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Review: The Monkees’ Micky Dolenz and Michael Nesmith say farewell in style

UPDATED: Tue., Sept. 14, 2021

Micky Dolenz and Michael Nesmith, the two remaining members of the Monkees, appeared onstage at the First Interstate Center for the Arts on Friday and were accompanied by a full band that included Nesmith’s oldest son, Christian Nesmith, on guitar and vocals and Dolenz’s sister, Gemma “Coco” Marie Dolenz, on backup vocals.

Like a story time for grown-ups, the two joked with each other, told stories and gave nearly every song a little bit of context. Even for viewers who didn’t grow up during the Monkees’ era, the setlist and commentary were nostalgic and reminiscent of a simpler time. 

Nesmith and Dolenz approached center stage to an uproarious applause. They hugged each other and flaunted their outfits to whoops and hollers. Nesmith wore a “Repo Man” T-shirt as an homage to the film he co-produced in 1984, while Dolenz was dressed in a black waistcoat, a wide-brimmed hat and brown-tinted sunglasses, presenting an Elton John-esque image.

They immediately launched into “Good Clean Fun,” followed by “Last Train to Clarksville.”  “Welcome to the Mike and Micky show! I’m Micky, he’s Mike,” said Dolenz, to which Nesmith quipped, “Are you sure?” 

Speaking on “Different Drum,” Dolenz recounted a meeting the band had with producers when pitching the song where they were told the song didn’t sound like something the Monkees would sing, to which Dolenz narrates, “I said to them, ‘But I am one of the Monkees.’ They said, ‘We’re sorry, but it’s not a Monkees song.’ But we’re going to do it anyways, so screw you!” The song was later given to Linda Rondstadt and the Stone Poneys in 1967. 

The two have an undeniable chemistry with each other, and their banter conveyed that the more than 55 years of friendship has worn well on them. Of course, homage and reverence were paid to deceased members Peter Tork and Davy Jones. After playing “For Pete’s Sake,” they pointed to the ceiling and exclaimed, “Mr. Peter Tork! You doin’ OK, Pete? We love you!” 

The audience had no shortage of enthusiasm for the band, screaming “Yes sir!” to the lyrics “I love you, and I know you love me,” or dancing to “Pleasant Valley Sunday.” They cheered at “Randy Scouse Git” after Dolenz told the story of meeting the Beatles and the party that inspired the song. 

After a brief intermission, the band returned to the stage to perform for another hour, ending a perfect setlist with the multigenerational hit, “I’m a Believer,” originally written by Neil Diamond and recorded by the Monkees in 1966. Fans of the band, both new and lifelong, celebrated on their feet, dancing and singing along, even shedding a tear for an era nearly gone but forever eternal. It was truly a once-in-a-lifetime kind of night.

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