Review: The Monkees @ Apollo, Manchester

Blackpool Citizen: Review: The Monkees @ Apollo, Manchester Review: The Monkees @ Apollo, Manchester

WITH the iconic Monkeemobile parked outside, a timewarp enveloped the Apollo as Micky Dolenz, Peter Tork and Davy Jones reminded a sell-out crowd just exactly what Monkeemania was.

We were all back in the sixties as – following an overture featuring many of their songs - The Monkees (minus Mike Nesmith) took to the stage to a rapturous reception.

What came next was a torrent of hits, b-sides and album tracks from a band that now seemed comfortable with their past.

In fact, this was different from the previous Monkees shows I’d attended. This was more of a music concert than a comedy show.

There was a bit of clowning around, mainly from Micky; and some good natured banter between them, but this show was all about the music.

The first song (and the last as it was reprised at the end) was the classic I’m A Believer and was followed by two Nesmith tracks in Mary Mary and The Girl I Knew Somewhere.

In spite of his absence, Nesmith was there in spirit as the trio performed over half a dozen of the songs he featured heavily on – including Listen To The Band and What Am I Doin’ Hanging Round.

Back in the day, The Monkees were panned for not playing their own instruments, and anyone who doubted their musicianship would have had to eat their words tonight as they all played.

Davy wielded a guitar, whilst Micky tackled drums and guitar.

The star for me was Peter, looking gaunt (he has overcome an aggressive form of cancer in recent years), he played guitar, keyboards, banjo and French horn!

He also sang more songs than in other shows I’ve seen and a particular favourite was Your Auntie Grizelda.

The second half began with six songs from their film Head, beginning with Circle Sky, and we were treated to exotic dancing (Can You Dig It) and Davy doing his Fred Astaire bit (Daddy’s Song).

It was great to hear the less well-known tracks; a couple of them never having appeared on the original albums such as All Of your Toys and I Don’t Think you Know Me At All, but it was the hits that many people were there for and we got ‘em.

Daydream Believer, Last Train To Clarksville, Valleri and Alternate Title were all performed and gratefully received.

And before the reprise of I’m A Believer which ended the show we had the amazing Pleasant Valley Sunday – which was preceded by Peter narrating his Peter Percival Patterson’s Pet Pig Porky.

Strangely, as they left the stage doing their special ‘Monkee walk’, I realised that the only song of note (in the forty played) that they didn’t do was their Theme from The Monkees.

The three Monkees, and their octet of backing musicians, all put on a great show which was enlivened by backdrop images of their early days and clips from the TV show.

As they are now in their mid-sixties, it is perhaps doubtful that we’ll see them again, which is a shame because entertainment like is sadly rare today.

But hopefully, perhaps for their 50th anniversary in 2016, they may once again “come walking down our street”.

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