Micky, Peter, and the band performed tonight in Morristown, New Jersey at the Mayo Performing Arts Center. Thanks to Andrew Sandoval for passing along the night's set list to the Live Almanac.
"A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You," which returned to the set earlier this month, remained in the show, and "Porpoise Song" has also resurfaced. The big news of the night, however, is that Micky's "Midnight Train," from the 1970 album Changes, was played for the first time ever at a Monkees concert.
Andrew Sandoval posted footage on Twitter and Facebook of Micky, Peter, and the band rehearsing Micky's "Midnight Train" along with a promise of some surprises for tonight's show. You can also check out the Live Almanac's Twitter account for footage of "Midnight Train" being rehearsed.
Monkees Monthly was a British magazine published by Beat Publications between February 1967 and September 1969. Subscriptions were available to those outside of the UK, and each issue (led by editor Jackie Richmond) contained rare black and white photos, exclusive features, news, a mailbag, and more. Below you will find all 32 issues, straight from my collection.
In a 2002 interview with Mojo magazine, Micky Dolenz discussed the significance of the 'black box' in the movie Head. "...About us as individuals getting stuck in this black box, which was a metaphor for The Monkees. We used to talk about being in a black box all the time. When we were on tour, especially - but even being on the TV set. We couldn't leave a room or hotel. We were shuffled around from limo to hotel room to limo to the back entrance of a concert arena in a dressing room. It was even a little black box onstage because we used to jump out of these fake Vox amps. So for more than two years, we lived -literally - in a little black box."
(From "Mutant Monkees Meet The Masters of the Multimedia Manipulation Machine!" by Davy Jones & Alan Green)
By the time The Monkees Present was released in October 1969, the group's commercial fortunes had dwindled. Their eighth LP, it peaked at a disappointing #100 on the Billboard charts. Original plans were more substantial than the product that was finally delivered. "It's going to be a double album," Micky said during an appearance on The Hy Lit Show in late 1968, "where we'll each have a side where we produce our own particular sounds, whatever." Peter Tork's subsequent departure, combined with The Monkees' steady drop in popularity, nixed those ideas.
When The Monkees Present hit record stores, the original double album concept had been pared down to a single disc. Even the cover art fell victim to the group's plummeting fame. Michael Nesmith recalled the change years later in a conversation with Andrew Sandoval. "The one that had the black and white cover done with Marks-A-Lot," said Nez when referring to Neko Cholis' sleeve design, "that was supposed to be in color. Apparently it was in color and they wouldn't do a color separation, because by that time we were, you know, as cold as yesterday's soup. Nobody would spend any money."
In 1994, The Monkees Present made its compact disc debut courtesy of Rhino Records. It was finally issued with a color cover, redrawn and designed by Lisa Sutton:
Here's the unused original color gatefold art for The Monkees Present. Like the color cover design, the gatefold style was not utilized when the LP was ultimately pressed.
(From "The Monkees Present" deluxe edition booklet / Courtesy of Bill Inglot Collection - click to enlarge)
The current Live Almanac poll (which can be found in the blog sidebar to the right) is asking fans to choose their favorite Monkees album cover. The Monkees Present is at the bottom of the barrel, garnering just 1.15% of the hundreds of votes cast at the time of this blog post.
This photo comes from the final issue of Monkees Monthly, an item that has eluded my collection for many years. I'd like to send a big thank you to longtime Monkees collector (and author) Ed Reilly for scanning the entire issue for me.
(From the September 1969 issue of Monkees Monthly)