Total. Immersion. Experience.
Last night, “Good Times: The Monkees 50th Anniversary Tour” made a stop in Glenside’s historic Keswick Village when the Keswick Theatre hosted the phenomenal, mind-blowing, two-hour, multi-media concert event. For the casual fan who might have only been familiar with “I’m a Believer,” or who stumbled upon an episode or two of “The Monkees” television series on a retro cable channel, it was a wonderful, eye-opening experience to be tossed headlong into the rabbit hole of the whole Monkee-mania fervor of the 60s. However, for the true, hardcore fanatic, this was the concert experience of a lifetime!
The evening started with track after track of songs culled from The Monkees’ vast repertoire serving as pre-show music, setting the mood while the crowd filled every seat in the venue. The stage featured two drum sets and an enormous screen that spanned the entire overhead expanse, proudly proclaiming “The Monkees.” When the lights dimmed, and the unforgettable words began, “Here we come…,” the audience broke into a frenzy as the past came alive with a split screen offering of a montage of vintage images pulled from the opening of The Monkees’ television show.
Micky, Peter, and the other musicians [percussion/backing vocals: Gemma “Coco” Dolenz, keyboard: Dave Alexander, drums: Rich Dart, bass: John Billings, and lead guitar/musical director: Wayne Avers] took the stage, opening with a blistering version of “Listen to the Band.” Larger-than-life videos played onscreen while The Monkees blazed through the next two songs, rollicking versions of “Last Train to Clarksville,” and “That Was Then, This Is Now.”
When it came time to perform one of the tracks from the new album, Good Times, a masterpiece produced by the brilliant Adam Schlesinger, the band performed in perfect sync to a comic book themed video that ingeniously displayed the words to “She Makes Me Laugh” – the new single written by Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo – as they were sung.
Everything you could have ever hoped for in a Monkees’ concert happened at the Keswick. The night was filled with videos; slide shows; nostalgia; history; camaraderie; Peter’s virtuoso musicianship, witty banter, and onstage antics; Micky’s amazing vocals – that could win an arm wrestling match of pure brute strength against artists such as Céline Dion and Adele – and remarkable drumming; and even a little magic from Davy Jones, which brought many in the audience to tears.
True showmen, The Monkees offered non-stop entertainment that carried straight through the intermission with videos, which featured vintage commercials from the 60s, more songs, and interviews about the new album. The overall experience was one of the most fan-centric concert events ever conceived, covering everything from the biggest hits to the deepest cuts – including a couple of classics that have never even been performed live before.
Micky and Peter are in their prime, a pair of seasoned musicians and performers who know how to put on the perfect show. This is what magic looks and sounds like. “Good Times: The Monkees 50th Anniversary Tour” is a genuine must-see event.
Related: On June 4 and 5, at The Clarion Empire Hotel (2 Harmon Place, Secaucus, NJ 07094; 201-348-6900), it’s Monkee Jam 2016, the event that celebrates 50 years of the music and television show with fans from all over the world. This year’s special guests will be Emily Dolenz along with Circe Link and Christian Nesmith!