Tuesday, December 11, 2012

"Evening with the Monkees" Concert, A View from the Audience

A few words about the most recent tour.

I attended the 12/2/12 performance at the Beacon Theater in NYC.  They were incredible.  It was an amazing night and one of the most unusual concert experiences I have ever attended (and I go to a wide variety of concerts).  And the experience is not limited to what happens onstage.

A huge part of the experience for me is the other Fans.  They are an amazingly loyal and loving community. I got my ticket through a friend of a friend.  She needed someone to use her extra ticket and wanted to make sure it went to someone who would appreciate it.  (Especially since I had been feeling sorry for myself not getting a ticket before they were sold out. Hours after going on sale!)  We became instant buddies.  We met up with a bunch of Facebook fans for dinner at a diner and were seated next to another large table of other fans.  We made friends with people in the lobby, some who had come for the first time, some who had been to their performance in Forest Hills, Queens in 1967.  We made friends with the people sitting around us.  We ran into people after the concert and had a snack in the same diner, making more new friends.

It's a wonderful sense of camaraderie and acceptance and altruism, all based around the phenomena of a tv show/band from almost 40 years ago.  Most of the people I met were not around to witness it the first time around, but everyone had a story of discovery.

And hope.  Despite what other setbacks in life, major or minor, they had come to celebrate something.  One woman was talking about how her kids had warned her not to "make a fool" out of herself by dancing or shouting or otherwise acting silly.  Others admitted it was a guilty pleasure.  And most of us (me included) discussed the evening & phenomenon as an oasis of pure joy in our lives.

One woman mentioned how she watches the shows everyday because they make her laugh.  And precious few things do that for her.

Last summer, I went to the tour in Lowell, MA. I got my ticket at the last minute and got a cheap(er) seat in the balcony.  As luck would have it, I was seated right next to a woman and her daughter whom I had met at a Shoe Suede Blues performance.  I remembered them because they were 2 of only 20 people in the audience at a County Fair.  It was raining that day and they were supposed to perform outside.  They ended up singing in a barn whose walls were covered in quilts.  The guitar player's father had died the night before and they had to fly in another performer.  They still gave an amazing performance.  The daughter in question and I got to sing a chorus of "Daydream Believer" together when Peter handed me the mike.  (He had to yank it back out of my hands!!)

The daughter loved the Monkees more than life itself.  Her mother had brought her along just to watch her be so incredibly happy.

Life is full of issues and challenges.  There are lots of bands and performers out there who have very loyal fanbases.  But there is something different about the role that THIS band plays in the lives of the fans.  Subconsciously, we feel as if we have spent time with them as people, watching the show.  Add to that the positive energy of singing and dancing along.  Add to that the live performance experience.

It is the closest I've come to witnessing a specific and almost tangible form of altruistic Love among a large crowd of humans.  Not that I'm trying to make an argument about it competing with religion or other music or other experiences.  But in and of itself, it is beautiful and transcendent. THAT is the part of the phenomenon that will endure.  The Love.

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