My Close Encounters With The Monkees

I will always recall the night I almost got to see The Monkees perform live. It was perhaps my first brush with fame; the start of a life-long interest in meeting celebrities. And while this story has a sad ending, it was also extremely memorable and not all unfortunate.

It was a summer sometime when I was in middle school. The Monkees, a music group I had grown up listening to and adoring, were to perform in Dewey Beach one night. I was staying in Bethany with my family that summer, and thankfully, I convinced my family to stop in Dewey on the way home that evening. I wanted to see the members of the band.

I knew I wasn’t old enough to see the show- you had to be 21, and I was a long ways off, but nonetheless, I was determined to get an autograph anyways. While my family waited in the car, I lingered by the venue’s entrance, hoping to catch them on their way in to the show. I waited for a long time; so long that my parents were getting angry and impatient with my pipe dreams. They threatened to drive home without me (I was sure they wouldn’t really) stranding me in a town far from home.

I continued to wait and plea with my parents, and just as my parents were about to leave, I caught a glimpse of something magical. Four tall men in odd, psychedelic clothing walked from a back entrance to the stage door. I recognized them as The Monkees! I called out, asking for a quick autograph and one of them turned around and saw me. A man wearing a long, maroon crushed velvet coat and who had a blond mop-top responded to me. He said they didn’t have time for autographs then, but that after the show, they would oblige.

I was overcome with emotion, both good and bad. On one hand, there would be no way I could hang out in a lonely and sketchy Dewey parking lot during the entire show. My parents would never go for it. Maybe I had to go home then, but perhaps I could convince a parent to drive me back to Dewey after the show.

On the other hand- I had recognized the man who spoke to me as Peter Tork. I was amazed that this famous musician had spoke to me. From then on, I decided Peter would be my favorite bandmate. I suppose the glee of getting to talk to Peter Tork was a good enough compromise for the end of that night. I never did get to stay in Dewey or get their autographs after the show though.

A few years later, I was on a trip to Orlando with my high school’s choir. It was the annual music trip and it coincided with a special live show that Davy Jones was giving at Epcot. I decided that this would be my second shot at getting to see him/The Monkees. Unfortunately, the concert happened to be the same time as our awards ceremony- something that I would not be able to get out of. Once more I was disappointed. It seemed it was just not in the cards for me to see The Monkees.

Mickey, Peter, Mike, and Davy

And then just yesterday morning, I heard the sad news that Davy Jones had died. Now there would be no way I’d ever get to complete this now Life Goal of getting to see The Monkees perform live. Because what are The Monkees without their most famous personality and lead singer/master tambourine player? Such sad news indeed for me; one more fan.

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