Review: The Monkees @ The Palais Theatre, Melbourne

by Paul Cashmere, Noise11

The first episode of The Monkees aired on September 12, 1966. After two seasons and 58 episodes the show went off the air and the legacy began.

50 years on Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork are not only touring The Monkees around the world but this year also released a new album, Good Times, that captured the essence of the original group and totally refreshed the story.

Micky Dolenz is as surprised that they are still going as fans are as happy to see it happening. “When we started in 1966, 50 years early, it was 1916. This is like if we would have seen Al Jolson performing his 50th anniversary when we were starting out,” Micky told Noise11 before the show.

For the audience, it was all about great songs from a great era and for the 50th Anniversary shows, Dolenz and Tork deliver exactly want the audience wanted to hear, over two plus hours including Davy.

Technology allows for Davy to be very much a part of the shows with his image throughout on the screen and vocals from his early recordings and videos well placed to produce the right sound at the right time, especially for ‘Daydream Believer’.

Davy Jones and Micky Dolenz were the two main voices of The Monkees. Davy was the pop star, Micky the rock star. Their individual songs were distinct. Micky was lead on many of the biggest hits including Last Train To Clarksville, Pleasant Valley Sunday and I’m A Believer but for me his shining moment was his self-penned Randy Scouse Git, written in London after a night out partying with The Beatles. Micky donned his old “table-cloth’ and brought out the Timpani for the song.

The other founding member Mike Nesmith is not with the tour. Mike has appeared on a few on this world tour and has Skyped in occasionally but the time-zone difference between Australia and the USA make that difficult to do here.

Peter steps up to cover many of the songs Mike and Davy originally sang and Micky’s sister Coca is also on backing vocals filling vocals gaps for the missing two.

The new songs from Good Times work remarkably well with the show. XTC’s Andy Partridge contributed She Brings The Summer, Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo’s She Makes Me Laugh and Ben Gibbard of Death Cab For Cutie’s Me & Magdelena bring a 21st century relevance to The Monkees.

The Monkees represent an era in music that sadly, as the years have gone by, means we are seeing less and less of live. This is a show worth seeing just because you may never see it again.

The set list:

Set 1
  • Listen to the Band (from The Monkees Present, 1969)
  • Last Train to Clarksville (from The Monkees, 1966)
  • Saturday’s Child (from The Monkees, 1966)
  • Your Auntie Grizelda (from More of the Monkees, 1967)
  • She (from More of the Monkees, 1967)
  • A Little Bit Me, a Little Bit You (single, 1967)
  • She Makes Me Laugh (from Good Times, 2016)
  • The Girl I Knew Somewhere (from Headquarters, 1967)
  • Look Out (Here Comes Tomorrow) (from More of the Monkees, 1967)
  • You Bring the Summer (from Good Times, 2016)
  • Good Clean Fun (from Instant Replay, 1969)
  • Shades of Gray (from Headquarters, 1967)
  • Me & Magdelena (from Good Times, 2016)
  • Papa Gene’s Blues (from The Monkees, 1966)
  • Randy Scouse Git (from Headquarters, 1967)
  • Oh My My (from Changes, 1970)
  • For Pete’s Sake (from Headquarters, 1967)
  • (You’re Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher & Higher (from 2001: Live in Las Vegas, 2001)
  • Let’s Dance On (from The Monkees, 1966)
Set 2
  • Mary, Mary (from More of the Monkees, 1967)
  • Circle Sky (from Justus, 1996)
  • Porpoise Song (Theme From “Head”) (from Head, 1968)
  • Long Title: Do I Have to Do This All Over Again? (from Head, 1968)
  • (I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone (from More of the Monkees, 1967)
  • Words (from Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd, 1967)
  • Goin’ Down (from Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd, 1967)
  • D.W. Washburn (single, 1968)
  • What Am I Doin’ Hangin’ ’round? (from Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd, 1967)
  • Daydream Believer (from The Birds, The Bees and the Monkees, 1968)
Encore

  • Pleasant Valley Sunday (from Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd, 1967)
  • I’m a Believer (from More of the Monkees, 1967)

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