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Concert Review: Styx at Talking Stick Resort

Beneath a Desert Sky featured Styx’s show at Talking Stick Resort on their website. Check out the review here.

All photos by Fred Kuhlman

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Preview: Whitesnake Coming to Talking Stick Pool This Summer

Traci Baker from Examiner previewed the Whitesnake show coming to the Pool at Talking Stick Resort on Friday, June 5th. You can read the preview here and be sure to get your tickets.

Blue Oyster Cult Live at The Pressroom Saturday, April 26, 2014

BOC-PressroomDanny Zelisko Presents Blue Oyster Cult live at The Pressroom in Phoenix on Saturday, April 26th, 2014 at 8 p.m.  Tickets for the concert go on sale Friday, March 7th at 10 a.m.

For over four decades, Blue Öyster Cult has been thrilling fans of intelligent hard rock worldwide with powerful albums loaded with classic songs. Indeed, the Long Island, NY based band is revered within the hard rock and heavy metal scene for its pioneering work. Blue Öyster Cult occupies a unique place in rock history because it’s one of the very few hard rock/heavy metal bands to earn both genuine mainstream critical acclaim as well as commercial success.

The band is often cited as a major influence by other acts such as Metallica.    BÖC was listed in VH1’s countdown as one of the greatest hard rock bands of all time.

Upon release of BÖC’s self-­titled debut album in 1972, the band was praised for its catchy, yet heavy music and lyrics that could be provocative, terrifying, funny or ambiguous, often all in the same song. BÖC’s canon includes three stone-­cold classic songs that will waft through the cosmos long after the sun has burned out: The truly haunting “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” from 1976’s Agents of Fortune, the pummeling “Godzilla” from 1977’s Spectres and the hypnotically melodic “Burnin’ for You” from 1981’s Fire of Unknown Origin. Other notable BÖC songs include “Cities on Flame with Rock and Roll,” “Then Came the Last Days of May,” “I Love the Night,” “In Thee,” “Veteran of the Psychic Wars,” “Dominance and Submission,” “Astronomy,” “Black Blade” and “Shooting Shark.”

The intense creative vision of BÖC’s original core duo of vocalist/lead guitarist Donald “Buck Dharma” Roeser, and vocalist/rhythm guitarist Eric Bloom are complemented by Richie Castellano on guitar and keyboards, and the longtime rhythm section of bass guitarist Kasim Sulton, and drummer Jules Radino.

We realize we’re a ‘classic rock’ band. That’s what we are, that’s what we do best and that’s what we know. The band members are proud of BÖC’s classic sound, and pleased the band is creating vibrant work for disenfranchised music lovers who don’t like the homogenized, prefabricated pop or sound-­‐alike, formulaic rap-­‐metal, which monopolizes the radio airwaves and best-­‐seller charts.

BÖC has always maintained a relentless touring schedule that brings new songs and classics to original fans and, as Bloom puts it, “teen-­‐agers” with green hair.

Blue Oyster Cult will perform at The Pressroom in Phoenix (441 W. Madison Street) onSaturday, April 26th, 2014 at 8 p.m. (doors 7 p.m.)  Tickets ($39 in advance, $45 the day of the show) will be available for purchase on Friday, March 7th at 10 a.m. viawww.dannyzeliskopresents.com.

About Danny Zelisko Presents: Danny Zelisko has been bringing shows to Valley since 1974.  He founded and ran Evening Star Productions up until 2001 when he sold his beloved company, and is now back on his own happily bringing great shows to the Valley. Danny hosts a weekly radio show, Phoenix Finest Rock, every Thursday night at 8:00 PM heard locally on 93.9 FM, or on the internet at www.KWSS.org. For more info:www.dannyzeliskopresents.com

 

About The Pressroom: The Pressroom, located in the heart of the downtown Phoenix Warehouse District at 441 W. Madison Street was built in the 1920’s. The 14,000 square foot, red brick building once housed the city’s most modern printing press of the time. With a full liquor license, indoor 1000+ person capacity and ample outdoor space, the venue will accommodate concerts, weddings, private parties, corporate meetings, performing and visual arts and sporting events. Noted concert promoter, Danny Zelisko of Danny Zelisko Presents, will be booking the room. Zelisko, who has been promoting concerts in Arizona and elsewhere since 1974, has become a household name in the music scene.

Phil Vassar at Talking Stick Resort

phil-vassar-photoPhil Vassar’s life took a turn after his parents received an antique piano from a relative.

“I always loved Billy Joel and Ray Charles,” says Vassar, calling from his Nashville home. “Then when I heard ‘Easy Like Sunday Morning,’ I knew that, oh man, I loved that kind of stuff. So I just went down and figured out how to play.”

He’s not exaggerating. Vassar never took a lesson, instead learning on his own at his family’s home in Virginia.

“I have no idea how I did it,” Vassar says. “I guess if you like something enough, you just learn how to do it. It’s like playing tennis or building cabinets.”

Of course, it’s unlikely a weekend tennis player could enjoy the kind of success that Vassar has experienced. The singer-songwriter hit the country charts in 1999 with “Carlene,” a rollicking bit of nostalgia. He went on to score eight more Top 10 hits over the next decade, including “Just Another Day in Paradise,” “Six-Pack Summer” and “In a Real Love.”

Like most of his compositions, those songs were written on piano.

“I still play guitar and drums, but the piano is my go-to instrument,” says Vassar, who has also penned hits for Tim McGraw and Alan Jackson. “I have no idea what first attracted me, but it’s just something I love.”

However, don’t let the piano give you the wrong impression of the 49-year-old musician. If you’ve never seen Vassar, do not visualize a staid guy sitting at a baby grand, singing one ballad after another.

“Piano makes you think of somebody sitting around being all melancholy,” Vassar says. “I’ve always done more of a rocking show. I try to incorporate a little storyteller kind of thing in certain shows, but I like moving around. These shows are pretty high energy.”

Vassar has earned a reputation as a showman, which has proved invaluable. It’s been six years since he had a single penetrate the Top 30 on the country charts. His last studio album, a Christmas disc called “Noel,” was released in 2011. But by focusing so much attention on crafting lively, entertaining concerts, he has been able to stay on the road without new music on the radio.

“I want people to look at the schedule and go, ‘He’s coming back in April and we’re going to go, because every time he comes to town, we love it.’ There’s always going to be new artists who come and go — whatever, that’s part of the business,” says Vassar, who often performs up to 20 dates a month. “But if you build a show that people enjoy and you don’t have have to rely on the radio, then you’re doing OK.”

He talks about recently seeing a concert in Nashville by Donny and Marie Osmond, who haven’t exactly been burning up the charts in recent years.

“Good God, it was awesome,” he says. “That’s the thing. If you just consistently give people good shows, it will work out in the end.”

Reach the reporter at randy.cordova@arizonarepublic.com or 602-444-8849. Twitter.com/randy_cordova.


Phil Vassar

When: 8 p.m. Friday, March 7.

Where: Talking Stick Resort, 9800 E. Indian Bend Road, Salt River Reservation.

Admission:$30-$45.

Details: 480-850-7734, ticketmaster.com.

Aaron Lewis: I Feel Like Country Is The Music of Real America

Article and Photos By Caleb Haley

For more than 20 years singer and guitarist Aaron Lewis’ powerful, rolling baritone voice has carried fans on a personal journey into his life through songs of acceptance, consequences, depression, love, and family–both with the alternative metal band Staind and most recently his solo country ballads.

Friday night, in the close-quarters setting of the sold-out showroom at Talking Stick Resort, Lewis mingled with the crowd, smoked cigarettes, drank whiskey, and provided a moving, intimate and informal acoustic event.

Outside of the showroom the slot machines rang and casino dealers were turning over house-favoring blackjack hands; the usual casino madness was in full swing, but Lewis’ audience was none the wiser as they sat patiently, waiting for the performance to begin. Shortly after eight Lewis emerged onto the darkened stage to a roar of cheers. Sauntering toward his microphone, leaving a vapor trail of smoke in his wake from a cigarette dangling loosely in his mouth, Lewis snagged his acoustic guitar off its stand and slung it over his shoulder.

The spotlights rose to illuminate Lewis, wearing a camouflage hat, a thick graying beard, and a Metallica World Tour t-shirt. Four band members took their places on stage, and after resting the burning cigarette in an ashtray atop a small table near his microphone, Lewis and his band dove into the first song of what would be a two-and-a-half hour set list full of original country tracks, Staind renditions, and various covers.

Kicking it off with a handful of country songs, including the radio single “Granddaddy’s Gun,” Lewis’ powerful voice filled every inch of the room as he sang about living and loving. The performance was in no way the typical event that sold out Staind’s headlining tours in the early 2000’s, but it was also far different from the pop-infused country concerts dominating the mainstream today. Frankly, it was superior to both.

“I’ve caught a lot of shit for this next one,” said Lewis at one point. “I find it funny, since it’s my fucking song.” That song was the country version of “Mudshovel” off of the 1999 Staind album Dysfunction. The re-imagining of one of his heavier early songs was crafted masterfully and powerfully around the acoustic twang of guitars and keyboards, and by the end it was almost hard to imagine that it was ever recorded as anything but a country song–almost.

Halfway through the set, the other members of the band left the stage for a few songs allowing Lewis to stand with just him and his acoustic guitar as he told more stories from his life, joked with the audience and sang the staple Staind song “So Far Away”, followed by the first verse of “Wanted Dead or Alive” by Bon Jovi.

“I don’t know the rest of it,” said Lewis after nailing the dead or alive chorus, “it’s a good song even though it’s Bon Jovi.”

After a few more songs, the rest of the band rejoined Lewis on stage and continued their reign of country ballads that embodied the heartfelt style of Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, Charlie Daniels and George Strait in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. During the song “Forever”, about being away from his family for long periods of time, the pain and angst in Lewis’ voice channeled energy reminiscent of Kris Kristofferson in the 1976 film A Star is Born.

More stories, ranging from his grandfather in WWII to his hunting experiences, were woven into the remainder of the set list, which included “Red, White & Blue” and a cover of “Long Haired Country Boy” by the Charlie Daniels Band, with the lyrics tweaked into telling the story of a tattooed country boy instead.

After talking momentarily to the audience, Lewis led off with his version of “Turn the Page” by Bob Seger. With another song down and another cigarette lit, the Crown Royal began to sink in, prompting Lewis to ask himself, “What else can I pull out of my ass?” He spent the majority of the encore playing bits and pieces of various songs, and the crowd laughed along while shouting out requests.

Upon thanking the audience in the room for 20 years of support, Lewis sang his introspective and by-now-classic song “It’s Been Awhile” and then walked off stage. The crowd whistled and cheered, begging for one more song. What they got was an encore that lasted more than 30 minutes from the moment Lewis came back on stage by himself.

He dedicated “Rooster” by Alice in Chains to all the members of the military, and followed that song with a story about writing the Staind single “Outside” while staying at Fred Durst of Limp Bizkit’s house skateboarding, bowlingm and getting wasted.

“God bless Fred Durst and DJ Lethal,” said Lewis before playing “Outside”. “They are the reason I’m up here today.”

The final song of Lewis’ performance was the first and most popular country song he has written so far: “Country Boy”. The band came back on stage for the last song and Lewis began by taking his hat off to say the Pledge of Allegiance.

CRITICS NOTEBOOK:
Last Night: Aaron Lewis at Talking Stick Resort
The Crowd: A mellow and varied mix of folks. Both country lovers in cowboy hats and flannel shirts mixed with metal lovers in Pantera and Slayer t-shirts living together in harmony.
Personal Bias: While looking around the crowd, it occurred to me that Aaron Lewis fits seamlessly into both fan demographics.

His metalhead-meets-country-boy persona was brought to light even more so in the hours leading up to his performance at Talking Stick Resort when Up on the Sun spoke with Lewis about everything from archery hunting, and the Grand Ole Opry to the current pulse of Staind and his body of work as a country musician.

I read that you enjoy archery hunting–I love bowhunting, myself.
I’m totally a die-hard bowhunter. I had an encounter at seven yards with a 170+ [whitetail deer] two days ago. He had to take five more steps to hit the gap and I would have let all the air out of him with a rage, and he caught my camera guy moving in the tree. Can you believe that? [He was] an absolute giant, with a 10-point mainframe and stickers and tickers everywhere.

No way. Where did this happen?
In Oklahoma. It was definitely a Boon & Crockett deer. I’m still sick over it that I didn’t kill that deer because he caught the other guy moving. Literally five more steps and he would have been dead.

[Lewis and I lose track of time for a bit when we start swapping hunting stories with each other for the next ten minutes]

I should probably ask some music questions–I could talk all day about hunting.
[Laughs] Yeah let’s do it, I have a whole list to get through also.

I know that country music has always been deep in your soul. What gave you the final push to recently pursue it commercially?
It’s where I come from. It’s the only music where I can be driving down the road and hear a song and burst into tears. I feel like country music is the music of the heartland. It’s the music of the real America, not the big metropolitan areas that override real America merely because there are more of them.

It was time to do something different, and re-inspire myself. Out of all the options that I had in front of me, that one absolutely made the most sense.

Can you describe what it was like collaborating with George Jones, Charlie Daniels, and Chris Young for “Country Boy”?
It was pretty surreal. Especially considering that was the first country song I had ever written. It was an amazing experience to become really good friends with Charlie and Chris.

Unfortunately, I only met George briefly, but I wasn’t in the studio with him when he was doing the stuff because I had already gone home. When I was there during the week he couldn’t be there because he was sick. A week or two later he came in and did his stuff when he was feeling better.

Going further into that, besides the obvious differences in their actual music, is it much different recording with country artists like those I mentioned compared to formerly collaborating with musicians like Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park and Corey Taylor?
No, it isn’t really any different, except from the type of music. The approach is still the same. I kind of let the songs write themselves, and I’ve always done that.

What is your approach, and how do you channel the emotion that your music evokes?
Just let it fly. The record that you’re referring to, The Road, the creation and recording of it took about thirty hours. The last Staind record was closer to six months. I guess I’m just honest in my approach. I would rather expose something about myself rather than make something up.

I guess over the years with Staind, the lyrical content has more been about me picking my psychological scabs, and the country thing is more of a telling-life-stories type of a situation.

Your album The Road seems to have been received well.
It stayed in the top 30 in country albums for ten months. I think it did pretty good. It never left the top 30 from when I released it last November until this September.

Were there any roadblocks in putting that album together?
Just perception. The perception of me being a singer for a rock band and trying to break into the country world. My approach didn’t change, aside from not having to share my creativity, and not compromising my creativity for somebody else’s creativity.

What does your live performance consist of these days?
Well, I’m out promoting that record, so it’s going to be a primarily country show. I have a country band and the whole deal. Then, there is a breakdown moment in the middle for a few songs, and then a breakdown moment in the encore for a few songs. Other than that it’s just pretty much a country show.

Are you working on another album to follow up The Road?
Yep. All the material is written already, and I just have to come up with lyrics and get into the studio and record it. And getting into the studio to record it will probably happen before I come up with lyrics.

They’re talking about me getting into the studio sometime in January or February.

In your career, which performance has been the most memorable?
I have to say, performing at the Grand Ole Opry was pretty huge. I’ve done it twice. If my schedule allowed it, I would do it more. They seem to really like me there. To know that the deal at the Grand Ole Opry is by invitation only to play it, and just because you are in the country industry does not automatically get you the Grand Ole Opry…

I think it’s pretty amazing that I’ve already played it twice, and that the invitation is permanently open for me to come back and play it again, and again. Maybe, just maybe, by the time I’m done with this country career, I’ll actually be in the Grand Ole Opry Hall of Fame, and that would be pretty huge for a former rock star. It would be very huge.

What is something you know now, that you wish you would have known at the beginning of your musical career?
That list is really long [laughs]. All encompassing. I’d have to say to be careful what you wish for. You hear everybody talk about how awesome this is, and how it’s so cool, and everybody kind of forgets about the sacrifices that are made to do it.

I’ve got a wife and three kids at home that barely ever see me. I’ve got fans that see me more often than my family does, and there is a lot of sacrifice that goes into it. There’s a lot of perpetual hard work, and it never gives you a break. So be careful what you wish for.

One more question for you, and it’s the question that I’m sure you hate the most. Do you have any plans to record with Staind?
Just no time soon, but yes. Staind is not defunct, we’re just in hibernation.

SET LIST:
The Story Never Ends
The Road
Granddaddy’s Gun
Lessons Learned
Country Shovel (Mudshovel)
Jonesin’
So Far Away
Give it all we got Tonight
Everything Changes
Red, White & Blue
Endless
Forever
Long Haired Country Boy
Party in Hell
It’s Been Awhile
Encore
Turn the Page
Rooster
Outside
Country Boy

Arizona Republic Ads for 10-6-13

Two amazing and different ads this week in one amazing paper!

Photos: Joe Satriani and Steve Morse at Talking Stick Resort
Journey for Carlos Santana, Neal Schon and Gregg Rolie winds through the Palms

Avid rock fans know Carlos Santana’s band begat Journey.

And Santana and Journey were in Las Vegas concurrently Wednesday night.

Know where I’m going with this?

Journey, starring sinisterly shaded guitarist Neal Schon, played a sold-out show at the Pearl at the Palms. Along with bassist Ross Valory, Schon is a charter member of Journey, something even the band’s great vocalist Steve Perry and current veteran multi-instrumentalist Jonathan Cain can’t claim.

Schon and Journey’s original keyboardist, Gregg Rolie, had both split from Santana to launch the new rock band from San Francisco in 1973. Rolie played in the legendary Santana appearance at Woodstock in 1969, while Schon joined the band in 1971. Through the course of time and lineup changes, Carlos Santana, Schon and Rolie had not performed onstage together since 1972.

But that changed Wednesday at the end of Journey’s two-hour show at the Pearl.

There were murmurs during the performance that Santana (who headlines at House of Blues in Mandalay Bay and lives in Las Vegas) was in the wings with a guitar hoisted over his shoulder. These murmurs were particularly convincing for some of the instrument arranging that was occurring.

At the end of the encore, even after white confetti had sprayed the delirious crowd, a second synthesizer was pulled onstage. Without introduction, Santana and Rolie appeared and jammed to great delight for five minutes, Santana striding across the stage to nod at Cain, vocalist Arnel Pineda and drummer Deen Castronovo.

The band then vaulted into the sizzling instrumental “Soul Sacrifice,” immortalized on the Woodstock soundtrack and concert film (Santana has long spoken of being spirited away on mescaline during that performance). Schon, Rolie and Santana were frequently set apart, having a good mini-jam amid the roar of the band.

With Castronovo grabbing the mic to bark goodnight to Vegas, the full band gathered for a final bow. But not Santana. He just grinned in a spiritual sort of way and gave a sheepish wave to the crowd.

He’d already said, and done, enough.

By

Concert review: Monkees shine in Mesa

Dictionary.com defines monkeyshines as a frivolous or mischievous prank. Shakespeare’s play, A Midsummer’s Night Dream, has its share of mischief and frivolity. One view of an episode of the Monkees television show from the 1960’s would make the watcher think that the Monkees were all about mischief and frivolity. So what was one to expect when the Monkees made a stop at the Mesa Arts Center on Friday night, August 9, 2013 for what was billed as “A Midsummer’s Night with the Monkees,” tour?

The answer was some frivolity, little mischief, and a whole lot of “why didn’t people take the Monkees seriously”?

Perhaps a lot had to do with how the Monkees were created and marketed. They were a made for television band, referred to by detractors as the Prefab Four. Unlike the band that inspired their creation, the Monkees never had to play small night clubs in Liverpool or Hamburg to earn their credibility before making it big. The Monkees were big from the beginning.

As was evident by the videos that were played on the screen at the back of the stage even before the show began, the television version of the Monkees was a group of young men who were comical, slapstick and carefree. Their music was not the main focus but existed only as a reason to show their struggles as an aspiring band trying to get a break. Who cared if they could actually play their own instruments?

The members of the Monkees did. Michael Nesmith and Peter Tork were musicians who had been out there paying their dues in small clubs before being launched to stardom. Davy Jones was a Tony Award nominated singer who could also play drums. Child actor, Micky Dolenz could play guitar. These were not just actors that wanted to be musicians. They were musicians that could also act. Besides, forty seven years later, you don’t just act your way through an almost two hour concert.

After the video screen showed the well-known introduction to “The Monkees” television show (“hey, hey, we’re the Monkees),” the trio of Nesmith, Tork and Dolenz took the stage (Jones having passed away a year earlier). As the band, with Dolenz on steady lead vocals, burst into “Last Train to Clarksville,” the high pitched screams of the thousands of girls that used to dominate a Monkees’ concert were replaced by the roar of a more mixed audience. As the crowd stood and clapped along, their eyes alternated between the three legends on stage and the video screen behind the band broadcasting the video of the same song that was shot forty seven years earlier.

The group quickly dispelled the thinking that the late Davy Jones was the only singer of the band as Nesmith took the vocal reins for his self-penned tune, “Papa Gene’s Blues,” followed by Tork’s vocals and nifty footwork for “Your Auntie Grizelda.” Because Jones or Dolenz was usually the lead vocalist on the majority of the Monkees’ hits, the evening’s performance was a revelation as to how many lead vocals Nesmith and Tork contributed to the Monkees’ song catalog.

The first section of the show drew from the Monkees’ first two albums, “The Monkees” and “More of the Monkees.” What was becoming evident from songs such as the rocking, heartbreaker, “She,” or the country sounding “Sweet Young Thing,” was that the music didn’t sound like a nostalgic throw back to the music of the 1960’s. If you didn’t know when the Monkees were at their peak, you would have been hard pressed to name the decade from which those songs came. As Dolenz pointed out to any kids in the audience, the Monkees sang “I’m a Believer,” long before Shrek did. The timeless song brought everyone to their feet to clap and sing along.

After a brief intermission for the band but not the audience, who was treated to more video highlights from the Monkees’ early years, the ensemble returned for the “Headquarters,” section of the show. “Headquarters” was the Monkees’ third album and groundbreaking for them in that it was the first for the Monkees where the members wrote the majority of the songs and also were allowed to play on the album’s tracks. As proof, for the first time of the night, Dolenz took a seat behind his drum set.

For a change, songs written by Boyce and Hart or Neil Diamond didn’t comprise the album’s better known songs. Tork’s “For Pete’s Sake,” elicited audience recognition as the closing song to episodes from the second season of “The Monkees.” Nesmith’s “Mary, Mary,” got a few in the crowd up and dancing. The manic Dolenz number “Randy Scouse Git,” (“Why don’t you cut your hair? Why don’t you live up there?”) came complete with Dolenz donning his famed “poncho tablecloth” and pounding away on the timpani drum brought out to centerstage.

After another video break, this time the trailer for the Monkees’ 1968 mind trip movie “Head,” the trio embarked on some songs from the movie’s soundtrack. Dolenz took the stage without his band mates to deliver the mystic “Porpoise Song.” Tork then was spotlighted alone on centerstage as he sang his psychedelic “Dig It.” Nesmith followed the trend with “Circle Sky.” Unlike most songs from “Head” that seemed a bit dated by embracing the late 1960’s psychedelic sound, Nesmith’s country rock tune stood out.

The final video tribute of the night was seeing the dancing Davy Jones perform in a clip of “Daddy’s Song.” There were more than a few wet eyes that remembered the talent that Jones brought to the group. Tork’s, Dolenz’ and Nesmith’s tribute to Jones was to retire their singing of the song “Daydream Believer” and make it belong to the fans. With one lucky audience member selected to go onstage to sing the main verses and the audience delivering a resounding chorus (in case you’re wondering, it’s “cheer up sleepy Jean”), the moment was memorable.

The regular set ended with another country rock number, Nesmith’s “What Am I Doing Hangin’ Round.” With Tork on banjo and Nesmith’s country flavor, the song sounded more like it belonged on a Poco album than one from the Monkees.

For the encore, Nesmith urged the crowd to “Listen to the Band.” That was easy enough to do as the backup musicians for Nesmith, Tork and Dolenz brought a fullness to the Monkees sound all night long. Coco Dolenz (Micky’s sister) on vocals, Christian Nesmith (Mike’s son) on guitar, Dave Alexander on keyboards, guitar and vocals, Wayne Avers on guitar, John Billings on bass, Rich Dart on drums and Aviva Maloney on saxophone, keyboards and vocals were all integral to keeping the Monkees’ songs fresh and updated.

After the band finished the night with “Pleasant Valley Sunday,” those in attendance could take away several lessons from the evening. One, Tork, Nesmith and Dolenz can play their own instruments. Tork was proficient on lead, rhythm and bass guitar as well as banjo and keyboards. Nesmith not only showed his guitar work but even contributed on keyboards as well. Dolenz can play the drums and guitar.

Two, the remaining members of the Monkees can still sing. Dolenz could still go high and clearly is the dominating vocalist of the group although Nesmith and Tork can hold their own. Jones’ voice is missed but not forgotten.

Three, the Monkees are more than just a boy band with teen magazine good looks whose fame relied solely on bubblegum hits written by others. Their compositions are only dated by how short the songs are by today’s standards. In concert, song after song seemed up to date and not like a 1960’s retro act.

Unlike many concerts where people are coming and going all the time, for the two hours the Monkees were on stage, either singing or via nostalgic videos that were strategically used to complement what was happening on stage, few people got up to leave. You must be doing something right to command that type of attention.

Those that grew up watching the Monkees on television will remember a wacky band that had some catchy songs. But you get much more than that with the Monkees in concert. Mischief and frivolity can make you last two years on television. True musical talent lets you last another 47 years.

Set List: Last Train to Clarksville | Papa Gene’s Blues | Your Auntie Grizelda | The Kind of Girl I Could Love | She | Sweet Young Thing | I’m A Believer | (I’m Not Your ) Steppin’ Stone | You Told Me | Sunny Girlfriend | You Just May Be the One | Mary, Mary | The Girl I Knew Somewhere | Early Morning Blues and Greens | Randy Scouse Git | For Pete’s Sake | No Time | The Door Into Summer | Words | Tapioca Tundra | Goin’ Down | Porpoise Song | Can You Dig It? | Circle Sky | As We Go Along | Long Title: Do I Have To Do This All Over Again | Daddy’s Song (Davy Jones video) | Daydream Believer | What Am I Doing Hangin’ Round | Encore: Listen To The Band | Pleasant Valley Sunday

Article By:  Ted HansenMesa Classic Rock Music Examiner    Photo Credit:  Becky Hanson
Photos from Eric Clapton & Wallflowers

Here are some nice photos from this past Thursday’s show at US Airways Center.

Photos by  Fred Carneau.