Again, I must preface: Part of my VIP ticket to The Monkees concert (see my Completely Biased Review) was getting to meet the guys after the show. The following is my account, which I wrote mostly so that I would never forget a detail of what was something truly momentous for me.
Meet a Monkee, Greet A Monkee, Makes Me Happy to See a Monkee
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 whom I had sat with 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. 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. I was obviously totally 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). But at this moment I was also having a horrible flashback to May 26, 2010. I had gone to see Micky perform with The Turtles, among others, in the Happy Together Tour when it came through St. Louis. I had been told I would be able to see him at a meet and greet after the show. I was on cloud nine for months leading up to the date. That night, as all the performers emerged for the meet and greet, we were told that Micky was not coming. Just punch me in the gut why don’t ya. So when I came out of the ladies’ room to the commotion after the 45th Anniversary Tour concert, all I could think was, oh no…it’s happening again…I’ve brought my bad karma to Columbus.
Fortunately, that was not the case, and my fears 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, which surprised me since they hadn’t done so at the meet and greets previously, from what I had heard. And 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 a Sharpie 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 would have loved to get a picture with him, but as I said before, he seemed a little rushed and flustered, and I did not want to push my luck. Besides, I have a fabulous picture with him from four years ago 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: George Michael Dolenz. My hands literally started quivering as he got closer and closer. 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?” Okay, not my best work, but it was totally worth it because he happily obliged. I personally want to thank whoever invented the hug.
Now I am going to go out on a limb here and hypothesize that Micky’s body harbors some weird extraterrestrial power that turns other people’s brains to mush, because what came out of my mouth at that moment was surely not the creation of someone with her Master’s degree. You just made my heart so happy. That…is…what…I…said. The statement is totally correct in its sentiment; my heart was elated at that moment. 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.
I think I stood there a little (no, a lot) in awe as Micky continued to graciously make his way through the crowd. I had the completely imbecile urge to follow him around like a little puppy dog, but thankfully my better judgment kicked in, probably for the first time all night. Instead, 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 Mr. 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! When Natalie asked if Peter was feeling okay (since he seemed a little tired overall), AJ just shrugged his shoulders and joked, “He can be a moody dude.” I asked him if Shoe Suede Blues had any plans to swing through St. Louis again, and he seemed pretty impressed that I had traveled from The Lou (as we natives like to call it) to see that night’s show. At that moment, I blurted out, “Ugh! I forgot to tell Micky I came all the way from St. Louis to see him!” (As if there would be some kind of prize for the person who traveled the furthest…which I cannot even be positive I would have won.) “Oh, already the regrets I have,” I exclaimed.
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 the regrets!!!
But in all honesty, I have no regrets. Considering the facts that just months ago I was convinced I had blown all my chances to meet Micky Dolenz and I was positive the three guys would never tour together again, I could not have scripted a more satisfying experience. The only thing that could have made the evening better was if the guys were just so taken with my sparking personality that they invited me to hang out and have a beer afterwards (I hear Corona is a favorite). Then we would become each other’s Facebook friends, send Christmas cards, I would have open invitations to crash at their pads when visiting their respective hometowns…yeah, right. I am fully aware that is not reality. My reality is that I have a wonderful life in The Lou with my two fantastically funny lovable children and my incredible husband who was not even jealous that Micky Dolenz signed my boob. Either that, or he was really good at hiding his jealousy. This night of Monkee amazingness 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 because 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.