MONKEE MICKY DOLENZ KNOCKS IT OUT OF THE PARK
Monkee-Micky Dolenz knocked it out of the park at his cabaret opening this week at 54 Below.
Titled A Little Bit Broadway; A Little Bit Rock ‘n Roll, Dolenz neatly segued his Broadway-chops with several Monkee-hits, including the Carole King/Toni Stern (from HEAD) “As We Go Along,” which this writer just marveled at (fact: Neil Young and Ry Cooder were in on the original recording session).
Watching him do “Don’t Be The Bunny” from the show Urinetown, and, “Mr. Cellophane” from Chicago was just marvelous; as he wrapped his golden-glove of a voice lusciously around these songs. “Cellophane” was preceded by a very home-spun story, as are all of these numbers. As always, Dolenz is a succinct and funny raconteur. I'm prompted to say that a book of these vintage anecdotes would be most welcome.
Of course the Monkee-hits flowed, including “Last Train to Clarksville," "Pleasant Valley Sunday," "Daydream Believer" and "I'm a Believer," the latter of which was followed by Dolenz's joking reminder to a child in the audience, "I sang that song long before Shrek."
It’s terrific to note that for the 70-year old Dolenz, his voice remains as strong and vibrant as ever; a welcomed mix of Roy Orbison and Freddie Mercury. The emotion that he can draw with each song is mesmerizing and admirable.
Also performed was the Lieber/Stoller standout, D. W. Washburn. That song, neatly bridged both of the show's themes, being both a hit for the Monkees and later prominently featured in the Broadway play Smokey Joe's Café.
After his musical director Michael J. Moritz Jr. explained that "I'm a Believer" would be performed in a Broadway manner more suitable for the 54 Below’s intimate, classy setting, Dolenz launched into a slowed-down, jazzy version which was quickly stopped.
"What's scary is that there's probably someone out there doing it like that," he said before the band reverted to the familiar rocking arrangement.
The youthful band was truly inspired; most likely because they were backing such a star, but were spot on.
Playing tribute to the songwriters whose efforts made the Monkees so successful, including Tommy Boyce, Bobby Hart, Gerry Goffin and Carole King, Neil Diamond and Neil Sedaka, Dolenz seemed more comfortable than ever with his original band's musical legacy (next year is their 50th anniversary).
The evening ended with the rousing "Goin' Down" from their psychedelically tinged album Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn and Jones Ltd., sending the baby boomer audience out in a blissful wave of nostalgia.
Photo Courtesy Of: David Salidor