The Monkees – Uptown Theater – Kansas City

When four young men were cast in the television roles of a struggling rock band inspired by The Beatles’ A Hard Day’s Night, few could have predicted the impact The Monkees would make on music and pop culture at large, an impact that still reverberates nearly 50 years later.The Monkees played to a nearly packed house at the Uptown Theater in Kansas City on Thursday night.  The diversity of age of the crowd ranged from 8 to 80, each with their own memories of the band. Some were there when their eponymous debut album came out in 1966; others knew them from the reruns of their TV show, either on Saturday morning in the 80’s, or on Nick at Nite in the 90’s. At any rate, it was refreshing to see the generation gap closed during their near two-hour set.

Performing with a backup band of seven, The Monkees used video from different episodes of their show as a backdrop for their songs, and transition during sets. I believe that an opportunity was missed, however, when they used the introductory theme of their show, played on the video screen, before their entry, as opposed to the live band playing Peter, Mickey, and Mike on. We’re the Monkees seems an obvious choice for an opening song, which may be why they opted for Last Train to Clarksville.

Though Davy Jones was known primarily as the lead singer of the Group, Mickey Dolenz ably assumed the role, providing the vocals (and sometimes drums) for the songs better known as Davy’s (with Peter and Mike singing on their songs). While the trio are now pushing 70, they performed admirably, and seemed to be enjoying themselves, as much as they did when first performing this songs nearly 5 decades ago.

Dolenz also took the time to give credit to those whom, he felt, were responsible for their success…their song writers. After calling out Mike and Peter, Mickey also thanked Neil Sedaka and Neil Diamond before launching into I’m a Believer, clearly a favorite with the crowd, due in part to the continual covers that it receives. Everyone in the audience had their favorite songs, as was evidenced by the staggered standing ovations given.

Towards the middle of their set, a video of Davy Jones leaping from a bridge, and drowing in the ocean, before being rescued by mermaids was played, before going into the heme from Head…The Monkees certainly covered all of their bases, not just focusing on their hits.

Rounding out their set was what is perhaps their best known song Daydream Believer, before returning for an encore, with the entire house on their feet, with Pleasant Valley Sunday. leaving everyone in the audience, very satisfied.

 The Monkees U.S. Tour 2014

Thurs., May 22  HAMPTON, NH  Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom
Fri., May 23  ATLANTIC CITY, NJ  Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa – The Music Box
Sat., May 24  NEWARK, NJ  New Jersey PAC
Sun., May 25  HUNTINGTON, NY  The Paramount
Tues., May 27 BETHLEHEM (PHILADELPHIA), PA  Sands Bethlehem Event Center
Wed., May 28  GREENSBURG (PITTSBURGH), PA  The Palace Theater
Fri., May 30  DETROIT, MI  Fox Theater
Sat., May 31  MERRILLVILLE, IN  Star Plaza Theater
Sun., June 1  MILWAUKEE, WI  Riverside Theater
Mon., June 2  MINNEAPOLIS, MN  Weesner Family Amphitheater (Music in the Zoo Concert Series)
Wed., June 4  KANSAS CITY, MO  Uptown Theater
Thurs., June 5   ST. LOUIS, MO   Fox Theater
Fri., June 6  CINCINNATI, OH  PNC Pavilion at Riverbend Music Center
Sat., June 7  NORTHFIELD/CLEVELAND, OH  Hard Rock Live

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