I have always considered The Monkees’ Micky Dolenz to be one of pop/rock’s all-time greatest vocalists. Whether sitting behind the drum kit or standing center stage, Micky has always been a consistently great singer with a strong, smooth, steady voice. Seeing him perform a solo show at age 72 at Nashville’s City Winery, I still stand firmly behind my claim.
Fronting the same core band that the touring Monkees use, this Micky solo show was about as much of a Monkees’ show as one could have hoped for. To my delight, mixed in with the expected memorable Monkees’ hits were a handful of songs from their last LP, 2016’s Good Times. This great record mixed some unreleased songs by the classic Monkees’ songwriters (Goffin-King, Harry Nilsson, Boyce and Hart and Neil Diamond) with songs from some more contemporary ones (Paul Weller, Andy Partridge and Noel Gallagher). It’s an enjoyable record that I hope you didn’t miss.
The early 6pm show started with Micky barely taking the time to catch his breath during a thirty-minute non-stop burst of songs. With the aid of a slideshow on the Winery’s twin side-stage screens, tonight was also a Monkees history lesson, both visually and through Micky’s stories. He told how it was he who came up with the interesting, but ultimately inappropriate idea of Jim Hendrix touring as their opening act. We also learned that he auditioned for the band by performing a Chuck Berry song. These two interesting revelations explain why “Purple Haze” and “Johnny B. Goode” were in the show’s set list.
The Monkee songs sounded as poppy fresh as they did all those years ago. Looking back, I was surprised to notice that they only had about two years of chart success. Back then, the band had seven top-twenty hits, and Micky covered all of them tonight except for “Valleri.”
Seeing Micky the drummer play an acoustic guitar on several songs was an unusual sight. He also gave away some of his center stage time to his sister Coco for two songs. The first was “Different Drum,” the song fellow Monkee Mike Nesmith penned for Linda Ronstadt’s old band The Stone Poneys. Coco later followed with the odd choice of the Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit.” Micky would later continue this classic rock cover theme with Spencer Davis’ “Gimme Some Lovin’” before ending the set with the Monkee’s biggest hit, “I’m a Believer.”
A blast of nostalgia like tonight is welcome any time as was the 6pm early show for those of us who like to get home early. Dolenz also presented a second show at 8pm for those who love the late-night experience! It was a wonderful night with only one thing missing—Dolenz never played the drums!
- Mary, Mary
- That Was Then, This Was Now
- Sometime in the Morning
- D.W. Washburn
- You Bring the Summer
- A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You
- She Makes Me Laugh
- Last Train to Clarksville
- Johnny B. Goode (Chuck Berry cover)
- Purple Haze (Jimi Hendrix cover)
- Me and Magdalena
- Different Drum (The Stone Poneys cover)
- Let’s Dance On
- For Pete’s Sake
- Steppin’ Stone
- White Rabbit (Jefferson Airplane cover)
- Goin’ Down
- Daydream Believer
- Pleasant Valley Sunday
- Gimme Some Lovin (Spencer Davis Group cover)
- I’m a Believer
Micky Dolenz – Vocals, Drums, Percussion and Acoustic Guitar
Coco Dolenz—Backing Vocals, Percussion and Lead Vocals (#13 & #18)
Dave Alexander—Backing Vocals and Keyboards
Wayne Avers—Musical Director and Lead Guitar