
For Pete’s Sakes
No Time
Daily Nightly
Tapioca Tundra
Goin’ Down
Porpoise Song
Can You Dig It?
As We Go Along
Long Title: Do I Have To Do This Over Again?
Daddy’s Song (film)
Daydream Believer
What Am I Doing Hangin’ Round
Listen To The Band
Peter Percival Patterson’s Pet Pig Porky
Pleasant Valley Sunday

Fred Velez, 2013


4 Responses to “The Monkees At Westbury – July 19, 2013”
  1. keithkjm says:

    I was at this show in Westbury and agree wholeheartedly with the review. This concert was a great time from start to finish and kept the audience completely entertained for 2+hrs. The video clips were also an excellent touch. I attended the show last year at The Beacon Theatre, another excellent show, and I have to say that I liked this one even more, and that’s saying something. Last years show had more of a memorial feel to it(RIP Davy)while this show felt more like a rock & roll celebration. The fact that they continued to include a tribute to their fallen comrade during the Westbury show was another highlight and classy touch. I highly recommend this show to every Monkees fan and greatly encourage you to try and see it if you are lucky enough to get the opportunity. Just an overall great night!

  2. cathyhouston says:

    The only problem I found was Peter’s mike. It needs to be turned up a bit. Otherwise it was a wonderful night with lots of kids in the audience.

  3. cathyhouston says:

    Sorry, spellee Mic wrong.

  4. destes says:

    Thank you for the review Keithkjm I get to see them one week from today July 28 in Clearwater Florida and I cannot wait. I got second row seats and this will be my first time ever seeing Michael Nesmith. Florida did not get included with any of the memorial concerts they did last year when they did there tributes to Davy. I did go to the convention in NJ in March and made a lot of friends and I think Monkee fans are all like one big family. I am glad you had a good time…

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