The Mike & Micky Show Live
The late-career comeback of The Monkees has been a nice surprise. Like The Beatles and The Who they’re now down to just two and Mike Nesmith made it very clear during the recent tour (and in the years previous) that he could wander from the stage at any moment, including often during the set. It’s highly likely that one day he’ll just forget to return mid-show, mid-song even.
And then last year Micky Dolenz and Nesmith took to the road for The Mike & Micky Show – I was there! And I (mostly) loved it. I mean it was a mess. Nesmith’s head was in some other astral plane altogether – but then I guess it always was, for coping if nothing more. And his 12-string jangle and his raspy counterpoint still gave some much-needed grit and quirk beyond the obvious pop shine of the big, big hits.
Dolenz was a decent ringmaster, as good as could be – dedicated to the cause and able, in moments such as on the new song Birth of An Accidental Hipster, to transcend being a bit of a broken boomer reliving glory days.
It helped that the band was fantastic – with Mike’s son Christian Nesmith running a tight ship.
So now we have this live document and yes it’s had some extra spit and polish – and all the clumsy banter is pulled – but it really is a magnificent document of a truly wondrous setlist.
Things kick off with Last Train to Clarksville and fairweather fans might find it a long wait for Steppin’ Stone, Daydream Believer and I’m A Believer. But the real magic is in the relative rarities (St. Matthew) and in the surprise gems (The Door Into Summer).
Some of their very best material was on offer in this show – some of it slightly forgotten to time or just needing to take a number since this band really did pump out the hits, but mid-set the run of Pleasant Valley Sunday, Papa Gene’s Blues, Randy Scouse Git and a slowed – frankly majestic – Tapioca Tundra is hard to beat. These are the songs. This is the content. Sure, there are other great ones tunes too – many in fact. But this is the soul of what was great and interesting about The Monkees.
This is – really – The Mike Show. But Micky was there too. And he was (and is) a trooper.
And this live document is better than could reasonably be expected. Yes, it’s just a souvenir for the already converted, something to accompany them in their preaching. But it’s good. It warms the heart a little and reminds of so many great songs for (and from) the head.
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