Tuesday, May 6, 2014

More Concert Reviews: MICKY DOLENZ and THE COWSILLS

Thanks to the kindness of Ron Onesti and Onesti Entertainment, we were able to send five lucky winners to The Arcada this past Friday Night to see Micky Dolenz of The Monkees with The Cowsills. 

There wasn't a concert I was looking more forward to this Spring than this one ... but as things timed out we were unable to go.  (All cards on the table, I wouldn't have missed our Friday Night for the world ... Youngest Daughter Paige starred in the lead role of Belle in her final High School Musical Production  of "Beauty And The Beast" ... and it was nothing short of outstanding.  A stellar performance through and through ... and with Prom the very next night let's just say that we were hopping all weekend!!!) 

So, please allow US to live vicariously through these reviews as well.  (From the sounds of things, Ron REALLY needs to bring The Cowsills back ... GLOWING reviews across the boards for this one!!!  Plus I really wanna see 'em, too!!!)

Thank you, Kent, for the Forgotten Hits tickets to the Mickey Dolenz / Cowsills concert! 
It was my first visit to the Arcada Theater. Either the seats became narrower, or I've gotten wider ... guess which! 
I had heard a few takes on the sound system, so I'll give my opinion. The venue could benefit from adding more speakers to the areas on both sides of the stage, and although I couldn't see the subwoofers, possibly there as well. The opening act was muddy on the low end, the bass being undefinable. By the time the headliner was on, the engineer had it backed off and dialed in as well as possible. But there was simply not enough "sonic space" to allow for great reproduction of the drums, bass, and vocals at the same time. The Cowsills keyboards were generally not audible. On to the performance. 
The Cowsills were a very pleasant surprise! The original three vocalists were terrific. Simply put, excellent singers. Most notably Susan Cowsill. The backing band is all family ... sons, husband, etc. Their choice of material was great ... "You Were On My Mind", "Monday Monday", a couple of more obscure folk tunes ... but we didn't mind because they were perfect for the moment ... and rendered so professionally. And of course, all the hits and charted numbers the band had back in the day. I have to admit that I enjoyed the Cowsills more than Micky's set, the reason being the strongest vocal work ... plus, the Cowsills seemed to have the energy and spirit going for them. They really were having fun, and we knew it. I believe that comes from their relatively recent formation of this touring band. It was fresh for them.  
By the time Micky Dolenz came on, a couple of hundred fans were still in the long hall outside the seating, waiting to meet the Cowsills. And it didn't appear to be a sold out performance to begin with, so there were quite a few empty seats ... and I think the Dolenz crew were a little disappointed. But that didn't stop any of them from performing as the pros they are. Micky's backing band was very good, the highlights being his sister CoCo on vocals, a young lady on second keyboard who also played a mean sax, and his bandleader guitarist, who had excellent tone! Micky himself is absolutely a better vocalist and showman than he was as a young man. He hasn't lowered the keys of any of the material, and he only had a problem with Pleasant Valley Sunday at the tail end ... which any normal human would! His choice of covers were all linked to a personal story he shared ... "Oh Darlin'", "Purple Haze", "Johnny B Goode" ... mildly entertaining. Micky left the stage twice to allow Coco to do a solo vocal, which she did very well, each time saying he was leaving to get a lobotomy ... and when he returned he said it was successful and he could now do another song or two. That comment wasn't lost on us, as you knew he was tired of performing the songs for the millionth time. Although the Monkees allowed him to make a comfortable living, as an artist I'm sure there are times you wish you could move on. 
So all in all, an entertaining evening. I probably wouldn't see Micky again at today's ticket prices, but I'd make every effort to see the Cowsills again. And you should, too ... if you love 60's music like I do, you won't regret it!  
Woody Johnson  

First of all, thank you, and thank Mr. Arcada a million for those tickets. I'm so happy I could go ... it was worth only getting a little bit of sleep. Mitch loved it, too!! 
I'm surprised at how many Cowsills songs I actually know. I was expecting to know about two. Yeah, they did some covers (and did them QUITE well) but I was so pleasantly surprised by them. I have to say ... and you know what a huge statement this is for me to make ... they were better than Micky. *gasp*!!! 
Here's their set list with a few comments: 
- The Rain, The Park And Other Things -- GREAT way to open the show. Their harmonies were flawless.  
- You Were On My Mind (We Five) -- Susan, while she looked a little uncomfortable, nailed it. 
- I Miss You Most of All 
- Deliver Me    
- We Can Fly 
- The Boxer (Simon and Garfunkel) -- really very well done. I was so pleased. 
- Indian Lake -- complete with brother Paul's extremely spastic, hand over the mouth "Indian holler". That dude is one serious spazz!
- Be My Baby -- Still not minding all these covers. They treated them perfectly.
- If I Had My Way
- Helplessly Hoping (Crosby, Stills and Nash) -- this was a surprise. I could have done without this one, but again ... so well done. 
- Monday, Monday -- haha, this one took the wind out of all three of them. Such a hard song to maintain, but they did it
- I Believe In You
- Love American Style -- I NEVER KNEW THE COWSILLS WROTE THIS SONG!!!!!!!!!!! How did I live my entire life not knowing this???? I think this made me the most excited of the whole show!  My son Mitch was laughing at me!
- I Think I Love You -- How could they not do this song? 
- Hair -- I really appreciate their version most of all because it's so much like the original Broadway recording. As it turns out, per their story, they were given the original Broadway recording and told to learn it, so they did. And it was a big hit for them.    
They were adorable, they were down to earth, they are in extremely good voice. I was sorry to learn about them losing two of their brothers pretty much at the same time, one in hurricane Katrina. I wiki'd this, and he (Barry) was found floating in water. He'd had his name and either number or address (I can't remember which) written on a piece of paper, stuck in his pocket. He must have known he wasn't going to make it. Terribly sad story. 
Brother Paul ... my god, what a tall, hyper drink of water he is. He fell of his chair, twice, during the Q&A. They don't seem to notice so much, I'm sure they're used to it.  (lol)
So then ... the moment I've been waiting for my whole life ... that I've seen quite a number of times now. Micky Dolenz. We were sure we were going to hear many of his original songs, but he didn't do one of them. They were mostly Monkees songs with a few covers thrown in there. 
I'm sorry to say, his voice has pretty much lost it. He either scooped the notes too much, or he syncopated them too much. On only two songs did I notice that he was really singing. He's got the volume and the projection, just not able to sustain notes, pretty much at all. It was still a cool show, and I'm so glad my boy could finally see it. I felt so guilty seeing the Davy memorial tour without him. 
Here's the weird thing ... and I might have missed the explanation for this, as I had to go to the bathroom: He opened AND closed the show with I'm a Believer. I found that to be really odd. Of that enormous library to choose from, he does he do the same song twice?? 
I told my son, word for word ahead of time, how the Jimi-Hendrix-opening-for-the-Monkees story was gonna go, and I was totally accurate. One nice surprise was sister Coco doing Mike Nesmith's "Different Drum". 
Here's his set list:
I'm a Believer
Steppin' Stone
That Was Then, This is Now
Words (Mitch seemed VERY excited to hear this one) This was one of the ones he seemed to really be singing. 
Sometime in the Morning
DW Washburn
Last Train to Clarksville
Johnny Be Good -- there was a story attached to this, and now I can't remember it
*Purple Haze / Hendrix Story* ... into the rest of Purple Haze
Crying in the Rain
Different Drum
Daydream Believer
A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You. Mitch and I both LOVE this song ... this was exciting!
Sugar Sugar ... odd choice
Oh Darlin' ... after an amusing story about meeting the Beatles and being called "monkey man" by Lennon. The band was super good on this one. 
Goin' Down ... meh. Big meh ... but he did that little dance ... and that tickled me greatly!
White Rabbit -- sister Coco again
Pleasant Valley Sunday ... also "meh"
Gimme Some Lovin' ... loved it, but too many covers at this point
I'm a Believer ... again. 
So I get in my car this morning to get to my job, and when the radio came on, it was the Cowsills' Rain, Park andOther Things. Thank you satellite radio!!!!!
We stayed for only part of the Q&A.  I'm working two jobs right now and it was a long drive home. So we cut out of there when I noticed that there were big lines at the mic after just one question. Micky was, as always, charming and witty. It was very gracious of him to sit down and take, what I assumed to be, a ton of questions. Mr. Arcada (Onesti??) seemed to be truly a fan and not just a music business man. That's always nice to see. And he was a really good host. It was a super night, and Mitch and I very much want to go back for Peter Noone and Jay & the Americans. (Mitch has played with members of J&TA before). So thanks again!! I loved it!! And I loved sharing it with my rock-god son.
Kristy White  

Had a wonderful time.  I thought the Cowsill's were there to truly entertain and meet their fans.  We all know they really only had three major hits, and they didn't disappoint by performing those. They led off with The Rain, The Park and Other Things and it sounded wonderful.  (20 second film clip attached) 
Micky Dolenz was fine as well, but being a true Monkee fan, I was hoping for more Monkee hits. I guess I will have to save that for my box seats I already purchased for May 31st at Star Plaza when Michael and Peter will join Mickey.  (If you decide to go to that show, please text me ... I would love to meet you and say hello!) 
Song List for Cowsills in order:  
EDITOR'S NOTE:  Same as shown above but I've listed Bob's personal comments where applicable    
We Can Fly (also as noted done by Al Hirt and Lawrence Welk )  
If I Had My Way  (originally done by Peter, Paul and Mary) Helplessly Hoping  (Beautiful acoustic version by the three original members of Cowsills)  
Just Believin - written by Susan Cowsill  
Love American Style - from the tv series 
Songlist for Mickey Dolenz
Johnny B. Goode  (as Mickey noted, this was his audition song that got him the job in The Monkees)
Crying in the Rain (tribute to Carole King from Micky's "King For A Day" album)
Different Drum (written, of course, by Michael Nesmith ... and sung by Koko Dolenz, Micky's sister
Sugar, Sugar (very Bluesy version)
Oh Darlin (Mickey was at Abbey Road to watch the Beatles record this)
I'm a Believer  - Closed with this repeated song
I was surprised that Mickey didn't perform Valleri, especially since he had quite the gifted guitar player.
The most amazing part of the evening was the Q 'n' A session Ron Onesti held with the members and fans (after the concert), who were invited to walk up to the mike and ask questions.
Micke explained the Head album, different perspectives with Michael and Peter, The Cowsills talked about how Carl Reiner invited them to do a song for his tv show to perform, and gave them the song Hair to work with ... and that Susan lost many, many valuables and keepsakes from Hurricane Katrina.
Funny story about "Gonna Buy Me A Dog" ... they were in the studio, tired and not really wanting to record such a silly song, which is why they are heard laughing and being downright silly in the recording of this.
The Cowsills spoke about the Showtime Special (If anyone has this to share to watch, I don't have access to Showtime) but they lamented about suing Universal and that they had "won" but not talking about any major windfall of money.
Thanks to Forgotten Hits for the chance to attend and to Kent Kotal!
Bob Morrow

Thanks again for the tickets for Micky Dolenz and the Cowsills. 
The show was presented by Ron Onesti at the Arcada Theater in St Charles, IL. Ron is on a mission to present us fans with the very best entertainment in the midwest. Ron is also a super fan of the 50s - 60s - 70s  - 80s - and 90s. There was a full house at the theater. Ron did his introduction of the Cowsills talking about their hits starting in 1965-66 and how they were the motivation behind the Partridge Family tv show and how their show was based on the Cowsills Band. I have to say it again ... Ron Onesti and the Arcada Theater in St. Charles, IL is the best music venue in the midwest.  
The Cowsills walked out looking fantastic.  They started singing The Rain and The Park. I have to say that it was like going back in time with the sound and music ... I got goose bumps. They literally, after all these years, sounded of "perfection". They played all of their hits and had lots of fun kidding each other.  They played Indian Lake, Hair and all of their other hits right up until intermission.  They had left music for over 30 years and about 10 years age they got back together for one show and they were amazed how good they sounded and had a great time. They decided to reform the Cowsills and have been back in the music industry ever since. For anyone that sees this review, do yourself a favor ... if the Cowsills come to your town, definitely go see them. You will not be disappointed. Go to Facebook Cowsills or Cowsills.com and you can hear the music and some other very interesting stuff about the band and their surprising trials and tribulations. The Cowsills lit up the stage and the way they rocked perfection, made them a hard act to follow. 
Micky Dolenz came walking out, also looking fantastic. He does not look his age (69).   I was in awe of how he looks and his physical shape. Micky has not aged since the sixties. I have seen Micky Dolenz a few times and he never disappoints. He is a true entertainer. His high energy on stage and his voice is perfect.  When he sang his first song, I'm A Believer, his voice missed the first few notes. I said to myself, oh no. He never missed another note for the whole performance.  He did sing most of the hits and the song he sang for his audition performance for The Monkees tv show, that being the Chuck Berry song Johnny Be Goode. I have to say that Micky's band was great and Micky's sister CoCo was a perfect vocal blend with Micky's.  
After the show Micky talked about how there are other versions of all of the Monkees songs by Peter, Mike, Davy and Micky. It was nice hearing Micky's telling of how at the recording by the Beatles studio sessions for Sgt Peppers Lonely Hears Club Band. John would keep calling Micky "monkey man". If you ever have the opportunity to see Micky Dolenz, definitely go. 
-- Tom Crowe  

Hi Kent, 
I so enjoyed the Cowsills and Micky Dolenz in concert Friday night at the beautiful Arcada Theatre in St. Charles!  Thanks to Forgotten Hits and Ron Onesti for a wonderful evening. 
The concert started right on time and "I knew, I knew, I knew" I liked the Cowsills, but I didn't realize how MUCH I liked them!  Wow!  They came out with so much enthusiasm, raring to go.  I could tell they were genuinely thrilled to be playing for us and opening for Micky.  
First song was the iconic "The Rain, the Park and Other Things", which they nailed.  It sounded exactly like it did in 1967.  Their harmonies were perfect.  The band consists of the three Cowsill siblings, Bob , Susan and Paul.  Susan's husband plays the drums and two of the Cowsill children play guitar and keyboards.  Their energy was contagious and they had the crowd on their feet, singing along.  Next was the We Five classic "You Were On My Mind", followed by Deliver Me, We Can Fly, Simon and Garfunkle's The Boxer and Indian Lake.  Susan then sang, Be My Baby, and this was followed by a few folk songs, which they said was their true roots.  Next, Monday, Monday (which Susan joked that she always thought this was a Cowsill song, not the Mamas and Papas), Just Believing, and the Love American Style TV program theme song.  Can you believe that was their song?!  The crowd sang along with I Think I Love You, the Patridge Family classic and we heard great stories as to how the Patridges were copies of the Cowsills.  The one-hour set ended with a rousing rendition of "Hair".  Everyone was on their feet, a definite fun blast from the past.  I loved it and I know the crowd did too. 
After the intermission, it was time for Micky.  Of course he came out singing "I'm a Believer" and quickly sang seven more songs: I'm Not Your Stepping Stone, That Was Then, This Is Now, She, Words, Sometime In The Morning, and D.W. Washburn.  He was dressed all in black, as was his band, and wearing his signature hat.  He then picked up his guitar and said hello to all of us Monkee fans. He didn't make us wait and sang Last Train to Clarksville, which sounded great. This song is a Boyce and Hart classic.  (Thursday night I went to the Logan Theatre in the city to see the world movie premier of a Boyce and Hart documentary, "Boyce and Hart: The Guys Who Wrote 'Em", for the CIMM festival.  It was a great film dooumenting the songwriting of this duo, who were so instrumental in the Monkees' success. After the film, Bobby Hart himself answered questions and talked to the audience.  What a thrill!)  
Micky then talked about his audition for the Monkees and the song he sang, which was Chuck Berry's Johnny Be Goode.   He also told us the story of how at one time early on, Jimi Hendrix opened for the Monkees!  He even treated us to Purple Haze.  Mickey's sister, Coco, is in the band and she sang a few songs for us as well ... Crying in the Rain and the Mike Nesmith song, Different Drum.  This song was submitted to the Monkees to sing, but was rejected, and of course became a huge hit for Linda Ronstadt!   Then the closest we got to a tribute to Davy Jones was a sing-a-long to Daydream Believer.  There were a few tears in the crowd as everyone remembered Davy, including the band.   The mood switched gears and this next song, A Little Bit Me, ALittle Bit You, even had the Cowsills dancing in the aisle.  Next Micky sang a slow version of the Ron Dante song, Sugar, Sugar.  I thought it was a great version of this song ... in fact, I liked it better than the original arrangement.
Micky talked about meeting the Beatles and sang Oh Darling.  This was followed by Coco singing White Rabbit.  As you can see, this concert had a little bit of everything.   The last song, before the encore, was Pleasant Valley Sunday and he had the crowd on their feet.  The encores were Gimme Some Lovin, followed by I'm a Believer again.  The show was an hour and 25 minutes of pure fun! 
Ron Onesti opened the floor to a Question and Answer period and the Cowsills and Micky came out and talked to us.  There were many jokes, much remembrance of Davy Jones, and some inside information that they were willing to share.  We learned, among other things, that Carl Reiner (Rob Reiner's dad, Micky clarified) sent the Cowsills "Hair" to record!   Susan Cowsill joked endlessly about her massive crush on Davy Jones!  The Question and Answer period went on for about an hour.  So the entire night lasted four hours!  How's that for getting your money's worth!  And I do have to say, there is not better place to see a concert than at the Arcada Theatre.   Thanks again Forgotten Hits for a memorable night. 

re:  Up-Coming Shows At The Arcada:    
Alan Parsons will be making a VERY rare live appearance at The Arcada Theatre on May 10th for TWO Shows (7:00 and 9:30 pm).  Parsons has had his hands on the boards for some of the most memorable music ever recorded, including albums like "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" by The Beatles and "Dark Side Of The Moon" by Pink Floyd.  In addition, he racked up quite a few hits of his own as The Alan Parsons Project ... but he hasn't done a lot of touring ... and has been absent from the music scene for quite a while ... so this will be a REAL treat to see him live in concert on the 10th.      

Examiner / AXS Entertainment Columnist Peter Roche tells us a lot of this has to do with the brand new, massive box set being released to commemorate Parson's extensive body of work ... and he had an opportunity to sit down with Alan recently to discuss not only this new release, but also his return to live performance.  You can read it all here:   
Click here: Alan Parsons releases box set, returns to Cleveland for greatest hits concert - Cleveland Music | Examiner.com   

Meanwhile, a limited number of tickets to see The Alan Parsons Live Project are still available through the OShows website:  www.oshows.com 

And, later this month, don't miss your chance to see Peter Noone and Herman's Hermits along with Jay and the Americans.  They'll be appearing at The Arcada Theatre on May 30th.  This show is ALWAYS a good time ... Peter is one of the most entertaining performers around and we guarantee he'll keep you smiling and singing along all night long. 

Other shows in May include Air Supply THIS FRIDAY NIGHT (May 9th) and Blue Oyster Cult (May 17th).  And don't forget the very special "Wrecking Crew" screening on May 13th!!! 

More details and ticket information for ALL shows can be found at the oshows.com link above.