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Monkees United Kingdom Tour Reports 1997

 

Dublin Concert 10 March 1997

From: jemooney@indigo.ie (Jeff Mooney)

 

Setlist

 

1. Last Train

2. I'm a Believer

3. Regional Girl

4. Sunny Girlfriend

5. Mary Mary

6. You And I (Justus)

7. Randy Scouse Git

8. Shades of Grey

9. Oh What A Night

10. You Just may Be The One

11. Circle Sky

12. Peter's Bach Piece (What's it Called?)

13. Rio by Mike

14. Lucille by Peter

15. Since I Fell For You??? by Micky

16. Daddy's Song by Davy (The highlight of the show for me!!)

17. For Pete's sake

18. A Little Bit me

19. Auntie Grizelda

20. Valleri

21. Goin'Down

22. Daydream Believer

23. Listen To The Band

24. Porpoise Song

25. Stepping Stone

26. Pleasant Valley Sunday

 

 

Concert Review

From: Simon Doyle

 

Here's a bit more about the show:

First set:

The guys' stage suits are matching, but not identical. They have at least two colours, midnight-blue/ purple and burgandy red, that I have seen. Mike wears a double breasted jacket with a white roll-neck under it; Peter wears similar with a white open collar shirt; Micky has a single breasted jacket over a tee-shirt, and Davy has a nehru three-quarter length coat. Mike plays Fender tele/ strat type guitars (didn't remember to look at which) and stands to the right at a fixed microphone; Davy plays electro-acoustic guitar, tambourines, maracas etc. using hand-held, fixed and headset mikes.

 

The Theme (ABC Special Version?) [tape]

Last Train to Clarksville

After an explosion of fireworks, and an acknowledgement of the audience, they rip into this and you realise that it really is them, and they really can play, and it *is* just like thirty years ago, and they are *HERE*.

I'm a Believer

Delivering the second blow of a one-two punch, this allows Peter to switch to keyboards from bass, and I think Davy went to electro-acoustic guitar.

Regional Girl

A real experiment in timing: they perform this to the video. They were nervous about it on Friday, but got it spot on, with lip synching accuracy. Given that it was driven by Micky's drumming, and he was singing too, it was a bravura display. However the momentum was lost, as it was totally unfamiliar to the audience, and they didn't know whether to look at the screens or the stage.

Sunny Girlfriend

Nezgrunge, with the wonderful harmonies showing how well their voices all blend together. The audience were won back again.

Mary, Mary

This went for a wander on Friday, as Nez turned it into a bit of a free-form jazz oddysey (actually I think he just fluffed a few chord changes), but it was reined in again on Saturday.

You and I

Again with the video playing. Nez waltzed about like he was skating, and Davy was very Davy. They really lost the audience a bit here, as 1) the song was new, 2) so was the video, and 3) it was followed by the shopping channel skit on the video screens; totally unfamiliar references to the majority of a UK audience ("Martha who"?)

Alternate Title (Randy Scouse Git)

The skit was shown to allow the timpani to be wheeled on. Very effective lighting on this; Davy played the kettle-drums, and they had him in sort of sillouhette for a lot of it. He got to mug A lot on this, especially when issued with some huge cymbals; he staggered about as he played them, then smashed them on the floor at the end.

Shades of Gray

Davy sang this solo, which is a pity, as I think of i as a Peter song. Davy again raised a warm laugh, by running his fingers through his hair on the last chorus.

Oh What A Night

Another Davy number, and I can't remember anything about it I'm afraid.

You Just May Be the One

Nez worked up a running gag during the intro for this and other songs:

that almost regardless of whether it was true or not, he would say something to the effect of that this is a song from our album, "Headquarters". A great song, and storming when live.

Circle Sky

What a way to go out on for the first half!

Monkee walk and off!

 

The solo set:

****

Peter: Bach Two Part Invention in F

Adept and adroit. On Friday, after they finished

their set, DM&M sort of formed a crowd and shouldered

past him as they left the stage, leaving him plantively

calling out, "Guys! Hey! Guys!?", before shrugging his

shoulders and sitting down to play. Sturday, they all

leave in the Monkee walk, then Peter sneaks back on,

looks about, grins, cracks his knuckles, and rattles

this off with a flourish. The support band (guitar/

drums/keyboard and sax come on during this to set up.

I've got a note of their names somewhere, just not here.)

Mike: Laugh Kills Lonesome

Mike returns in black Levi 501s, white shirt and a

neckerchief (either that or there is blue and white

detailing on the inside of his collar). He explains

that they will each do a song from their respective

backgrounds, and that his song is about the LKL

painting which is showing on the screens. Unfortunately

it was completely out of focus on Friday, which made

it more abstract than intended. It also disappears half

way through, to be replaced by the cover illustration

from "...Tropical Campfire's...", which is a little

confusing, as it isn't explained. People at the back

might have preferred a bit of Nez on the screens

instead, I don't know. I'm also not certain it really

represents Nez in my mind, but it's interesting none

the less that *he* thinks it does.

Peter: Lucille

This was described by one of the critics yesterday as

being like something his uncle Frank would play if drunk:

if this is the case I'd advise anyone to sign up that man's

uncle, because this was absolutely killer stuff. Rocking

electric slide guitar, which were to me like something

Danny Gatton or Elvin Bishop would have been very proud

to have done. Also notable as one of only two lead vocals

by Peter a bit of a mistake it would seem in light of

just how good his voice is on this. More! More! BTW, he

wears his jeans with the ripped knees, a white shirt and

an orange waistcoat with gold stars on it (I think he

wears it in the special), and uses a head-set mike.

Wow! He *is* good!

Micky: Since I Fell For You

Again, wow! Not a song I know, nor exactly what I

expected from Micky, but he says it was in his set

with The One-Nighters. A slow smokey blues ballad,

beautifully sung, in a manner approximating kd lang's

'Shadowland' album. He wears a sort of satiny blue

top-thing and grey trousers, I think, but I was

watching his face go through the wringer as he

sang it, so I can't be sure.

Davy: Daddy's Song

This proves a little of Davy goes a long way: he's

only lttle, and he certainly goes a long way all

over the stage in fact, and at high speed. If he can

keep this up for two weeks, he's got to be super-fit.

It is in essence the dance he does with Toni Basil(e),

except without a partner. He wears an oversized floppy

black shirt, and white trousers, which adds to the

effect as he zips about the stage, skipping and

high-kicking. He goes down on his knee for the last

verse as in the film, and then comes a truly inspired

idea (if and when it works: it did in Newcastle,

it didn't in Glasgow). The show uses two video cameras

at the front of the stage (and I think there must be a

third over Micky's drum riser pointing down at him) to

display live video on the screens at either side of the

stage. At the moment the song went into its last chorus,

and timed to the beats, the video display cut from one

camera to the other, pointing at Davy as he danced across

the stage, and giving a very neat tip of the hat to the

movie. A real stand out moment!

****

I've remembered what I forgot about Oh What A Night! At the

end of the number on Saturday night, Davy walks over to Mike

and said: "I thought I heard some Peter and Gordon licks in

there", at which Mike puts on this sort of fixed grin, goofy

face, and very deliberately plays the licks over again, with

exagerated hand movements, which got a laugh and a round of

applause, which he milked by doing his little curtsey thing.

Davy goes: "Yeah, it was *definitely* Peter and Gordon!" and

walks away. Nez sez, "It was 'Gordon and Peter', if you ask

Gordon!"

 

(I realise that I've lost track of exactly where the

video bits fit in, but I'm *fairly* certain I'm right.)

The solo set was followed by the Ethel Merman section

of the special, and it got more groans than laughs,

so again, maybe it's not quite the right material for

the show. But it did allow for the next costume change.

****

Second Set:

Mike: White double breasted tuxedo, white trousers,

white shirt and orange bow-tie; Peter: White double-

breasted tuxedo with shawl collar, white trousers,

orange shirt with open collar and a wide, square cut

dark blue tie; Micky: White single-breasted tuxedo

with shawl collar, white trousers, orange tee-shirt

and black leather gloves [one of my friends commented

that it made him look like a Bond villain, which was

meant as a compliment...]; Davy: White nehru three-

quarter length jacket, over a black (?) shirt and

white trousers.

The support band members remain on stage, but Micky

takes over on the main drum-kit, and the second

drummer does percussion.

For Pete's Sake

Mike surprises by going to Peter's keyboards instead

of his guitar, and with much feigned preparation he

plays the organ parts for this number. Obviously aware

of what I said previously, Bill and Ted go back in time

and give the lead vocal on this to Peter, bringing his

total of lead vocals to three, not two as I said

yesterday. I was so busy watching Nez that I forgot to

see if Peter plays the funny B11 (?) chord for the intro

that I've tried to copy for years, and have never been

certain I'm right. Having done his bit, Nez then does

an exaggerated swagger back across the stage to his

position.

A Little Bit You, A Little Bit Me

The harmonies on this are wonderful! Whatever is said

about how the group was formed, I think the thing that

makes it more than just any four people being allowed

to sing is just how well their voices blend together;

there may be people equally competent musically, but

the magic comes in the sound they produce. It just

cracks along too, so it really got the audience going.

Goin' Down

Micky makes pop-singers half his age look feeble, in

an all singing all dancing, rocking version of this

song, where the big-band sound is replaced by guitars.

He "builds up" the intro, by adding each instrumen in

turn. Amongst all the other "never thoughts" abounding

over the week-end, I never thought I'd see a Nesmith-

ork-Jones guitar section in action, lined up side-by-

side, and playing for all they are worth, and I *never*

thought I could look at it and *not* think it looked a

bit silly - but I could! Davy really makes his mark.

Micky though really is the high-point of this, and it

was only a pity that his excellent diction was masked

by a hand held microphone with a real lack of clarity

[it sounded the same both nights, and muffled his

introduction of the backing band during the intro].

He also works in a very fast joke: towards the end

he tosses the mike back and forth between his hands,

whilst turning his head from side to side; he

inevitably ends up with the mike held away from him,

and his head turned the wrong way toward his empty

hand. He ends with a burst of really frenetic dancing

with a strobe light going off in front of him.

Between all the singing and drumming that he does (and

he really puts himself into the drumming: no wonder he

appeared to be nursing a sore shoulder at the HRC!)

it's going to be interesting to see if he can sustain

the pace.

Your Auntie Grizelda

Peter struts his stuff along the front of the stage,

playing the crowd like a pro. He leaps from the stage

to the tops of the big speaker cabinets to face the

extremes of the crowd, and spends a bit of time at

various points on the stage to let people see him.

He even does a strip-tease with his jacket, opening

first one half then the other, swinging it round over

his head, and finally throwing into the wings.

I haven't a clue what anyone else does or plays during

this song - you just *have* to watch Peter. PS: There's

something very similar to Michael Palin in how Peter

looks at the moment...

Valleri

Well this one seems to be done [although it remains

completely unsaid by those involved] just to *prove*

[good naturedly] to Mike that it is a good song. Mike

in fact wandered around with his guitar on, but his

hands behind his back for the first few bars of it

on Saturday; but he does join in, and I think he even

sings, so obviously he is prepared to bow to group

decisions and the will of the crowd occasionally!

Davy whips the audience up, and gets them to their

feet.

This was followed (I think) by the Monkeemobile

dimensions sequence from the special, which worked

surprisingly well out of context: the "60s" montage

got a huge roar and a cheer!

Day Dream Believer

A vast curtain of blinking fairy lights is hung behind

the stage for this, and after Micky counts everyone in

with his sticks, the opening bars of Peter's intro again

gets a cheer. Davy takes the opportunity to again play

the audience for all he is worth, and with the song

written by a Scotsman, it went down really well in

Glasgow!

Listen To The Band

Still a class piece of work, and although lacking

the solo guitar intro, sounding vaguely closer to

it's 33 1/3 incarnation than before, due to the

prominent key-board part. But the big surprise on

this one is that when MIke gets as far as the bit

where the hammond organ comes in on the record,

the organ begins a very low-key build up, the

lights go down, and green spots light up behind

Micky. He then sings the opening verse of:

The Porpoise Song

virtually un-accompanied except by the underlying

keyboard for the first half of the verse: it is

really haunting, and quite magical [and makes me

forgive him the 'Puts You to Sleep' version].

Half way through he starts to drum [it almost

threatens to become <*gasp!*> a drum solo! But

it doesn't...] This is quite the best show-case

for his voice all night, and it's almost a pity

when on a chorus of, "Goodbye, goodbye..." we get:

Listen To The Band [reprise]

Big finale, big finish!

Bows, waves, hands aloft and off!! Thank you,

thank you, thank you!! And goodnight and off!

****

Encores:

Hardly true encores, as they are part of the set, and

this is all they do, regardless of audience acclaim.

(I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone

Ant and Dec appeared at Newcastle to sing this with

them, but their contribution didn't reall add to the

performance (it didn't detract either), although it

got big cheers from the local crowd. It's not my

favourite song, and I'd've showcased IAB or RSG in

this spot, or given it to a) a non-hit strong track

like St Matthew or All of Your Toys or Girl That I

Knew Somewhere, or b) Done PVS first and had It's Not

Too Late as the lighters in the air arm waving show

closer.

Pleasant Valley Sunday

This begins with the build up of an organ and guitar

groove [which I think DMP have been doing, but which

was entirely new to me and most of the audience] before

Mike breaks into a funkier version of the opening riff

than people are familiar with; it certainly produced a

good deal of anticipation, as people waited to find out

what it was going to be, then a very positive response

when it gelled together.

 

And again, with waves to the crowd they were gone. They

could have easily got another curtain-call out of it,

and the Saturday audience would have loved more songs:

but they didn't, and we had to be happy with what we

had. Better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick!

 

 


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