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The Monkees
updated: Jul 15, 2011, 1:28 PM

By Robert Bernstein

Last night the 1960s TV show band The Monkees was reunited at the Chumash Casino for an energetic 2 1/2 hours peformance.

Americans Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork and Englishman Davy Jones were part of the reunion. Michael Nesmith was not.

They performed almost all of their top hits: I'm a Believer, Valerie, Last Train to Clarksville, I Wanna Be Free, She, Daydream Believer, Pleasant Valley Sunday, Listen to the Band, Shades of Gray. Plus many lesser-known songs. And the rest of the band finished with the Monkees Theme.

The evening was made more interesting with some inside stories of the band and the times. Their contract forbid them to talk about the US war in Vietnam, the civil rights movement, the environmental movement or anything "controversial" or "political" happening at the time. This was the height of the 1960s!

The band was really created as a prop for a TV show based on the Beatles' film "Hard Day's Night". It was never intended to be a real band that would go on tour, let alone be performing 45 years later! The Beatles were flattered by the imitation and befriended the group.

At first they said "their" Monkees records were released without them even knowing about it! The Monkees band members fought to have control over their music and performances. Many well-known musicians wrote their music behind the scenes, including Neil Diamond, Harry Nilsson and Carole King, who was especially noted.

It was a trip back in time, complete with continuous video of the original Monkees performances from the 1960s running in the background. Most enjoyable as well as a window to behind the scenes.

Peter Tork said we were welcome to take photos and even videos of their performance. He said we could even make money off of it! He just asked one thing: "If you figure out a way to make money off of us, please let us know how you did it. We have never figured out how ourselves!"

Here are my photos!

Best wishes, Robert


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