The Monkees: 7/6/1986

Monkees_7-6-86

This was a fun all-day concert. This was The Monkees’ 20th Anniversary Tour which featured Davy Jones, Micky Dolenz, and Peter Tork (Michael Nesmith did not join them for this tour). In addition to The Monkees, there were four other bands on the bill: The Turtles, Herman’s Hermits, The Grass Roots, and Gary Puckett and the Union Gap.

I went with my girlfriend Ruth and we had a great time. The opening bands were fun and definitely stirred the nostalgia. The one that stands out the most in my memory, though, is The Turtles. They were out of control. Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman were dressed in outrageous costumes, cursing into the microphones, grabbing themselves, starting a song and then saying “F**k that!” and going into something else. Most of the crowd was kind of dumb-struck, but I found it very entertaining.

Finally, The Monkees came onstage, walking out as the theme song from the television show played. They played a long set that included every hit I could possibly think of. They sounded great and genuinely seemed to enjoy themselves on stage. We danced and sang along. It was exactly what I envisioned a Monkees concert to be like.

After the show, Ruth and I hung around in the parking lot for a while. I had this spinning prism disk that attracted many of the consciousness-altered people from the concert, who stood around staring into the swirling vortex of color. It was pretty entertaining, but after a while, we packed it in and headed home.

Thanks to the internet, I was able to find the setlist from the show. Here it is.

Setlist:

Last Train to Clarksville
A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You
(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone
Cuddly Toy
Goin’ Down
I Wanna Be Free
Your Auntie Grizelda
She
Cripple Creek
For Pete’s Sake
That Was Then, This Is Now
Shades of Gray
Look Out (Here Comes Tomorrow)
No Time
Daydream Believer
Zilch / Randy Scouse Git
I’ll Love You Forever
MGBGT
Valleri
I’m a Believer

Encore:

Listen to the Band
Pleasant Valley Sunday

The Band with Roger McGuinn: 3/2/1986

SpringFest_3-2-86

This may be my most tragic ticket stub, as you will see.

I was very excited for this concert. Every year during the spring, Hialeah Race Track in Miami would host Spring Fest, a two-day event with great music. March 2 was the second day of the 1986 festival and featured The Band with Roger McGuinn from The Byrds as the opening act. I was psyched to see both of them.

McGuinn performed an acoustic solo show, which was heavy on Byrds material. Not surprising, we got “Chestnut Mare,” “Mr. Tambourine Man,” “Eight Miles High,” and “Ballad of Easy Rider.” In fact, when he finished, I could not think of a single song I wanted to hear that he didn’t play. His voice was great and the crowd enjoyed it. Now I was ready for The Band.

The Band at this time featured all the original members except for Robbie Robertson. For those of you who need a refresher, this included Rick Danko, Levon Helm, Richard Manuel, and Garth Hudson. What I had heard was that Robertson did not want to rejoin because he felt that The Last Waltz was the appropriate end for The Band (great film of this show by Martin Scorsese, by the way).

Anyway, I thought they sounded amazing! Some of the high points for me were Danko singing “Stage Fright” (possibly my favorite song by The Band) and Richard Manuel singing “The Shape I’m In.” But like McGuinn, they played everything I could have wanted to hear, from “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” to “The Weight.” I walked out of the concert feeling totally inspired and elated.

That feeling did not last too long.

Two days later, Richard Manuel committed suicide in a motel room in Winter Park, Florida. I couldn’t believe it! I had just seen him two days earlier and he was great. I was torn between feeling grateful that I got to see him perform and feeling devastated about the tremendous loss to music.

From that day forth, whenever I hear “The Shape I’m In,” I think of Manuel singing his heart out on stage, and I say to myself: “No, I really did not know the shape you were in.”