The 1960s music/TV phenomenon is back in town. Now reduced to just two members – Mickey Dolenz and Peter Tork – The Monkees are introduced by a series of video clips on a huge screen overhanging the stage of the Apollo.
Opening up with Last Train To Clarksville, the pair and their five-strong backing band kick off with a winning first gambit for their audience of still loyal fans. Dolenz and Tork clown around and engage in charming and self-depreciating banter right from the start. It’s a relief that they’re as much fun now and in ‘real life’ as their characters appeared to be in the TV series.
The set is split into two parts, with the first including tracks such as The Girl I Knew Somewhere, Words and Mary,Mary. There are a number of references to former bandmate Mike Nesmith’s songwriting skills and rarer mentions of the fourth Monkee, Davy Jones, who passed away in 2012.
Dolenz introduces Alternate Title with an explanation of its origins, telling us the song was written after a party thrown by The Beatles for The Monkees. The original title – Randy Scouse Git – was deemed too offensive by their record company, hence the incongruously bland alternative title for what is quite an admirably shouty song.
Part two of the evening begins with a section devoted to some more stripped down, acoustic versions of familar numbers, before the long-awaited slide into the big classics.
(I’m Not Your) Stepping Stone, Pleasant Valley Sunday and I’m A Believer finish off the night with the audience dancing (after a mostly reverently seated show) and a rush of golden feel good factor.
The Monkees still pull off a truly entertaining performance – partly due to some very catchy songs and partly due to their humour and showmanship. Definitely an enjoyable revisitation of some good pop music. And an excuse not to grow up.
Photos and words by Imelda Michalczyk. Imelda has her own great website here: www.rebeladelica.com
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The Monkees @ Eventim Apollo 4th September 2015