Live Review: Monkees Bring Plenty of Laughs and Hits on Reunion Tour

Published on June 23rd, 2011

June 19, 2011 – It’s not often that roaring bouts of laughter are heard at a concert. But it’s what the Monkees have come to expect ever since their TV show launched in the 1960s and was subsequently immortalized by reruns. Today Davy Jones, Mickey Dolenz, and Peter Tork may not be young anymore, but that doesn’t mean they can’t still crack an audience up. In fact during a stop on their 45th Anniversary Tour at the Wolf Trap Center for the Performing Arts, the Monkees proved they might be getting some of their biggest laughs yet.

The reunion was some years in the making. The last time Jones, Dolenz, and Tork got together was a decade ago, in 2001, also without the fourth, wayward Monkee Michael Nesmith. This time around, it’s a show that’s decidedly fan-centric.

“Some of these people haven’t been out at a concert for years and we’re just renewing a friendship that has never gone away, really,” Jones said in a recent interview.

Fans of the Monkees are among the most difficult to pin down of any audience. They don’t fit into age groups, gender groups, or any other kind of group. They range from women who have been swooning over Davy Jones since they laid eyes on him to young kids, teens, and twenty-somethings who discovered the fun TV show with the catchy songs in their childhood. There were custom made t-shirts, and a line at the merch booth that never seemed to end; fans are embracing the Monkees all over again.

The Monkees may monkey around, but they’re serious about pleasing the crowd. Instead of choosing a set list, they threw nearly every single song in. These three men in their sixties kept the crowd laughing, dancing, and singing through a 30+ song performance that lasted more than two hours.

One gets the feeling that they will go out of their way to please every member of the audience, unless you’re not on time.

“You’re late!” scoffed Dolenz as a couple made an obvious entrance into the front row during the end of a song. He scowled at them and tapped his watch, Jones joined in and crossed his arms while the couple tried to shake their hands. They played it straight, and stormed off instead. The crowd ate this improvised comedy bit right up.

“There’s a lot of acting involved in being a rock star,” Davy Jones quipped in a recent interview. It’s a reference not only to the nature of the business, but also to the Monkees’ history as a group that was conceived by writers. He stayed true to that line, providing not only his charming voice, but also his attention-seeking, almost histrionic persona (He and Dolenz engaged a

They couldn’t leave the stage without one last laugh, though. After taking a bow as a group and being played out by the band, Jones burst back out in front of the crowd to claim all the affection for himself. Dolenz and Tork quickly emerged to pull him off, but couldn’t resist trying the same stunt themselves. It was a simple comedic bit, but what a fitting ending to a show that was just as funny as it was musically satisfying. With all of the laughs and those famous songs, the Monkees are here again.


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