What is an adventure if not a dream realized? For decades kids have dreamed about joining a rock and roll band, making music, and going on tour. In 1965 four such kids were thrown into the ultimate rock and roll adventure when they were cast as the Monkees.
What started as a quirky TV show about four guys in a band living at the beach quickly turned into a runaway train and made the Monkees not only a real band, but a band that rivaled the Beatles in popularity. A popularity that still continues today.
And thank goodness for that because it means that fifty years after their inception, I can still pick up the entertainment section of the paper to see that they’re coming to town to play a show. And not a sad, off-strip Vegas reimagining of the Monkees. This is the real deal. Original members putting on a rock and roll show for fans of all ages.
I suggested a family reunion of sorts when I heard the Monkees were coming to Vina Robles Ampitheatre in Paso Robles since my mom and her sisters are Monkees fans. It was going to be me, my mom, two of my aunts, and their husbands (my uncles). Then one aunt dropped out because her daughter was getting married and her bridal shower ended up being the same day (congrats cousin!). Then the other aunt dropped out because she hurt her shoulder (boo for injuries!). So my mom and I were left with six seats and only two of us. What to do, what to do? Well we ended up putting together a ragtag group of friends that had never met but, because most of our friends are super awesome people, got along great.
In anticipation of the concert, I made a Monkees shirt, bought a green wool cap, and saved up my pennies so I would be able to splurge on souvenirs. On the big day we arrived just in time for me to buy a Psychojelly shirt with a drawing of Micky’s face on it (hard to explain), a program, stickers, a mug, and two keychains. I splurged hard.
I always have a difficult time describing concerts I’ve attended because they’re such in-the-moment experiences. There’s the initial thrill of excitement when the house lights go down, the energy that spreads through the audience as the first notes blast out of the speakers, the smiles that are so big they make your cheeks hurt.
For me, Monkees concerts are the best because they bring back so many memories. Memories of getting my first cassette tape which happened to be a Monkees greatest hits. Watching every one of the TV shows over and over during the summer. Flipping through my aunt’s old Tiger Beat magazines. Singing along to their CDs in the car. Visiting friends in Arizona and watching the Monkees 1996 special. I know every word to every song and I find that, for one night, I don’t care that I’m singing in front of strangers and clapping like it’s my job.
This particular show was especially fun because my mom’s best friend drove up at the last minute so she could go with us and one of my very best friends (all the way back from junior high band) brought his boyfriend along to celebrate their anniversary. We sang, we danced, we laughed at the people who forgot the words because they were wine drunk.
The Monkees are still absolutely fabulous entertainers and put on an amazing show. They played their hits, their personal favorites, and a couple of new ones (see: Good Times album review in Random). They paid tribute to Davy Jones, bantered with each other, and joked around onstage. We left the show that night feeling the natural high that only music can give you.
"Life is pure adventure, and the sooner we realize that, the sooner we will be able to treat life as art."