|Micky Dolenz performing at The|
Coach House on July 15, 2017.
Photo: Bob Steshetz
Performing nearly two dozen songs over the course of 80 minutes, the Los Angeles native was backed by a terrific four-man band along with his sister Coco Dolenz, the latter whose soaring vocals and winning personality added additional dimension to the songs.
Micky Dolenz is one of only a handful of rock singers who first rose to prominence in the 1960s whose vocals are as strong as they were in their prime. Again and again throughout his Saturday night appearance in San Juan Capistrano, this reviewer was amazed how terrific Dolenz sounded. While many veteran singers push the microphone away when they get to high notes, Dolenz embraced the joy of singing. The incredible vocal gifts that helped define the Monkees from the time Dolenz was first heard as lead vocalist on the Monkees' first chart-topping hit "Last Train to Clarksville" in late 1966 were displayed in spades during the performance.
|Micky Dolenz at The Coach House.|
Photo: Bob Steshetz
And the highlights kept coming. Performances of "That Was Then, This Is Now" (a bona fide comeback hit for the Monkees in 1986), the wistful "Sometime in the Morning," garage rock-styled "She" and a honky tonk-tinged take on the Jerry Leiber-Mike Stoller classic "D.W. Washburn" displayed the uniformly strong, but engaging range of the Monkees' songbook as well as Dolenz' youthful approach and pure joy of music making.
Dolenz was obviously thrilled to reflect on the Monkees' 50th anniversary return via Good Times!, one of the strongest albums of 2016. He jokingly introduced one of the stellar tracks from that disc, the cheerful "You Bring The Summer," by asking: "We got any Monkees fans out there?...(audience cheers) We'll soon fix that." But that absolutely infectious power-pop song written by Andy Partridge (of XTC fame) afforded the crowd to bask in the pleasures of hearing a great song delivered by a favorite artist in an intimate setting. A few selections later, Dolenz revisited recent history again with the shimmering "She Makes Me Laugh," a Rivers Cuomo (Weezer) composition that fully captured the spirit of what made – and makes – the Monkees' sound so unique and timeless.
|Guitarist Wayne Avers.|
Likely every fan had their own favorites this night. I count a moving version of "Me and Magdalena" that he sang as a duet with Coco Dolenz, the rousing rocker "(I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone," soaring Beatles-styled "Pleasant Valley Sunday," moving tribute to late Monkees band mate Davy Jones with "Daydream Believer" and night-ending "I'm a Believer" among the other additional surefire moments I will long remember.
|Kelly Bowlin at The Coach House.|
Kelly Bowlin, singing and playing an octave mandolin, led the Orphans through some great originals too. The countrified rocker "Williamsburg" was adorned with nice harmonies, while the tender "Judas Kiss" was an affecting country-folk ballad that grew in power as it went along. The full-on rocker "Borderline" afforded another opportunity for the group to shine, earning big cheers from the big crowd on hand for the show.
A wonderful night of live music to be sure.
|Micky Dolenz celebrated his legacy at the Coach House|
with a Monkees-filled set on Saturday, July 15, 2017.
Photo: Bob Steshetz
Micky Dolenz setlist at The Coach House on July 15, 2017:
That Was Then, This Is Now
Sometime in the Morning
You Bring The Summer
A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You
She Makes Me Laugh
Last Train To Clarksville
Johnny B. Goode (Chuck Berry tribute)
Purple Haze (Jimi Hendrix tribute)
Me and Magdalena
Different Drum (featuring Coco Dolenz)
Let's Dance On
|Kelly Bowlin and the Orphans at The Coach House.|
(I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone
White Rabbit (featuring Coco Dolenz)
Pleasant Valley Sunday
I'm a Believer
Review by Robert Kinsler
Photos courtesy of Bob Steshetz