My entire body trembled, my heart pounding as Gail Jeanne and I made our way down the aisle to our center stage seats.
We weren’t teenagers anymore, but we’d been too young the first time around, back when The Monkees were in our living rooms once a week, and there was no way my Father was going to let single-digit me go to a concert no matter how many tears I shed.
My Parents indulged me enough when it came to my Monkee Mania. The Monkees lunchbox, a Monkees hardcover binder for my schoolwork, every Tiger Beat and Sixteen magazine with every important update about Micky, Davy, Peter and Mike I could find. I even had a groovy little white and red plastic record player that only played records when you closed it (because the needle was in the lid) and every single album and 45 the Monkees put out. If it said “The Monkees” on whatever it was, I wanted it. Although I never did get that 4 headed Monkees talking hand puppet.
And yes, I even wore a Monkees costume one Halloween, Micky Dolenz because he was my favorite Monkee.
But I digress.
I don’t even know how it happened, it’s all a blur when I look back on it. I was heading into my late 20’s and I turned into a giddy teenage girl finally getting to see her teen idols when Gail and I somehow became cohorts in that Immortal Summer Of Monkee Mania.
Atlantic City was the first show in New Jersey, a two hour drive give or take, and don’t hold me to it but I’m pretty sure we listened to Monkees music the whole ride. All I can remember is giddy girlie giggling.
I mean, we were about to see our Teen Idols, we were excited!!!
They were doing two shows that night and we had tickets for the second show so we wandered a little bit around the casino. There may have been cocktails, after all, we were seeing our Teen Idols but we weren’t teenagers anymore.
Standing outside the theater was driving us crazy, knowing they were right there on the other side of the annoyingly soundproof wall and I just kept checking my watch trying to make time move faster.
Gail had a better idea.
Like opening the doors and walking right in.
It was the encore as I recall, so security was lax.
When we walked into Daydream Believer I was 8 years old again and I couldn’t help it. I immediately cried.
Shut up you.
They weren’t heaving sobs, just the kind of tears you get when you’re so happy your eyes get watery because you’re smiling so hard you hit your tear ducts.
It’s a thing.
Then came our turn, our show, time for us to finally see our Teen Idols.
Ok so money was exchanged so we
could bribe our way were shown to front row seats, it was The Monkees! We had to be up front!
Remember how I said it was a blur? It really was because I have no linear timeline in my head for that whole crazy Monkees Summer, all I remember is the feeling of pure happiness, right there, just a few feet away, close enough to touch and, one minute we’re singing and screaming and then Gail goes for it and jumps up onstage and throws her arms around Micky. At that moment in time, Gail became my hero. It was awesome! Micky was having fun with it and then the security guys came onstage and gave her a talking to and uninvited her from future visits to their fine establishment which was actually pretty cool of them to not call the police.
I felt so bad she couldn’t see the rest of the show that night. After we got her out of the security office Gail and I knew we had no choice, we had to see them again. As many times as humanly possible.
Talk about a blur, I just have flashes of show after show in NJ and NY, always up front. Gail talking our way backstage and getting their autographs and photographs taken with each of them which they later autographed at another show.
The night we saw them at the pier in NYC Gail and I took the train in. We decided we needed a “We love you Monkees” banner because, um, because, just because we wanted to.
Hell, we missed it the first time around because we were too young, The Monkees have a lot of awesome songs and it was like we stole the TARDIS and went back in time, those shows were just like the footage we’d seen of their concerts in their heyday. Females and males alike of every age were screaming and singing along, crying and hysterics, it truly felt like Gail and I had gone back in time and damn, they really sounded good. They also played their own instruments for any naysayers out there.
The day before that show I got a white sheet and some red and black magic markers and made the banner we’re holding in the above picture (I’m in the middle above the heart), what you can’t see is what the magazine cropped out of the picture; since Mike Nesmith decided not to do the tour it didn’t seem right to put his name there. Ok so I, as a fan, was pissed he wasn’t joining the tour so instead of writing his name I drew a bottle of Liquid Paper because Mike Nesmith’s Mom invented Liquid Paper.
Well the Monkee-boys seemed amused when they saw it.
Actually they all signed it and Gail and I share joint custody of it. It’s almost my turn with our autographed baby.
That entire summer was based around The Monkees but alas, I wasn’t able to go to Las Vegas with Gail to see them, where she not only spent time with them but also, if I’m not mistaken, did some babysitting for Davy and his wife. During the summer we’d become such familiar faces and eventually met them and most of their spouses and some of their children. One of my favorite memories is sitting with Davy Jones’s youngest daughter, I think she was around 4 or 5 years old; anyway she was fascinated by my armful of dangly glittery bracelets so I gave her one and I can still remember the smile on her face. In some strange way it was almost as if I had come full circle, as if me giving something of mine to a Monkees’ daughter was a way for me to give them back something for all the joy and happiness they gave me over the years when I was a child.
And yes I do realize you might have to bend your vision around a few corners to see my point, it makes more sense in my head.
They usually say never meet your idols because you’ll probably be disappointed.
I’m happy to say in this case, they are wrong.
AUTHORS NOTE: While there are still a lot of fun little details to be told about the Summer of Monkee Mania, I have to hold something
back for my WIP…I will give you this though, I will be producing photograph proof of Gail Jeanne onstage with Micky Dolenz. Because it’s kinda cool…