Here, There be a Writer

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Monkees in Buffalo, 2012


I have not gone to many concerts in my life, and only after college did I start to see the bigger headlining acts. My very first concert was with Savage Garden during the “To the Moon and Back” tour about 1997 or 98. My best friend bought tickets for her, her cousin, and myself. It was at the Erie County fairgrounds, in Hamburg NY. The seats were pretty far back, but I was so happy to be able to see them live. I had such a crush on Darren Hayes!! That was the year that I had discovered Savage Garden, I was the ultimate fangirl. It was also the first time I saw a band live; it made an impact on my desire to see more concerts. Back then, I truly preferred to listen to the album and that was it, live was just a word back then. Since that concert, I have seen Meatloaf, Paul McCartney, Fleetwood Mac, Barenaked Ladies, Crowded House, Moxy Fruvous, Dady Brothers, Town Pants, and Great Big Sea live. Great Big Sea tops all others, having seen them a total of 6 (soon to be 7 in April 2013), but every concert I have seen it like a patch/medal/tattoo of honour).

The live experience is a unique one. While we (as a collective of people) tend to love the studio version of the songs and albums that make our lives special, there is something truly amazing about hearing our favourite artists sing live. Something else is equally important when attending a concert, which is the stage banter. Ever wonder what Meatloaf, Paul McCartney, or Neil Finn are thinking? I gather from the shows I have seen that the banter is a little window into the artist’s mind. They are saying, ‘Hey, how’s it goin’? Wanna hear a funny story?’ To me, that’s endearing.

So, what’s all this hype? Well, last week I got to see the Monkees live in Buffalo with some friends. That’s what! It’s a pretty important concert for many reasons, not all the reason will be mentioned in this blog. The reason I mention it, simply, is that after all of my pre-conceived notions, this concert was one of the best to date. That is saying a lot. After all, it’s the Monkees, right? Well, yes, it’s the Monkees, but something else…

When David, (my husband) first heard about this concert it was after Davy Jones had passed away and the failed attempt to see the Beach Boys concert up at Darien Lake. David is THE Monkees fan, hands down, I am less so. This is not to say that I don’t like/love the Monkees, but he eats, sleeps, and breathes Monkees,-I eat, sleep, and breathe Great Big Sea (that’s another blog, for another time-this concert meant a lot to him on so many levels. I was more than happy to join him, I mean after all I grew up with the Monkees TV show, I knew a number of songs, I thought Mickey was the grooviest (yes, I said that), but I also wanted to support David’s passion. I love the chance to go to any concert, as I said before; I don’t go to concerts that often (something about this thing called money).

What were my expectations?
Well…I'm sure that before the concert, even before that weekend, I was thinking, ‘Yes! I am going to Buffalo to see, Laura (friend from college), and then to Monkees concert with some friends.’ It’s not that I wasn’t stoked to see the Monkees, but had you asked what I was looking forward to prior to that week, it would have been visiting Laura. As it goes, the closer the concert got, the more excited I become to see Mike, Mickey, and Peter. I mean, this was the first time in FOREVER that Michael Nesmith was PERFOMORMING as a MONKEE! 

Look! It's the Monkees!!!

While I am a Mickey girl, I have a soft spot for the Wool Hat. There are a number of songs that are Mike’ s that I can’t help but turn the volume up on, such as ‘Door into Summer’ or ‘Listen to the Band’.


I was hoping to hear ‘Last Train to Clarksville’ or ‘Shades of Grey’ at the concert, beyond that I was just excited to be at a concert with David, Sara, Marie (Sara’s mum), and Amanda. David had gotten third row seats, orchestra left! That’s the closest I have been to a stage since Barenaked Ladies in Houston, fifth row, orchestra left, again (of course when Sean McCann came to the Town Ballroom in Buffalo last year, and I got to meet him, Laura and I were right up to the stage, also orchestra left). Seems I am an orchestra left kind of gal! That was definitely an eye opener that I was going to see the Monkees, see the sweat on their brows.

The highlights:
Peter Tork’s rendition of ‘Your Auntie Grizelda’ and his little stage dance while he sung it. Probably the dorkiest Tork moment, but he was having so much fun on stage. You could see it on his face. I couldn’t help but enjoy this song, even more then I normally do. My friend, Amanda loathes this song normally; even she was even impressed by Peter’s live rendition of it. 

(Thanks to rcornnell on youtube for the video)

Mickey singing ‘Randy Scouse Git’, that says it all. There is something truly AWESOME about a timpani drum on stage and a poncho wearing Dolenz. This song makes less sense than ‘Your Auntie Grizelda’ but it’s so catchy, I cannot help but love it. It also proves that Mickey has stage presence. There was A LOT of Mickey presence during this concert.

The audience sing-a-long with ‘Daydream Believer’ with Monkee back up. It was simply touching to see how the boys couldn’t sing a Davy song, but yet they couldn’t ignore the fact the ‘Daydream Believer’ exists. I could see that they enjoyed playing the song, but Mickey said it best, ‘we don’t own this song anymore, but you do…’ tears, my friend, tears…it was touching, nonetheless.

Hearing songs that have NEVER been performed LIVE. (sourced from David): ‘Daily Nightly’ and ‘Early morning Blues and Greens’. These two are songs that I am less familiar with, but I enjoyed watching Mickey sing the lyrics from a binder and Mike do his impersonation of a Moog Synthesizer. It was EPIC and a hoot!

Hearing Mike Nesmith sing and play with his old band mates. There were a number of Mike songs that were performed: ‘Listen to the Band’, ‘The Girl I Knew Somewhere’, ‘Tapioca Tundra’, ‘You Just May be the One’, and ‘My Sunny Girlfriend’. He actually looked like he was having fun onstage. I remember thinking that he was a poop for not enjoying the Monkees more, but I think time has mellowed him, and he may appreciate the Monkees for what they are now. He was cracking jokes about checking his email while waiting for Mickey or Peter, or seeing him dance a bit on stage. It made me smile.

Monkee Walking!
Post concert glee!!!

I couldn’t have asked for a better first experience seeing the Monkees live than this concert. I mean when you can Monkee walk into the venue with your friends, stand in line waiting to get in and crack jokes Monkee jokes-even knowing that each of us was in a different location in the audience-it was still AWESOME. Also, seeing my beloved husband thoroughly fanboy during the show made it that much more enjoyable. He even got to meet Andrew Sandoval, (Monkee historian/chronicler). It was a moment that I will never forget, even knowing that my left ear was getting the brunt of the sound from the giant megalith speakers. Oh, well! ‘Here we come/walking down the street….’

David and Andrew Sandoval :-)