Micky Dolenz carries on The Monkees’ legacy of fun with two suburban shows this weekend
“I always say they pay me to travel, I sing for free,” said Micky Dolenz, the last remaining member of the pop-rock group The Monkees. “When I get on stage, it’s 90 minutes of fun, great music and great songs. That’s the easy part. When I get on stage, I kind of relax, like, ‘Oh, phew, I’m home from work.'”
The voice of many of The Monkees’ biggest hits will treat fans to two performances in the suburbs this weekend — at the Arcada Theatre in St. Charles on Saturday and the Des Plaines Theatre on Sunday.
Dolenz, who achieved stardom behind the drum kit on the band’s zany sitcom, which aired for two seasons from 1966 to 1968, said his aim is first and foremost to entertain the band’s fans while keeping the legacy of his friends and bandmates — Davy Jones, Peter Tork and Mike Nesmith — alive.
“I do all the hits. That’s the most important thing, and I’ve really stuck to my guns on this over all the years,” he said, “because I know that when I would go and see somebody that I was a fan of, I expect to be satisfied and at least get the big hits that they’re known for.”
He cited an Everly Brothers reunion concert he attended with his wife, both huge fans. “I was wondering if they were going to do ‘Bye, Bye Love’ and ‘Wake Up, Little Susie’ or if they had new material they were doing,” he said. “And sure enough, they did it all exactly as I remember it. … They did the big hits, and I was standing up there, tears running down my face with everybody else in the audience.”
Most of Dolenz’s performances will consist of fan-favorite Monkees’ tunes: “Last Train to Clarksville,” “I’m a Believer,” “A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You,” “Pleasant Valley Sunday” and “Daydream Believer” are all on the set list, among many others from their dozen or so Top 20 singles and four chart-topping albums. But, he said, he also likes to throw in a few non-Monkees songs and some surprises as well. He’ll also include songs from last year’s release, “Dolenz Sings Nesmith,” on which he and Nesmith’s son Christian re-imagine pieces written by his late bandmate, who before joining The Monkees was a singer-songwriter in his own right.
Do you know what song Dolenz performed at his Monkees audition? Did you hear about the time Jimi Hendrix opened for the band? This weekend’s shows also will include stories from a lifetime performing with The Monkees and other musicians and crossing creative genres into directing and producing television shows.
Dolenz said the show will feature heartwarming, funny and now sometimes poignant behind-the-scenes videos of the four bandmates as they filmed the wacky TV show, performed concerts and recorded albums, celebrating the entire legacy of the musicians and all those involved in the band’s ongoing success.
“The whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts,” Dolenz said. “You just do the best you can. You surround yourself with people who are also talented and working hard, and then all of a sudden it just sort of ignites. It just sort of takes off. And that’s what happened with The Monkees. I’d like to think the four of us had something to do with it. But it was also the directors and it was the songwriters. … And the writers of the TV show, other actors on the TV show, all kinds of elements that just got together. One of the producers once said when asked what he thought happened, ‘We caught lightning in a bottle.'”
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When: 8:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19
Where: Arcada Theatre, 105 E. Main St., St. Charles, arcadalive.com
When: 5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 20
Where: Des Plaines Theatre, 1476 Miner St., Des Plaines, desplainestheatre.com