NOTE: I’m jumping on the bandwagon with my very first “Remember the Time” post. I’m inspired by my friend Kelly over at Are You Finished Yet? who recently began co-hosting the Remember the Time Blog Hop. Each week Kelly and Emily of The Waiting offer a nostalgic topic for bloggers to write about. I’m not sure how regularly I’ll participate but pontificating on nostalgic themes sounds right up my alley.
A funny thing happened as I set about writing this post. I reinvented my own history.
The first time I was asked the question “what was your first concert?” I remembered Amy Grant. I thought the year was 1987 when I was 10 years old. My mom and I had embraced the newly emerging “Christian” music genre. I remembered going with her to the Activity Center at Arizona State University to see the “Queen of Christian Pop.” I had a good time.
The problem with my memory? The year wasn’t 1987, it was 1988 and Grant had just released her Lead Me On album. Why is that a problem?
Because on July 2, 1987 this young gal’s dream came true when she went to the same venue (now called the Wells Fargo Arena) to see none other than The Monkees! As a huge Monkees fan, I have long lamented that I could not claim theirs as my first concert. Somehow, in my twisted little mind I had reserved that honor for Amy Grant. How that happened, I’m not quite sure. No offense to Amy, but I’m super-psyched to learn that my first concert was indeed The Monkees–I just earned some major bragging points in the fandom sphere.
I certainly remember The Monkees concert more vividly than the Amy Grant concert. I had missed the initial MTV Monkees Marathon and tour in ’86 but quickly latched on to the reruns shown on Nickelodeon. My best friend C’s mom had been a big Monkees fan so she actively encouraged our new obsession with middle-aged men. Nothing weird going on here, folks, move along… Anyway, when word got out that they were coming to OUR town, C, her mom, my mom, and I all got ourselves some nosebleed seats. they may have even been very-last-row-in-the-arena seats, but hey, who’s counting, right? It was a BIG DEAL for my family to spend money on something like that and I’m sure my mom had to squeeze some blood from turnips to make it happen but she did because, like most moms, she was Super.
Weird Al Yankovic was the opening act. What I remember about that performance is the song, “Gonna Have to Face It You’re Addicted to Spuds.” Instead of Robert Palmer’s sleek, mini-skirted, rock-guitar chicks, instrument-wielding Mrs. Potato Heads accompanied Weird Al on stage! You really have to see it to believe it:
Of course, being ten years old we loved it! Heck, even today it’s pretty funny. Admit it.
Then it happened. Little ants appeared on stage. Three of them. It was hard to tell from our seats, but I believed it to be Micky Dolenz, Davy Jones, and Peter Tork. The familiar opening chords of Last Train to Clarksville confirmed we were in the right place after all. Apparently, the show had quite the set list of 37 songs! Tempe was stop number 2 on the 67-date tour, so I didn’t get to hear any numbers from Pool It! like those lucky folks along the second half of the tour. But even they didn’t get to sing along to “she’s moving in with Rico-oh-oh-oh, everybody’s hero-oh-oh-oh.” If you don’t know that song, please don’t google it. And please don’t say I didn’t warn you.
When it was over we waited outside by the tour buses. I remember being on the wrong side of a chain-link fence, cheering with lots of other ten-to-forty-year-old fans, until the guys came out and disappeared onto the buses.
Fortunately for this little girl, her Monkees dreams continued to come true, right on up to the present day. In addition to the ’86 tour, I saw the Monkees a whopping seven more times during the:
- 1989 Tour (Phoenix)
- 2011 Tour (Indianapolis and South Bend)
- 2012 Tour (Chicago and Cleveland)
- 2013 Tour (Seattle and Portland)
And I’ve also had the pleasure of attending various solo shows and Monkee-related events (no Shoe Suede Blues yet, darnit!):
- 2004 Davy Jones in Warsaw, Indiana
- 2011 Michael Nesmith in Marfa, Texas
- 2011 Davy Jones in Bryant, Indiana (my own video!)
- 2013 Monkees Convention in New Jersey (my review)
- 2013 Michael Nesmith in Ferndale, Michigan
26 years later I could finally console 10-year-old Shannon (who despite her best efforts did not win Nickelodeon’s “Meet the Monkees” contest back in 1987) with the pleasure of having met all four of the Monkees. And even better, I’ve made a number of fabulous friends I would never have met otherwise (including the lovely Kelly, of Are You Finished Yet? ).
Check out other submissions for this “Remember the Time” here.