I must preface: The following is my account of meeting The Monkees after seeing their 45th Anniversary concert in 2011 (see my Completely Biased Review) I can’t imagine that anyone else really wants to read it, as I basically wrote this in the off-chance I develop dementia, and I can remind myself of what it was like to meet my idols. People always say never to meet your idols. But based off of my experience, the people who say that probably just needed better idols.
Going into the meet and greet, I was expecting that the set-up would be much like I had read about for the previous concerts on the tour: wait in line to see all three Monkees at the same time, shake some hands, exchange some words, get a quick photo, and be on my way. Organized and sterile. Fine by me…I would take it any way I could get it.
I was at the back of the line with my new friends with whom I had sat during the show, Natalie and the father-son Monkee look-a-like team, Rick and Ricky. So I decided I had a bit of time to run to the bathroom (totally useful piece of information. Not). When I returned, mass chaos had ensued. Okay, maybe it wasn’t that dramatic, but there was no longer a nice, organized line, and Micky, Davy, and Peter were all in separate areas of the room. Natalie grabbed me and stammered, “It’s craziness! Peter just kind of freaked out a little…I don’t know what’s going on!” Panic immediately settled into my chest and I blurted out, “Oh my God, where’s Micky? I don’t see him.”
Now, I need to give a little background here as explanation for my reaction. First of all, I was obviously jazzed about meeting Micky specifically because 1) I had already been lucky enough to meet both Davy and Peter on previous occasions and 2) he is my favorite (because we all have a favorite). Also, the prospect of meeting the man you were going to marry when you were 9 years old apparently turns you into a panicking idiot. It’s super attractive, I’m sure.
My fears (but unfortunately not my rational behavior) were calmed as I spied Micky up ahead working his way through the crowd. Whew! Davy was stationary in the corner of the room as people lined up to see him. And Peter was making his way around the room too, though quite speedily and seemingly flustered. Ricky mentioned that all three were signing autographs. But stupid me had brought nothing for them to sign. I whimpered a little as I thought of my original issue Headquarters LP sitting at home with not one autograph upon it. Luckily, I had bought a shirt at the concert, so that would have to do. And even luckier, Rick and Ricky had the foresight to bring Sharpies and were kind enough to share.
Peter was rapidly approaching me, so I got my shirt ready for him to sign. He graciously did so, and I kind of whispered (I think I was nervous), “You guys put on a really great show,” to which he responded, “Thank you sweetie.” I decided against asking him for a photo, as he looked anxious to move on. I already had a fabulous picture with him from four years prior when I got to meet him twice in two nights. So all in all, my Peter cup runeth over.
But now it was back to my mission: Dolenz. And he was approaching. My neurons where rapid-firing as I tried to remember whatever it was I wanted to say to him, simultaneously trying to talk myself into appearing as a totally cool, normal, not-crazy-at-all fan. Ah, the best laid plans. When he got to me, twenty years instantaneously disappeared from my age and the first thing I said was, “Can I have a hug?” Worst first impression ever, but it was totally worth it because he happily obliged. I personally want to thank whoever invented the hug.
There we were. Embracing. It was a moment. A sweet, sweet moment. But I couldn’t just let that moment be. No, I had to punctuate it with some “profound” words. And folks, it wasn’t my best work. What came out of my mouth in that moment was surely not the creation of someone with her Master’s degree in English. You just made my heart so happy. That…is…what…I…said. The statement is totally correct in its sentiment; my heart was elated by what was taking place. But if I were to rank all the possible things I could have said to a man I have idolized for twenty-five years, that one would not have come close to breaking the top ten. My only comfort comes in the fact that Micky still does not know me from Eve, and I am fairly certain he does not remember one statement from one fan in a sea of thousands. But hopefully it was enough for him to feel my love and appreciation at the moment. That is all I can ask for.
So after the hug of a lifetime, Micky very kindly asked my name and was simply as warm and friendly as I could have hoped for. He wore a beautiful grin on his face the entire time. I asked him to sign my shirt and, realizing I had nothing substantial to put it on for the signature, I instinctively draped it across my chest. As you would expect, Micky goes to sign his name next to his own picture, which just happens to be…I bet you know where I’m going with this…in a very sensitive area of the chestal region. It was my boob, people. Micky Dolenz signed my boob! I am well aware that this officially makes me a groupie…and to be honest, I am okay with that. Though I am not sure my husband is.
Accompanying Micky was Andrew Sandoval, who we die-hard fans know as “The All-Knowing Monkee Guru.” He has written everything from books about the Monkees to liner notes, and he is often seen in documentaries as the go-to Monkee expert. So basically, I owe a large part of my fanaticism to this man. Needless to say, it was a thrill to meet him in the flesh. I only wish I had my copy of “The Monkees: The Day-By-Day Story of the 60s TV Pop Sensation” for him to sign. However, I did ask if I could get a picture with him. He seemed very humbled by that request, as if he didn’t realize his own mini-celebrity status.
Mr. Sandoval returned to Micky, graciously offering to take pictures for fans. At this point, my new buddy Rick was showing Micky an autographed photo he had acquired of Micky’s father, actor George Dolenz. A truly devoted fan, Rick wanted Micky to have the photo, and it was obvious that Micky was genuinely touched by the gesture. He added, “Believe it or not, I don’t have any autographed pictures of my dad.” At the time, I think I was still in a stupefied coma that I was standing just arm’s-length away from greatness, but looking back on it, I feel very privileged to have witnessed such an authentic interaction of gratitude, on both the part of the fan and the artist.
Natalie and I made our way over to Davy’s dwindling line and waited for our moment with the not-so-teen teen idol. As I stood there, I saw Arnold Jacks (a.k.a. AJ), the fabulous bassist in Peter’s band Shoe Suede Blues and part of the incredible backing band for the Anniversary Tour. Natalie and I snapped photos with him, and he chatted with us like he had known us forever. What a classy, charming man he is!
Natalie, Rick, Ricky and I were the last people to see Davy…I am sure he was ready to hit the road at that point. But he kindly attended to us, signing my shirt and posing for pictures. Since he did not seem to be running out the door, I told him I had a very quick little story to share with him: The last time I met him, there were two girls in front of me who, instead of autographs or pictures, asked to lick Davy’s elbows. After an awkward pause, he admitted to them in that wonderful accent of his, “No one has ever asked me to do that,” rolled up his sleeves, and stuck out his elbows. Each girl had their lick and walked away. Then he looked at me and I said, “I just want a picture with you.” After I finished the story, Davy got this charmingly cute disgusted look on his face and said, “Ugh, I hate my elbows.” He must have said that four times as if to imply why would anyone want to lick my elbows, to which I replied, “Well, don’t look at me. I was the girl BEHIND the girls who licked your elbows.” With that, he thanked us for coming to the show and left the room. As I waved to him, I heard the tinkling sound of my authentic 1967 Monkee charm bracelet that my husband’s aunt had unearthed in her old possessions and bequeathed onto me. Doh!! I forgot to show Micky my charm bracelet. Oh, already the regrets!!!
But in all honesty, I have no regrets. Considering the facts that just months ago I was convinced I would probably never meet Micky Dolenz nor would these three guys ever tour together again, I could not have scripted a more satisfying experience. Because Micky Dolenz signed my boob. Meeting these people whom I’ve been transfixed by in song and on screen was a brief little trip into a world of fantasy that we often do not get to experience in the normal course of our lives. I am grateful for all the butterflies, all the exhilaration, all the immaturity, all the giddiness, and all the magic I felt that night. Sometimes we need to feel those things to remind us of just how alive we are…and realize that if so much happiness can be found in meeting a couple of goofy mad-capped musicians who are essentially strangers to me in the grand scheme of things, then the number of places happiness can be found is endless.
But still, I think I may listen to “Star Collector” in a whole new light.