I'm sure there are a lot of people who consider The Monkees to be a guilty pleasure, but I’m not one of them.
Despite plenty of ribbing from friends and co-workers over the years, I have never felt guilty about being a fan of the 1960s made-for-TV band.
So what if The Monkees did not write the lyrics or play the instruments on their early hits? The undeniable fact is that The Monkees have an extensive catalog of great pop songs that have stood the test of time.
That's why I was so excited to see my favorite Monkee, Micky Dolenz (pictured), play Sunday night at the Dundalk Heritage Fair.
Dolenz is now 64, so I didn’t know what to expect, but he and his band performed with verve and put on a fun show.
Remarkably, Dolenz’s voice didn’t sound much different than it did during The Monkees' heyday more than 40 years ago. ...
The 19-song set list included Monkees classics such as I'm A Believer," "Last Train to Clarksville," "Daydream Believer," "Pleasant Valley Sunday" and "(I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone," as well as a handful of cover tunes. Dolenz's sister, Coco, who sings background vocals, took center stage to perform "Different Drum," the Linda Rondstadt song that was written by former Monkee Mike Nesmith, and The Jefferson Airplane's psychedelic hit, "White Rabbit."
In an interview that I did with Dolenz last week, he said that he tries to remain faithful to the original songs when performing them live, and that was the case.
He opened with "That Was Then, This Is Now," which was the hit single from The Monkees' big 1986 reunion. It's hard to believe that The Monkees' comeback single is now older than the original Monkees songs were at the time of that revival.
One of the highlights of Sunday's show was "Goin' Down," a high-energy, scat-style song that Dolenz performed while sashaying back and forth across the stage. After the song was over, Dolenz jokingly said, "Now I gotta go get some CPR."
At various points in the concert, Dolenz told stories before playing covers that were related to them. For example, he played "Purple Haze" when talking about the opening act for The Monkees' first tour – an up-and-coming guitarist named Jimi Hendrix. He also performed Johnny B. Goode, which is the song he did when he auditioned for The Monkees television show, and "Oh Darling," a Beatles song that he watched the Fab Four record in a London studio.
Dolenz ended the 70-minute set with The Monkees' signature hit, "I’m a Believer." When introducing the song, Dolenz said he had a message for the little kids in the audience. "I was singing this song long before Shrek."
That Was Then, This is Now
A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You
Sometime in the Morning
Last Train to Clarksville
Johnny B. Goode
The Girl That I Knew Somewhere
(I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone
Pleasant Valley Sunday
Gimme Some Lovin'
I'm a Believer