Thursday, March 01, 2012

The Monkees, Jimi Hendrix and Charlotte

  I wish I remembered more about July 11, 1967 in the original Charlotte Coliseum than I do but I remember enough.

   I remember going to see The Monkees in concert that night, the first concert of my nearly 11 year old life, and I remember the thrill of seeing Michael, Peter, Mickey and Davy -- live and in person as the signs used to say -- and hearing the screaming noise of the kids amazed by what and who they were seeing and occasionally, hearing..

   Most of us didn't realize we were witnessing a small piece of rock and roll history, catching one of the seven Monkees shows in which Jimi Hendrix, Mr. Purple Haze himself, was the opening act. Had I known then what I know now (how many times have we all said that) I would have appreciated the opening act more than I did but, to be honest, I wasn't there to hear Hendrix.

   I, of course, think of his after hearing of Davy Jones' death Wednesday. I liked the Monkees and I still do. They were playing a reunion show outside Washington, D.C., when I was at the U.S. Open last summer and I considered going. I didn't and now I wish I had.

   Two things I remember about Hendrix that night:

   The first is walking around the Coliseum (it's now Bojangles Arena) where the stage doors are located as my mom told me that the Monkees would probably look a little different in person than on television. It was at that moment -- maybe 20 feet away -- Jimi Hendrix stepped out of a limousine.

   Not realizing at the time that Hendrix was part of the show, I momentarily wondered if Mickey Dolenz really did look that different.

   The other memory is the sound of Hendrix' guitar when he threw it to the ground and stomped off stage, obviously irritated that a bunch of kids weren't interested in hearing him play (though he'd been invited by Dolenz to join the tour). We were all waiting to 'Take The Last Train To Clarksville.'

   That's what the Monkees played when they took the stage. I'm guessing they didn't play more than 30 or 45 minutes. Their catalog wasn't particularly deep at the time but for a kid who loved watching them on television, seeing them in person was a thrill.

   I still listen to The Monkees once in a while.When 'Daydream Believer' or 'Valeri' comes on the 60s station on my satellite radio, I quietly sing along.

   I have 'Look Out, Here Comes Tomorrow' and 'Pleasant Valley Sunday' on a couple of playlists for when I'm exercising.

   (Just so you know, I've moved on to a degree. I'm heading to see another Springsteen show in Greensboro in a couple of weeks).

   My friend Ron Smith still has his ticket stub from that July night in 1967 and he posted it on his Facebook page this week. I wish I'd been smart enough to keep my ticket.

   It's gone and now, so is Davy Jones and Jimi Hendrix, too. But the memories live on, happily.



becca said...

I saw this same concert, but in Greensboro. What a WOW!
And...WHO KNEW!!!!!!!!!!!?????!!!

Anonymous said...

Saw the Monkees minus Nesmith in Charlotte at an outdoor venue a few years back. They were awesome! I'm almost 50 and remember them on tv. Caught the reruns recently.

Unknown said...

Hey, I was there at that concert, too! We had seats sort of behind the stage, but close to the stage. I tell people I saw Hendrix opening for the Monkees and they give me a funny look. The next time I saw Jimi Hendrix was at the Atlanta Pop Festival in 1970. He was much better received there.