If you’ve ever pondered the question, “Where was your first concert”, I’m always impressed with those who can say The Who, or Rolling Stones, even the Beatles. That would not be me.
My brother Chris and I attended our first concert together on December 30, 1966 at the Civic Arena, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I was in the 7th grade; he was in the 5th. The tickets were a Christmas gift. We were over the moon excited to see The Monkees.
The fall of 1966 saw the emergence of The Monkees as one of the hottest acts of both the small screen and the pop music world. Their television series was an instant success, and their first single, "Last Train to Clarksville," had already been climbing the charts before the show debuted. October brought the release of their epic debut album, and by November, the group's first single and album were sitting at #1. The demand for live performances by The Monkees grew by the hour.
I’m not sure how, at the age of 9 and 12, we convinced our parents. But the tickets appeared (which means Dad went to the Civic Arena box office and bought them!) on Christmas morning. Five days later he drove us to downtown Pittsburgh, dropped us off, and then picked us back up after the concert. Chris and I have vivid memories of that magical night. He remembers scratching his head at all the screaming girls. I remember how loud and exciting the moment felt when they came on stage.
Years later we discovered that none other than Jim Hendrix was the opening act. Chris remembers him, I only remember counting down the minutes till the Monkees came on stage. One of the first mainstream rock acts to recognize Hendrix’s greatness was the Monkees. Unfortunately, the Monkees’ young fans weren’t quite as enthusiastic. And the partnership ended as fast as it began.
As we grew up our musical tastes changed. Our younger brother, Steve, turned into the strong music lover in the family. He has attended hundreds upon hundreds of concerts starting in Pittsburgh and then in Los Angeles, his home for the last 40 years. He’s seen The Doors, Pink Floyd, The Who, Genesis, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, Journey, Deep Purple, David Bowie, and probably seen his favorite band Yes at least 20 times. Yet, he’ll tell you he wished he’d been old enough to join us for that Monkees concert. (He was just 7 years old in 1966).
Last week Steve sent me a package. Inside was this autographed photo, personally to me.
To Karen. Love Micky Dolenz
And shared this photo of him and Micky. I was floored.
Steve is a Fiber Optics Specialist. His vast experience, and professionalism, often puts him in the homes of Hollywood. He’s discreet and thorough. He’s asked for over and over by some of the most demanding and private of customers. Fixing internet and other related media issues, Steve is a consummate professional, thus a lot of Hollywood book his services. Micky is just another satisfied customer. Steve shared with him the story of Chris and I being at that 1966 concert and Micky smiled. He enthusiastically posed for a photo with Steve.
My brothers and I share an eclectic love of music. This band brings back such sweet memories. Micky Dolenz is the only surviving member of the Monkees. Davy Jones died in 2012, Peter Tork in 2019 and Michael Nesmith in December 2021.
In February, Dolenz announced that he is going on a short tour this spring in honor of his Monkees bandmates. "I felt it was important to gather the fans and properly celebrate the lives of Davy, Mike and Peter," he said. " We spent such a great deal of time together; they were like my brothers, and I want to share some of the great joy we had together."
I understand the bond with brothers.