Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Monkees - Beatles - Beach Boys - Does It Get Any Better Than This?!?!?

>>>And, quite honestly, a couple of these songs could have been dropped all-together and not been missed ... "Steam Engine," Some Of Shelley's Blues," "Birth Of An Accidental Hipster," "St. Matthew," "The Porpoise Song," "Circle Sky," "As We Go Along" and "Me And Magdelena" were all performed in sequence.  (kk)

WHAT??? Drop “Some of Shelley’s Blues”? Only song I know of with my name in it … ever!
Shelley J Sweet-Tufano
OK … so maybe not THAT one!  (lol)  kk
Apology accepted … hahahaha! 
I am acknowledging that my name is ONLY in the title, which makes it work for Linda Ronstadt to sing as well as The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, but still …

I disagree with Porpoise Song being on your chopping block! That is a great song! And I had completely forgotten about Good Clean Fun ... I really do like that song! 
Kristy White
Please understand that I wasn’t specifically singling out any one particular song … it was just the cluster of so much relatively unfamiliar material being presented in sequence that I believe lost a good portion of the crowd.  Any one of these songs on its own is fine … although some are certainly stronger than others.
I think both “Porpoise Song” and “As We Go Along” are both great songs from their 1968 movie “Head” … but I also think that the more average and casual Monkees fan is probably only mildly familiar with them at best. It was that series of six, seven or eight songs in a row without a bonafide, recognizable hit thrown into the mix that tends to make things boring … and risks losing a percentage of your audience.
At one point Micky asked the audience “How many of you have seen the movie ‘Head’?” and a bunch of hands went up … to which Micky then immediately replied, “Can you tell me what it was about?”  (lol)  Fifty years later and STILL nobody knows … not even them!!!  (kk)

I also found it a bit unusual, too, that all the preshow and intermission music played was by them - tracks that they weren’t going to do live on stage. Normally artists play similar music or tracks they’re particularly fond of to fill these spots as another way to connect with their audience.  I don’t think I’ve ever heard a band play their own stuff before during those breaks!

I saw the trio a couple of years after Davy died ... VERY thrilled to have seen Mike then. All the times I saw them in the 80s was when Mike was too busy for them. Really disappointed I missed it this time around. Great review! I'm sure Micky was sad I wasn't there. <sigh> 
Oh, you know it!!!  You would have loved the show … the crowd sure did.  The only hiccup seemed to be early on when Micky at first refused to take the stage because you weren’t there - but he ultimately got over it and came out to play!  (kk)
I just died a little! 

Hi Kent:
I just wanted to say that I really enjoyed your review of the Monkees show.  I’m in total agreement with you on everything — from the venue (Copernicus Center) to the crowd control to the show itself.  It was a really fun evening all the way around.  And I do hope the group takes to heart your constructive criticism about that slow patch near the middle of the show.  Sequencing is so important.  In radio programming, in constructing a set list, you can get away with unfamiliar material if it’s sequenced correctly.  And you hit it on the head — you should never play several of your weakest or most unfamiliar material back-to-back.  They could have dispensed with half the songs they played during that segment and not suffered a bit.
Have a good week.
I’ve heard from a couple of people who either there Thursday Night or had already seen the show at another venue … and most agreed that my assessment was spot on - I doubt that it’ll change anything, but hopefully offers some food for thought.  (Sometimes when putting together a show of this caliber, you want to include EVERYTHING because who know when … or IF … it may happen again.)  I consider myself to be a die-hard Monkees fan … and the truth is that I knew even the most obscure tracks they featured … but my immediate reaction was “This isn’t for everybody … and you’re starting to lose people.”
That being said, I thought the second set was 1000% better - especially the way they launched it with the unplugged segment. 
When writing a review for a show, I try to keep it all in perspective … on the one hand, we really should be happy that they’re still performing at all … and with both guys now well into their 70’s, this has to be a pretty strenuous activity to endure every night. (Heck I’m out of breath carrying three loads of groceries up a flight of stairs and I’m at least ten years younger than they are!)
The fact that these guys have been my idols since Day One makes it difficult, too … but I will ALWAYS be a fan first … and clearly you got my point … when I see something that seems to alter the pace of a smooth-running show, it’s my nature to offer constructive criticism as a way of saying “Step back for a moment and view this from a fan’s perspective.”  I believe there’s still a way to make the show a little less taxing for the performers - and a little more enjoyable for the audience.
In my book that’s a win / win all around.  (kk)

I consider myself to be, as you said, a “die hard Monkees fan” … yet I agree with your assessment completely.  It was a great show that was well received … but I can’t believe that ANYBODY would have missed some of these songs had they been dropped from the set list.
(If you’re not sure or you disagree, please consider this …
Would you have gone home disappointed thinking “Oh man, I can’t believe they didn’t play ‘Birth Of An Accidental Hipster” or “St. Matthew” or “Auntie Municipal’s Court” or “Nine Times Blue” or “Steam Engine” or “Grand Ennui” or “Some of Shelley’s Blues.”  Do you think that ANYONE out there felt cheated because THAT was the song they bought their ticket for and then they didn't get to hear it???  I think not!)
I think that it was a nice mix of material that gave them a chance to do a few songs that they don't normally feature in concert.  I, too, thoroughly enjoyed the trading off of lead vocals throughout the night ... but sometimes when you're putting together a show like this, you just have to take a long, hard look at the set list and say “How can I bring this show in at right around 90 minutes and give them the very best show possible?”  Let’s face it … some of these tracks that were performed that night didn’t even make The Monkees’ albums when they were first recorded because they weren’t considered strong enough to stand beside the material.  Over the years, they’ve shown up on the endless stream of compilation CD’s that Rhino keeps putting out so yes, they’re familiar … but they’re hardly what anyone would consider Monkees "standards" by any means or, for the most part, even up to the standards of their best material.
Kent, I always appreciate your concert reviews because they’re honest and they show all sides.  As a fan, you have a way of communicating with OTHER fans and letting them know exactly what to expect … and my experience as a Forgotten Hits reader for at least a dozen years now is that they’re always spot on.  Great review … great suggestions … and yes, Great Show … but one that could have been even better should they decide to heed some of your observations.

On a final note, 7A Records is releasing a live album featuring Michael Nesmith and The First National Band, recorded at The Troubadour back in January of this year.  It’ll be available August 3rd here in The States.

And Michael is doing some more solo shows after he wraps up the ones where he’s teamed with Micky … so it looks like The Nez is back!!!  (kk)

Looks like Paul McCartney’s Carpool Karaoke segment on James Corden’s Late Late Show will air on Thursday Night (June 21st), capping off a four-day stay in London.  (It would have been cool to feature this on McCartney’s birthday yesterday … but I totally get the idea of using this as the capper to the week-long London trip and the grand finale.)  Also scheduled to appear that night are The Foo Fighters.

FH Reader Shelley Sweet-Tufano sent us this (EXTREMELY!) short clip of Paul and James crusin’ the streets of London while singing “Drive My Car” …

Despite all the hoopla, the weekend came and went without a new Paul McCartney album … but there have been too many clues circulating not to expect one in the next few days.  It’ll be Macca’s first release of new music since 2013’s “New.”  Also in the works in the elaborate Paul McCartney Collection series are brand new box sets devoted to the “Red Rose Speedway” and “Wild Life” albums … due out later this year.  (kk)

Speaking of Paul McCartney, Ultimate Classic Rock ranked The Beatles' Solo Albums from Worst To Best last week …
As expected, there's all kinds of room for debate (and, as expected, you'll find most of Ringo's releases kicking off the list.)
Still it makes for fun reading with little mini-reviews of each LP (as well as commentary as to which ones have improved with ages … and which ones have worsened!)
You'll find it all here: 

So, Kent, why not start a poll: "What one Beach Boys song would you want to hear on a Volume 2 by the Royal Philharmonic?" 
I would want to hear their cover of Sail on Sailor but would also be compelled to vote for my all-time fav, Little Girl I Once Knew.