"The notion that such persons are gay of heart and carefree is curiously untrue. They lead, as a matter of fact, an existence of jumpiness and apprehension. They sit on the edge of the chair of Literature. In the house of Life they have the feeling that they have never taken off their overcoats."
- James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times

Wednesday, August 14, 2013



Okay, better now. Let me explain.

The Monkees' TV show debuted in 1966, when I was 12 years old. It feels like I was 14 at the time, but I think I felt 14 from the time I was 11 until I was 18, after which I felt 16 for a few years. I think I may just make up a new way to measure age, called feel-years. Currently, I'm 42 feel-years old. But I digress...

When the Monkees did their first tour, I was as crazed as the next pre-teen wanting to see them. They were going to be in Chicago and St. Louis, two cities that were completely within my parents' driving range from Decatur, Illinois. I asked. I begged. I pleaded.

My mom said no the way you say no when you don't even think about the request. My dad didn't even hear the question. I remember the last night I could have seen them. St. Louis. My mom took us out to visit someone who was camping at a nearby lake. I stood on a hill, looking up at the night sky, thinking, "The concert is starting now. I wonder what song they're singing first."

Then I grew up and those four zany guys moved on. They finally got back together as a foursome, but I might have been 18 feel-years old that year and too cool for them. In December, Davy died and I thought, well, that's that. But Micky, Mike, and Peter have been touring this summer, and I kept seeing all these fun posts from them on Facebook. (Confession: I've never stopped thinking that Peter Tork is the cutest thing on the planet and yes, I stalk him - on Facebook, where it's appropriate.)

So I bought tickets.

We walked into the Terrace Theater in Long Beach to the sound of Monkee mania. They were showing video clips of the TV show on the big screen on the stage. Dale and I were on end seats, in the 14th row. I couldn't help but feel the excitement. I began to babble.

Me: "I hope no one sits right in front of us. We can see the stage better."
Dale: *nods*
Me: "Especially really large people."
Dale: *watches screen on stage*
Me: "And no turbans."
Dale: *watches screen harder*

My hubby is a patient man.

At last, the lights went down, the Monkees came on, and I spent two hours grinning like an idiot, standing, clapping, and singing along. And I wasn't the most exuberant old-teen in the place. Two women a couple rows down spent the night in full-metal Bugaloo mode. One of the woman wore a shiny gold dress that should have been a size larger. Just saying.

I nearly broke out into the Swim once myself.

The only part that briefly lost my interest was when they did some songs from Head. I'm a big Monkee fangirl, but I've tried to watch that movie twice now, and I just don't think I can get drunk or stoned enough to get through it. Sorry, guys.

I couldn't have told you all the songs ahead of time, but each time they started one, I'd think, "Oh, I remember this one," and could sing along with at least the chorus. I particularly enjoyed "What Am I Doing Hanging 'Round."

Just before they sang "Daydream Believer" they showed a wonderful clip of Davy Jones singing and dancing. Then Micky explained that they knew they had to perform this song but couldn't decide who should sing it. Mike came up with the solution.

"It's your song." Micky pointed to the audience. "We want you to sing it." They brought up a guy from the front row and had him sing the verse, then pointed the mikes our way for the chorus. The guy might have been a plant, but he was amazingly on key.

By the time we got to the chorus, I was 14 in feel-years again. This video is proof. I am not singing along with the crowd, I am braying. Say it with me, people. Pronounce that hard g. Braying-ga.

They closed the show with "Pleasant Valley Sunday." When I heard the opening guitar, I shrieked. The transformation was complete. It only took me 45 years to be 14 again.

How old are you today in feel-years?

1 comment:

Tameri Etherton said...

Oh my gosh! I can just imagine you all giggly and going fangirl over the Monkees. Dale is so awesome. I bet he had a blast, too. Just not 'Swim' worthy excited. Or maybe he did?

I think feel-years is a very accurate way to describe oneself. I might be 48, but today I'm 32 feel-years old. Yes, I like that very much.

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