.

Monkees Delight Believers in Reunion Tour Kickoff

California show features sweet tributes to the late Davy Jones

The Monkees perform at the California Center for the Arts in Escondido, California.
Rebecca Joelson
November 9, 2012 11:45 AM ET

When the Monkees stepped onstage at Escondido's California Center for the Arts on Thursday night, the packed audience greeted them with an eruption of screams. For a band that once regularly got mobbed by packs of teenage girls, it must've felt like old times.

Performing together for the first time in 15 years, Monkees Michael Nesmith, Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork played all the hits and plenty of b-sides in a crowd-pleasing, nearly two-hour set. They also paid tribute to beloved bandmate Davy Jones, who died of a heart attack in February at age 66.

In the most touching moment of the concert – which marked the first stop on a 12-date U.S. tour – the band led the room in a convivial rendition of "Daydream Believer," which was normally sung by the baby-faced Jones. As two women from the front row sang with Dolenz onstage, people rose from their seats and swayed side by side, waving their arms while belting out the words.

the monkees escondido
Micky Dolenz of The Monkees perform at the California Center for the Arts in Escondido, California.
Rebecca Joelson

Joined onstage by a solid backing band, Dolenz, Tork and Nesmith didn't sound quite as sprightly as they did when they first achieved fame as stars of their mid-Sixties TV sitcom. Still, they were undoubtedly Monkees, hamming it up, exchanging silly banter and joking about Nesmith's recent return to the fold. (Though he joined the band for some U.K. dates in 1997, he hasn't played with them on any reunion tours since they broke up in 1971.)

At one point, the group did a little comic routine. Before playing the Nesmith-penned tune "Daily Nightly," Dolenz had something extra-special to tell the audience – Nesmith had procured a rare, vintage Moog synthesizer to perform the song. In exchange, Dolenz said, he had the lyrics to the song printed in 24-karat gold leaf.

There was just one problem: "I didn't get the Moog," Nesmith confessed. However, he did get a picture of a Moog, which popped up on a big video screen behind the band.

Throughout the show, the band honored Jones' memory with recordings and video. At one point the lights went down, the band went quiet and a recording of Jones singing "I Wanna Be Free" came over the sound system. Meanwhile, vintage footage played of him walking along the beach . . . in flattering red swim shorts, naturally.

the monkees escondido
The Monkees perform at the California Center for the Arts in Escondido, California.
Rebecca Joelson

Later, in a nod to Jones' enviable dancing skills, the backing band plugged along to the Harry Nilsson-penned tune "Daddy's Song." The screen showed a dashing Jones letting loose in clips from the Monkees' 1968 film, Head.

Looking on were little kids, middle-aged folks and plenty of gray-haired fans who'd been around to see the Monkees on TV. One woman came with a vintage Monkees postcard photo that she'd gotten when she wrote them a fan letter many years ago.

When it came time to play "Daydream Believer," the Monkees had their adoring audience in mind. Onstage, Dolenz explained that the band had discussed who should sing the song, only to conclude that it should be the fans.

"It doesn't belong to us anymore," he told the audience. "It belongs to you."

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

prev
Music Main Next

blog comments powered by Disqus
Around the Web
Powered By ZergNet
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.

X

We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“Fantasy”

Mariah Carey | 1995

Serendipity stuck when Mariah Carey rediscovered the glitchy Tom Tom Club hook, a sample of which is the heart of this upbeat slice of dance pop. "I had the melody idea for 'Fantasy' and I was listening to the radio and heard 'Genius of Love,' and I hadn't heard it in a long time," Carey said. "It reminded me of growing up and listening to the radio and that feeling the song gave me seemed to go with the melody and basic idea I had for 'Fantasy.' I initially told [co-writer] Dave Hall about the idea, and we did it. We called up the Tom Tom Club and they were really into it."

More Song Stories entries »
 
www.expandtheroom.com