As a child I did not listen to the radio very often. When I would hear music, it would be records or tapes of the other things my family enjoyed. The music I heard most was The Monkees, a band from the 1960s which was created for a TV show starring Micky Dolenz, Davy Jones, Peter Tork and Mike Nesmith. This became my favorite music growing up. I know most of their songs by heart, enjoy watching their tv show and more. In the 1980s, I started seeing them in concert and in the 90s we started to meet them face to face. With all the times I’ve met Davy, Micky and Peter, there was one Monkee who seemed very hard to see, Mike Nesmith. I just recently got to see him in his solo show, which is what I’d like to share with everyone today.
When I think of Mike from the Monkees I think of the tall one with the green hat, sings great songs like “Sweet Young Thing” and “Listen to the Band”. He got into a spot where he didn’t really need the Monkees anymore in his life and went on with different things. Though after Davy passed away early last year, Mike joined the tour with Micky and Peter. Sadly, I was not able to attend any of those shows. It would've been cool to see the three of them touring together. I did hear from many people that the show was really well done. So when I found out Mike was doing a solo show and it was stopping not just in my home state but in my hometown, I knew I had to go. In all of my years of going to any show connected to the Monkees, I never thought they would go to a local theater less than a mile from where I live.
The theater is the Magic Bag, located on Woodward Ave. I’ve been to it many times and even have a favorite seat. One of my first times there was when I was young and we worked a show there. I remember a puppet being cut in half with spaghetti and ketchup going all over the floor to look like guts, and between skits they would show a movie. Miki and I would have to go crawl around on the stage during the movie, cleaning up the mess of the ketchup and spaghetti. Later, we started going there for their movie and brew. A few years back, Wolfman Mac did a few shows there. While the events have always been good and the drinks are normally decent, personally I have not been a big fan of the staff and how they treat some of the attendees. So it was a shock to learn Mike was going there and a bit of a disappointment knowing that I’ve walked out of there a few times because of staff.
The Magic Bag is a first come, first serve type of theater. You can not purchase your seats and with supposedly 200 seats and 300 tickets sold, the rest of people would be standing. I was not going to be standing, that was the one thing I told myself going in. So Miki and I figured we’d get there early. Originally arriving at the Magic Bag at 2:30am the morning of the show, no one else was there. I was tired and for the first time felt weird getting in line so early. It’s one thing to sit outside a theater in a town where no one knows you, knows where you’re from or who you are. But to be in your home town, where you’ve lived for over 30 years, it’s awkward. We stayed in the car watching the spot till 5:30am when I decided to go home for some sleep. We went home, and Miki returned back to the line at 8:30. I, on the other hand, could not wake up when the alarm went. My body was just pure exhausted and I stayed in bed till 10:30, then I went and joined Miki in line. Now there were other people in line.
For me, most events start with the lines. Conventions, concerts, panels, and even some shopping moments, you get into this crowd of strangers to wait for the start of said event. You can either sit quiet and be bored to tears, or you could realize that you just entered a real life message board. This is stepping off the internet and into a crowd of people who share the same love and passion that you have in your heart. If you’re willing to say hi to them by joining message boards online, why even think about being quiet in line? This was great. Not only did we make new friends, we found old friends that we have not seen in years. We realized so many of these Mike fans have been to other events we’ve been to as well. The line became buzzing with stories, photos, and music. This made the day so much cooler, even though we were standing outside on a cold and windy day.
Around 4pm the line really started to grow. Then the Monkee Mobile showed up. This was one of the originals used in the Monkees TV series. It’s owned by a man here in Michigan that has brought it to other events like Motor City Comic Con and the Woodward Dream Cruise. People were getting their pictures taken with the car as it sat out front of the Magic Bag as others stood at the door watching Mike do his sound check inside. People were sharing their stories of how bad they have wanted to see Mike in person and others were sharing how far they traveled to see this show. There were a lot of people from Ohio and Illinois.
At 7:30pm the doors opened with a note on the door stating that if you went outside you will not get back in. We all headed into the theater. I go to the front row for seating and get my favorite seat. Everyone else that was with me in line, took standing near the stage. One of the other people I did talk to who was in the line a bit behind me sat down next to me. She had flowers she wanted to give to Mike. Miki took them up to the stage to see about giving them to Mike during the show. Minutes after opening, the theater was full. Seats were all taken and the standing area got packed. I ordered a rum punch and was ready for the show to start.
This has to be the biggest surprise I had for the evening. The show did not start until 9pm. The people in the standing only area were all packed together. There was no resting for them, most did not even have anything to lean on. If they moved, they lost their spot. Which left them all just standing and staring at the stage.
When 8pm went by, I thought for sure the show would start at 8:30pm. It did not. Miki sent me a text asking if one of the seats near me was open at 8:36pm, as one of her friends got sick from standing and the heat. She ended up getting a chair near the back of the place. Through text messages Miki told me the show was starting at 9pm. This was a long wait time, which would not have seemed bad if everyone had somewhere to sit. But the fact is that a lot of the people who chose to stand, since it was the closest you could get to the stage, were not young. I just did not see a reason for such a late start time.
Once the show started though, all the wait was fastly forgotten as Mike came on with a song I knew from his days in the Monkees. After he sang the first song, he took time to say hi to all of us, mention that he knew the Monkee Mobile was there, and introduced his band. Next, he tells us that before each song he shares the setting of the song so that we are in the same place as he is with these songs. This was different and enjoyable. It helped with all the songs I did not know, and gave me a different view upon the songs that I do know.
I have to admit that a male singing “Beat of a Different Drum” is different. I know Mike originally wrote the song, though it is normally sung by a female. I’ve heard Micky Dolenz’s sister, Coco, sing it when Micky does his concerts. It was cool to hear Mike sing it, as I really enjoyed his performance all around. And he enjoyed the applaud. After each song the smile on his face as people would clap, showed that he was having as good of a time up there, as we had watching him on stage. It was an overall warm feeling that went over the crowd.
Around 10:40pm he closed up the show. As the fans gathered around talking, expressing how much fun we had, most of us were to leave at this time. But 25 lucky people had the tickets for the meet and greet with Mike, one of which was Miki. She could get one Monkee item signed and some Mike items. I asked her to get my ticket stub signed, and went outside to wait. While she did the meet with Mike, I spent my time talking with fellow fans outside who I made friends with earlier. Each of us shared our stories of where we were for the show, our favorite parts, and just how amazing it was to have this chance to see Michael Nesmith on tour.
While Mike’s show was just as awesome, the Magic Bag is just as I remembered it. The drink was worse I’ve ever had. It was very watered down and that’s with light ice. They would not allow people to bring in drinks, which is understandable, but they had an area where people’s stuff could be held, and since those people were having stuff put there, it would've been nice if they let the drinks get put away there as well. One friend came in on a bus that day and was leaving that night, the juice she had was thrown away even when she came back and asked if she could have her drink back at the end of the night they refused it of her. She had nowhere to put it during the show since she was from out of town. They were not polite to her with the way they told her no either. So a great show, but the location could've been better.
Once Miki came out, we said our goodbyes to our friends and called it a night. I have my autograph ticket stub, a ton of photos, and great memories. Even though I’m not a huge fan of the Magic Bag, somehow they do get some wonderful events there.
I’d like to give a big shout out to Kayleigh for coming out and joining us for this event. Thanks for everything!
Anyone else a Monkees fan? Which Monkees have you met? Did you get or are you going to any of Michael Nesmith’s solo shows this year? Please share reviews, memories, comments and questions below!