Surviving members of Monkees, including Nesmith, reunite for tour

Staff and wire report

The Monkees were dealt a blow earlier this year when the band’s lead singer, Davy Jones, died of a heart attack in February.

Now the surviving members have reunited for a U.S. tour as a trio.

The band — Peter Tork, Micky Dolenz and historically reclusive member Mike Nesmith — have hit the road for an Evening with the Monkees, a 12-date trek that kicked off Nov. 8 in Escondido, Calif., and wraps Dec. 2 in New York, and includes a Cleveland stop Saturday.

The Monkees soared to fame as America’s original boy band after successfully launching their own NBC television show in 1966. The made-for-TV band looked to capitalize on the infectious wave of Beatlemania following the Fab Four’s “A Hard Day’s Night” film, and it worked. Despite the Monkees’ origins, Monkeemania soon swept listeners, and at the group’s height, they were able to outsell the Beatles.

These performances will mark their first concerts together since 1997 and the first U.S. Monkees tour to feature Nesmith since 1969.

Pegged as the “Missing Monkee” (a sly nod to a 1967 episode of their series), Nesmith has largely been absent from the group since that ’69 tour. The other members have toured without him, though Nesmith has reunited with the group for one-off appearances over the years; his last stateside concert with the band was a private show in support of 1996’s “Justus,” the band’s 11th and final album.

The concert by the trio, backed by some session players, will feature a selection of classic Monkees hits ( “Last Train To Clarksville,” “I’m A Believer” and “Pleasant Valley Sunday”), deep cuts from their first five platinum albums (including some performed for the first time since the 1960s) and fan favorites from the soundtrack to their cult film classic “Head” and their television series. The show also includes a full multimedia evening of music, rare films, and one-of-a-kind photographs.

But the highlight will be a set performed by just Nesmith, Dolenz and Tork. In 1967, the year the Monkees outsold the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, they issued two No. 1 albums (“Headquarters” and “Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones, Ltd”) that featured the Monkees as a self-contained, musical unit. Each evening’s trio set will showcase numbers from these albums and present the Monkees’ electric garage band sound that they developed on their mid-1960’s tours.

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