1986 20th ANNIVERSARY REUNION TOUR Dolenz, Jones, and Tork North America (May - December 1986)
(Photo by Stan Brick)
"Critics of the band wouldn't believe it--and they certainly wouldn't have been there to witness it themselves--but The Monkees are a legitimate rock and roll band. They're also entertaining, something that can't be said about some of their '80s counterparts...The Monkees are a hard act to follow."
-USA Today review of The Monkees' concert at Jones Beach Amphitheater in New York City, 7/26/86
THE SET LIST
Last Train to Clarksville A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You (I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone Cuddly Toy Goin’ Down I Wanna Be Free Your Auntie Grizelda She Cripple Creek For Pete’s Sake That Was Then, This Is Now Shades of Gray Look Out (Here Comes Tomorrow) No Time Daydream Believer Zilch / Randy Scouse Git I’ll Love You Forever MGBGT Valleri I’m a Believer Encore: Listen to the Band Pleasant Valley Sunday
May 24: Concord Hotel, Kiamesha Lake, New York May 30: Tropicana, Atlantic City, New Jersey May 31: Tropicana, Atlantic City, New Jersey June 1: Tropicana, Atlantic City, New Jersey June 3: Warner Theatre, Erie, Pennsylvania June 4: Stanley Theatre, Utica, New York June 5: Samuel Clemens Theatre, Elmira, New York June 6: Great Arena, Great Adventure, Jackson, New Jersey June 7: State Theatre, Cleveland, Ohio June 8: Woodlands, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania June 10: Newport Music Hall, Columbus, Ohio June 11: Newport Music Hall, Columbus, Ohio June 12: Santa Teresa Country Club, Santa Teresa, New Mexico June 13: Fort Bliss Army Base, El Paso, Texas June 14: Civic Auditorium, Omaha, Nebraska June 15: Nebraska Land Days, North Platte, Nebraska June 17: Cotillion Ballroom, Wichita, Kansas June 18: Sandstone, Kansas City, Missouri June 19: Riverfront Amphitheatre, Hannibal, Missouri June 20: Steamboat Days, Burlington, Iowa June 21: Civic Center, Des Moines, Iowa June 22: Arlington Stadium, Arlington, Texas June 24: Bayfront Arena, Corpus Christi, Texas June 25: Sunken Gardens, San Antonio, Texas June 26: Frank Erwin Center, Austin, Texas June 27: Southern Star Amphitheatre, Houston, Texas June 28: Civic Center, Beaumont, Texas June 29: Audubon Zoo, New Orleans, Louisiana July 1: Mud Island Amphitheatre, Memphis, Tennessee July 2: Starwood Amphitheatre, Nashville, Tennessee July 3: Civic Center, Albany, Georgia July 4: Robarts Arena, Sarasota, Florida July 5: Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater, Florida July 6: Flagler Greyhound Track, Miami, Florida July 8: Wolftrap Park, Vienna, Virginia July 9: Civic Center, Pittsbugh, Pennsylvania July 10: Blossom Music Festival, Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio July 11: Chautauqua Institute, Chautauqua, New York July 12: Ontario Place, Toronto, Ontario, Canada July 13: Ottawa Congress Center, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada July 14: Fingerlakes Center, Lake Canandaigua, New York July 17: Jones Beach Theatre, Wantagh, New York July 18: Warwick Musical Theatre, Warwick, Rhode Island July 19: South Shore Music Circus, Cohasset, Massachusetts July 20: Oakdale Music Theatre, Wallingford, Connecticut July 21: Cape Cod Melody Tent, Hyannis, Massachusetts July 22: Pier 84, New York, New York July 23: Performing Arts Center, Saratoga Springs, New York July 25: Great Arena, Great Adventure, Jackson, New Jersey July 26: Jones Beach Theatre, Wantagh, New York July 29: Club Casino, Hampton Beach, New Hampshire July 30: Club Casino, Hampton Beach, New Hampshire July 31: Wolftrap Park, Vienna, Virginia August 1: Pier Six Pavillion, Baltimore, Maryland August 2: Garden State Arts Center, Holmdel, New Jersey August 3: Mann Music Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania August 5: Pine Knob Music Theatre, Clarkston, Michigan August 6: Pine Knob Music Theatre, Clarkston, Michigan August 7: Poplar Creek Music Theatre, Hoffman Estates, Illinois August 8: Riverbend, Cincinnati, Ohio August 9: Mulligans Hollow, Grand Haven, Michigan August 10: Wisconsin State Fair, Milwaukee, Wisconsin August 12: Civic Center, Peoria, Illinois August 13: Powell Hall, St. Louis, Missouri August 15: Douglas County Fair, Waterloo, Nebraska August 16: Brown County Fair, Aberdeen, South Dakota August 17: Hall County Fair, Grand Island, Nebraska August 19: Sioux Empire Fair, Sioux Falls, South Dakota August 20: Carlton Celebrity Theatre, Bloomington, Minnesota August 21: Carlton Celebrity Theatre, Bloomington, Minnesota August 27: Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Denver, Colorado August 29: The Lagoon, Salt Lake City, Utah August 30: Civic Stadium, Portland, Oregon August 31: Marriotts Great America, Santa Clara, California September 1: Marriotts Great America, Santa Clara, California September 4: Pacific Amphitheatre, Costa Mesa, California
September 5: Greek Theatre, Los Angeles, California September 6: Greek Theatre, Los Angeles, California September 7: Greek Theatre, Los Angeles, California * September 8: Hilton Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada September 9: Hilton Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada September 10: Hilton Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada September 11: Hilton Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada September 12: Hilton Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada September 13: Hilton Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada September 14: Hilton Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada September 15: Memorial Coliseum, Phoenix, Arizona September 17: Dane County Arena, Madison, Wisconsin September 18: Marketplace Arena, Indianapolis, Indiana September 19: Oklahoma State Fair, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma September 20: Veterans Stadium, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania September 21: Valley Forge Music Fair, Devon, Pennsylvania September 23: Bloomsburg Fair, Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania September 24: War Memorial Arena, Buffalo, New York September 25: Civic Center, Hartford, Connecticut September 26: Sullivan Stadium, Foxboro, Massachusetts September 27: Trump Plaza, Atlantic City, New Jersey September 28: Westbury Music Fair, Westbury, New York September 29: Broome City Arena, Binghamton, New York September 30: Landmark Theatre, Syracuse, New York October 8: Civic Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania October 9: Cambria War Memorial Coliseum, Johnstown, Pennsylvania October 10: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Fieldhouse, Troy, New York October 11: Patriot Center, Fairfax, Virginia October 12: Scope Convention Center, Norfolk, Virginia October 14: Brendan Byrne Arena, Meadowlands, Secaucus, New Jersey October 15: Civic Center, Baltimore, Maryland October 16: Richmond Coliseum, Richmond, Virginia October 17: Dean Dome, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina October 18: The Omni, Atlanta, Georgia October 19: O’Connell Center, Gainesville, Florida October 22: Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana October 23: Jackson Coliseum, Jackson, Mississippi October 24: Mobile Municipal Auditorium, Mobile, Alabama October 25: Barton Coliseum, Little Rock, Arkansas October 26: Louisiana Tech, Ruston, Louisiana October 29: Chattanooga Arena, University of Tennessee, Chattanooga, Tennessee October 30: Civic Coliseum, Knoxville, Tennessee October 31: University of Dayton Arena, Dayton, Ohio November 1: Roberts Stadium, Evansville, Indiana November 2: Rosemont Horizon, Rosemont, Illinois November 4: Kiel Auditorium, St. Louis, Missouri November 5: Civic Center, Peoria, Illinois November 6: Five Seasons Center, Cedar Rapids, Iowa November 7: La Crosse Center, La Crosse, Wisconsin November 8: Duluth Arena, Duluth, Minnesota November 10: Fort Wayne Coliseum, Fort Wayne, Indiana November 11: Athletic Center, Notre Dame University, South Bend, Indiana November 12: Browne County Arena, Green Bay, Wisconsin November 14: Centennial Hall, Toledo, Ohio November 15: Wing Stadium, Kalamazoo, Michigan November 16: Silverdome, Pontiac, Michigan November 17: Richfield Stadium, Cleveland, Ohio November 20: The Centrum, Worcester, Massachusetts November 21: Cumberland County Civic Center, Portland, Maine November 22: Bangor Auditorium, Bangor, Maine November 23: Civic Center, Providence, Rhode Island November 24: Utica War Memorial, Utica, New York November 25: Rochester War Memorial, Rochester, New York November 28: Hershey Arena, Hershey, Pennsylvania November 29: Civic Center, Roanoke, Virginia November 30: Charlotte Coliseum, Charlotte, North Carolina December 1: Civic Center Arena, Charleston, West Virginia December 3: Stabler Arena, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
* = with Michael Nesmith
(Photo by Henry Diltz)
In 1985 music promoter David Fishof had been promoting the Happy Together shows, a series of Sixties-revival package tours. He eventually approached Peter Tork in Manhattan about the idea of a Monkees reunion to celebrate the group's upcoming 20th anniversary. Tork initially turned him down, but agreed to attend one of the Happy Together concerts from backstage before making a final decision. Peter came away impressed and agreed to travel to England with Fishof to broach the idea with both Micky Dolenz and Davy Jones. Having encountered success as a TV and video director in England, Dolenz was very reluctant and unsure if there would be any interest in seeing The Monkees in concert again. Fishof and Tork found Jones tending his horses and starring in a production of Godspell in London at the time. But Fishof persisted. After multiple transatlantic trips, Micky and Davy agreed to join the reunion.
The final piece of the reunion puzzle was Michael Nesmith. By the 1980s, he was the owner of the Pacific Arts Corporation, which developed various media projects and produced motion pictures. Despite his bustling workload, Nesmith was, in fact, originally going to participate in the tour. "When the whole thing [the Monkees reunion] first started off, there were 10 or 12 dates and I was on them and looking forward to it," Michael toldGoldmine magazine in 1991. "Well, because it was the 20th Anniversary and nobody knew it was going to get as big as it did, it went from 20 dates to 200 in just a matter of weeks." Because Nesmith was producing the film Square Dance at the time, he was ultimately forced to withdraw from the reunion. "I'd planned on being able to tuck and roll the movie in between the [Monkees] dates but the next thing I know it had gone from going out for a few weekends to going out for four months solid. So, the time constraints just conspired against me." Nesmith instead voiced his support for the rest of the group as well as his desire to play with The Monkees when the moment allowed. "Then, for some reason," he said, "the perception got out that, well, he never did like this whole thing, and the fact of the matter is that Nesmith does just fine with it. I like it a lot, it's perfectly fine," Michael told Goldmine. Before the tour got underway, Micky took a moment to reassure fans about Michael's support for the trio's new activities, telling the Philadelphia Daily News that "He's behind us all the way."
With the reunion now finalized, David Fishof was at first unsure how to promote a Monkees reunion tour and even less certain of how it would be received. But an event in early 1986 changed everything. On February 23, 1986 MTV aired a weekend marathon of The Monkees television series. The reaction was overwhelming and birthed what would become a major resurgence for The Monkees just as the band was set to reunite. "We've never received such a volume of mail," MTV's general manager Tom Freston told Rolling Stone magazine in September 1986 about the initial response to the marathon airing of episodes. "We were dumbfounded by the whole thing." The perfect storm that was brewing around the reunion was completed just as the music of The Monkees was being made available again. In 1985, Rhino Records licensed the rights to the band's original nine albums and immediately began a reissue program, even before MTV started to air the series.
The Monkees in New York City (May 1986)
The Monkees’ 20th Anniversary Reunion Tour of 1986 became one of the biggest grossing tours of that year and the hottest ticket of the summer, having sold out nearly every date on the itinerary. The tour was originally booked in small amphitheaters for a period of six weeks. But after the heavy promotion by MTV, a new generation of Monkees fans was born and the demand for tickets increased dramatically. As a result, the tour quickly stormed into larger capacity arenas and stadiums, keeping the trio on the road for an incredible six months. A press conference was held on May 28, 1986 at the Hard Rock Cafe in New York City to officially announce that The Monkees would embark on a 100-plus city tour. (Nesmith originally planned to be at this press conference with Dolenz, Jones and Tork to explain his absence from the tour, but scheduling conflicts prevented his attendance.) Two weeks of rehearsals were undertaken at a Catskill Mountains resort in New York before the tour officially kicked off on May 30, 1986 in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Micky, Davy, and Peter onstage in 1986 (Photos by Stan Brick)
(Photo by Michael G. Bush)
Herman’s Hermits, Gary Puckett and The Union Gap, and The Grass Roots were featured as opening acts on the tour. An eight-piece backing band, including a horn section, provided instrumental support for the three Monkees. Peter played rhythm and lead guitar throughout the show, as well as the banjo on “Cripple Creek.” Micky occasionally used a stand-up electronic drum kit at the front of the stage, and Davy provided his usual percussion parts. Micky also played guitar on “Pleasant Valley Sunday” at most of the shows. The backing band included Dusty Hanvey (guitar), Larry Nelson (keyboards), Mark Clarke (bass), Eddie Zyne (drums), Kevin Osborne (trombone), John Leslie (saxophone), Lon Seaman (trumpet), and Jim O'Connor (trumpet).
A compilation album with three newly recorded songs, Then & Now...the Best of The Monkees, was released by Arista and went platinum during the tour. “That Was Then, This Is Now” became the band's new single and a video for it was filmed at the Great Arena in Jackson, New Jersey on July 25 (and can be seen below). The video received heavy airplay on MTV, making the song a Billboard Top 20 hit in the summer of 1986. (Another new track from the Then and Now album, "Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere," co-written by original Monkees tunesmith Bobby Hart, can be heard below.) An original Tork composition, “MGBGT,” as well as Davy’s “I’ll Love You Forever,” rounded out the new material being played on the tour.
During some of the earliest shows, Peter performed “Peter Percival Patterson’s Pet Pig Porky” before “Pleasant Valley Sunday.” Peter, as he would do on all future tours, handled lead vocals on his self-penned “For Pete’s Sake,” unlike the album version of the song where Micky sings the lead vocal. Peter also sang the complete lead on “Shades Of Gray,” slightly different from the album version featuring Davy sharing the lead vocal with Peter. "Listen To The Band" showcased all three members, an arrangement that would continue during future Monkees tours. The members of the backing band would be introduced each night during the performance of "Listen to the Band."
Fans gathered at a 1986 Monkees concert (Photo by Michael G. Bush)
After the initial success of the "Pleasant Valley Sunday" marathon of The Monkees television series on February 23, MTV started to air the series twice a day, seven days a week. By April, the show was being screened three times a day. Micky and Peter acted as guest VJs on MTV in early May, and another marathon of episodes occurred in June. During the summer of 1986, 87 television stations around the United States were syndicating The Monkees' series. By the time the video for "That Was Then, This Is Now" debuted on MTV in early August, Monkeemania was in full swing again. The trio later performed at the 1986 MTV Video Music Awards with their backing band (seen below). With the tour still adding dates in the fall, MTV brought in Micky, Davy, and Peter to host another extended airing of episodes in October. Peter often referenced the MTV phenomenon while on stage. "Those of you who know a little bit about the history of our group," he would say to a thunderous reaction from the crowd, "...Well, that tells me one of two things - your age or your cable viewing habits."
The presence of The Monkees on MTV, the success of the new single and the popularity of the tour resulted in seven of the nine original Monkees albums returning to the Billboard Top 200 chart, along with the Then and Now collection. By the end of 1986,Rhino Records had sold over 2 million albums in The Monkees' back catalog. "We weren't prepared for this," Dolenz said in a 1986 interview. "Suddenly we found ourselves one of the hottest acts of the summer." With Monkees fandom at its new height, two major Monkees conventions were scheduled around concerts in Philadelphia (August) and in Los Angeles (September), with various members of the trio making appearances at the events in both cities.
The 1986 live album
The reunion tour that was originally planned to be a small, low-key jaunt across the United States for a few weeks in the summer of 1986 finally came to a close in December, almost six months after it started. The final two dates of the tour (Civic Center Arena in Charleston, West Virginia on December 1 and Stabler Arena in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania on December 3) were recorded. The tracks were later mixed at Record Plant Studios in New York City by Peter and tour bassist Mark Clarke. The subsequent live double album, 20th Anniversary Tour 1986, was apparently slated to be sold in stores but ultimately was never made available at retail. It was sold, however, at the 1987 concerts and later through mail order by Rhino Records. The album was reissued on compact disc as Live! and could be purchased at the merchandise booths during the 1996 tour.
Club 4D in Manhattan
Though absent from most 20th Anniversary festivities, Michael Nesmith did attend a Monkees concert in disguise at Arlington Stadium in Texas on June 22. "I thought they did a great job," Nesmith told a Texas newspaper. "As a matter of fact, I called Micky the next day and told him I thought it was sensational." He finally joined Dolenz, Jones, and Tork onstage for the encore performance at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles, California on September 7. All four Monkees also took part in filming a Christmas medley music video for MTV in early December (seen below). The video featured Mike as "Santa Claus" and was in heavy rotation on the cable network during the holiday season. After filming, the quartet hosted a party at a Manhattan nightclub to celebrate the end of a very successful year for The Monkees.
In 1995, Micky recalled the 20th Anniversary reunion tour in an interview with the Atlanta Journal/Constitution. "It was hard to do anything wrong," Dolenz said. "There were three or four generations of folks out there. I was amused, but also touched - there was so much love."
"Unlike many revived 60's acts that robotically churn out old hits, the three Monkees exhibited genuine affection and care toward their music and an unpretentious attitude in their performance. And playing to a crowd of more than 11,000 screaming fans that spanned two generations undoubtedly boosted the exuberance level of the band members."
(Above) One of the first shows on the tour in Atlantic City, New Jersey
(Above) The music video for "That Was Then, This Is Now"
(Above) Chicago soundboard recording
(Above) "I'm a Believer" live in Los Angeles
(Above) One of three new songs recorded in 1986, "Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere"
(Above) Live in Portland, Maine
MICHAEL ON SEEING THE MONKEES LIVE IN 1986
Mike enters at the Greek
"I got some inkling of what the whole thing was about. I wondered to myself if I could have ever been a Monkees fan, because I really liked that experience; I liked the way Micky sang, I liked the way Davy sang and the way he looked. I liked the love that was exchanged between the audience and the performers, and the reciprocity of it, which was complete. There was a lot coming off the stage from those guys, and a lot going back to the people. It was edifying on one hand, but on the other hand it was uplifting. I had never realized that was going on at Monkees concerts because what I was trying to do was play loud enough so I could be heard."
-Michael Nesmith, interviewed after attending his former bandmates' concert at Arlington Stadium in Texas on June 22, 1986
MORE FOOTAGE FROM THE '86 TOUR
(Above) MTV's Year in Rock
(Above) Live at the Pontiac Silverdome in Michigan
(Above) The 1986 MTV Christmas music video
All four Monkees reunited at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles, September 7, 1986 (Photo by Nancy Clendaniel)
"(Theme From) The Monkees" was played by the backing band at the end of the show as The Monkees took their bows and waved goodbye to the audience.