When I was in 2nd grade, we lived in Wichita, KS, and I was just barely starting to notice cute musicians. The Monkees were two years into their fast-paced career, and I loved You-Know-Who – Davy Jones.
My grandmother could afford to subscribe to TV Guide – we couldn’t – so she neatly tore out an article about the insanely popular Monkees (close to the binding, so the pages wouldn’t tear) and mailed it to me. I can still remember my name and address on the outside of the envelope written in her recognizable cursive.
I also vividly remember gently unfolding those 4×6-sized pages and reading every word about my heartthrob band. I was a Monkees fan , and on the outside chance I ever got to meet Davy Jones, I wanted to have something good to say, like, “I read about you in my grandmother’s TV Guide.”
I never saw Davy Jones before he passed away in 2012, but Mike and I did see Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork last week when these two of the remaining Monkees came to Austin for a show at the Paramount Theater on Congress Avenue.
We didn’t know what to expect. I mean, after all, Micky Dolenz is 71 YEARS OLD, for crying out loud. Would he walk with a cane? Would all their songs be lip-synced? Would anyone even be there to watch this concert with us? Answers: NO, an emphatically resounding NO, and a big fat YES. The Paramount was packed.
Ol’ Micky and Peter still have it (mostly) going on.
They performed and entertained the house for over two hours and did not disappoint in the least. With the exception of the two stodgy squares sitting on my left, there was not a person in the crowd who didn’t sing along, clap, cheer and laugh. We were all teeny boppers again, and it was – what’s the right word? Exhilarating!
One couple up in the box seating couldn’t sit still at all. They just got up and danced like their momma wasn’t watching.
The two Monkees did bring a band of talented musicians to back them up (including Micky’s sister), but we were amazed at the way these two old guys could still belt it out. As for their appearance, I wouldn’t have recognized Peter in a crowd, but Micky’s mischievous face is still unmistakable, and he wears a cute fedora-style hat to cover up whatever might not still be there.
A constant stream of clips from the Monkees’ tv show played behind the performers, so if you didn’t really look too closely at the old guys, you could just pretend it was the young ones. And really, we were all pretending anyway, partying like it was 1967. (Ugh – I had to go there, didn’t I?)
The Monkees even have a new recording, released last May, a 50th anniversary project with Rhino Records. When Micky sang “She Makes Me Laugh” from the new album – this was so sweet – Mike said it must have been written about me. Awwwwww.
(This is where my overfifty-er men readers should perk up and rush to their laptops to buy tickets for two to the nearest Monkees appearance.)
After leading the evening with “The Last Train to Clarksville,” every story and every song was fantastic and provided plenty of sing-along opportunities for the devoted crowd that we were. We were all singing as one voice. I-I-I-I-I’m Not Your Steppin’ Stone was sung as rousingly as Sweet Caroline at a Red Sox game in Fenway Park.
BUT – when Peter said the next song would be special, and they had a recording of everyone’s beloved Davy singing it, THE CROWD WENT WILD!!!
Even the men. Everyone stood up and sang and cried a little, and some tried to mirror the Davy we were watching on the screen, swaying so easy back and forth like those white dress shoes had Vaseline on the soles. He had that signature dance-in-one-spot move that has yet to be rivaled. Two swaying swipes left, one swaying swipe right. Great 70’s haircut, red polyester pants, white belt, silky shirt with big cuffs, and sleeves that floated like angel’s wings. (Ok, almost.) Yep, everyone, but everyone in the room knew the words to Daydream Believer.
Some of our friends said they didn’t give a Flip Wilson about going to see the Monkees. They missed out.
After an encore and a wave goodbye, the wild crowd settled down and left the theater together, patting each other on the back and hugging random strangers like we knew each other from when there was no Internet.
Mike and I walked home holding hands the whole way down Congress Avenue – me, thanking him for getting the tickets, and him singing:
She makes me laugh, she makes me smile
And I could hang out with her all day and night
She makes me laugh, she makes me cry
And I would like to be with her for a while
Encouraging intentional adventure and sometimes being in the crowd that goes wild,
PS – We were grilling dinner at the community grill where we live right before we went to the show. A young UT Law student was out there and we had a nice chat. She said she had actually seen the Monkees before with her mom (lol) and loved their show. Got the t-shirt and everything. What about you? Have you seen them? Were you a Davy Jones fan?