Concert Review: Davy Jones

August 19, 2008
Club Regent Casino
Winnipeg, MB Canada

Though he’s grown a few wrinkles over the years, former teenage heartthrob Davy Jones certainly hasn’t grown any taller than he was back in his heyday with the Monkees.

The diminutive Jones started as a song and dance man when he when first came to North American as the Artful Dodger in a Toronto based production of the musical Oliver, and it seems that he’s come full circle. His nearly 2 hour show at the Club Regent was an entertaining potpourri of songs, jokes, and anecdotes from his wildly popular NBC music comedy – the Monkees.

But the Jones’ presentation seemed totally in line with the Monkees’ show format – a zany, gag filled romp about a fictional rock n’ roll band that incidentally included a few songs from the band along the way.

As Davy himself joked, “the songs w e did back in the sixties were only a minute and 12 seconds long, I have to fill the time with something!”

Judging from the adoring crowd reaction, Davy could easily have spun yarns and told jokes for the entire show, but thankfully he did get around to performing many of his famous Monkees hits.

The former BBC Coronation Street star opened the set with the Monkees’ 1966 Neil Diamond penned No 1 I’m a Believer (the song from the movie Shrek for the youngsters in the crowd). Mickey Dolenz originally sang the lead vocals, but it was interesting to note that Davy’s voice suited the song very well, and it could just as easily have been his voice that scored with the original hit.

He had a tight 6 piece band with a real brass section as opposed to the synthesized variety who did a solid job both instrumentally and vocally.

The Daydream Believer hitmaker then gave a doff of the wool hat to fellow Monkee Michael Nesmith, performing the Nesmith penned Papa Gene’s Blues from the 1966 Monkees’ debut album.

Next came a punched up version of another fine Neil Diamond composition Look Out Here Comes Tomorrow from the Monkees 1966 album More of the Monkees, followed by another Nesmith penned track from the same album, Mary Mary.

A consummate showman, the 64-year-old Jones did an excellent job of engaging the audience, cracking many self-deprecating jokes about his height, age, kids, and his career ups and downs. He shook hands with many of the fans in the front row told and told an interesting anecdote about appearing on Ed Sullivan the day on the same bill as the Beatles first North American TV appearance and then treated the fans to the song Consider Yourself from the soundtrack of Oliver, the piece Jones had performed on Ed Sullivan on that historic evening.

The former horse jockey also pulled out some interesting jazz swing numbers such as Louis Jordan’s Is You Is, or Is You Ain’t My Baby that he dedicated to the memory of his parents.

But of course, the fans came mostly to see Davy perform his Monkees’ hits and Davy did not disappoint. Crowd favourites were 1967’s Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn and Jones’ – She Hangs Out which featured Davy doing his famous dance (famously stolen by Guns N’ Roses singer Axl Rose), 1967’s Monkee’s smash hit A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You, as well as the 1968 Boyce and Hart penned Monkees’ hit single Valleri.

Of course, the biggest highlight was The Birds, The Bees and The Monkees 1968 chart topper Daydream Believer which the ex-Monkee used to wrap up the set, followed by a reprised I’m A Believer for his well-deserved encore.

Davy Jone certainly made “believers” out the crowd as they filed out, eyes shining, having spent the evening reminiscing to the soundtrack of their youth.