June 20, 2001
Hear no evil. See no evil. Speak no evil.
Story and Photos by Phil BonyataSkipping out arm in arm and leg in leg (just like the intro to their famous TV show The Monkees) Micky Dolenz, Davy Jones and Peter Tork entered the Coronado Theater in Rockford, IL Monkee style. Every middle aged person in the audience hummed "Hey Hey it's the Monkees..." as the the three hugged and took their spots on stage. The fourth Monkee, and what many consider to be the most musically gifted of the group, Mike Nesmith tends to stay away from all these reunion tours.
All three looking fit, but a bit older, except for the ageless Davy Jones, wasted no time for salutations and kicked right into "Last Train to Clarksville." Micky handled the vocals with a statesman aplomb. Actually Micky, usually behind the drum kit, started the first four songs out in front with the others. The back up band lent a percussive foundation to the sometimes front court wanderings. There was a Vegas appeal to the show. Mixing up laugh at yourself humor, a slick but stripped down production set and some pretty darn good pop music, incidentally written by the likes of Carole King, Neil Diamond and Neil Sedaka, and this show would feel right at home as a permanent guest of the Stardust.
Peter Tork, you remember - the funny one, claimed "I don't get to sing lead vocals very often so every chance I get ..." and proceeded into the magic mushroom psychedelia of "Can You Dig It" from the cult film "HEAD" which was written by a very young Jack Nicholson. The Monkees didn't disappoint the many screeching moms, and yes, grandmas in the audience. The Monkees fan club in attendance reinvented the buzz of their youth in a genuine and enthusiastic response to the show. The majority seemed to let go and not care that what is perceived by journalists and today's youth as irrelevant can still be cool especially in the camaraderie of people reliving the memories of their youth as if it were yesterday. The pop harmonies and rock quirkiness came through loud and clear on the Monkees many hits like "I'm a Believer," "(I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone" and "Daydream Believer."
Even Monkees have traits that evolution can't better when there's no room for improvement.
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