January 29th, 2011. The Star Plaza Theatre, Annual “Salute to the 60‘s” show has had much larger crowds in the past. The majority of attendees appeared to be there for headliner Davy Jones. As evidenced by Monkees memorabilia and the overheard queries of “What time does Davy go on?”.
Saturday night found the band taking the stage and after a short fanfair opening with the “Rocky” theme song. Mr. Jones strolled out comfortably. Claiming the microphone and his audience, Davy started the crowd off with some comedy, breaking the ice. His first song, the Neil Diamond penned, “I’m a Believer“ brought a smile to faces all around and a collective, yet faint sigh of “Oh, it‘s Davy“.
Throughout the show the jokes kept rolling and the slow old man parody of the “Monkee Walk” drew a number of “Laugh Out Loud” moments. The band behind Davy complimented him well and I was surprised and impressed with his version of Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich written, “She Hangs Out“. The great harmonies, along with brass, reeds and a “get down” bass line, gave it a hint of the Muscle Shoals Sound. The audience was tappin’ and clappin’ from note one. The choreographed moves of Johnny J. Blair (bass) and Dave Robicheau (guitar) augmented the natural stage presence of the two. The head bobbing and foot tapping keyboard player Jimmy Riccitelli and the good times expressions on the brass, percussion and reeds players, Eric Biondo and Aviva Maloney, kept a good vibe. Drummer Felipe Torres was very captivating and laid it down, all the while twirling sticks and in general just enjoying himself up there. Davys wife, actress and dancer, Jessica Pacheco Jones also joined Davy on stage dancing to his new song “Amore“, adding interesting flare to the evening. Which most audience members seemed to enjoy, while some were intrigued, others seemed a bit confused. Davy reached out to the audience on a more personal level by mentioning his grandkids and their take on his Scooby Doo and Sponge Bob “appearances”.
The evenings set included, Boyce & Hart’s “Valleri” which reached #3 in the 1968 Billboard Hot 100. Everyone sang along with “Sleepy Jean”/ "Daydream Believer" and Davy played a mean maraca on Michael Nesmith’s “Mary, Mary”, where he cracked a joke about the protective gear on the maracas.
Davys voice is still great and there are so many Monkees songs to choose from. While entertaining, I would have loved more music and maybe a little less joke telling. Just being “Davy Jones” should be enough. But, perhaps some comedic aspect during the songs would be more “eyes on stage“, “what‘s happening next“ feel.
Everyone Was on their feet for the conclusion of the night with “Pleasant Valley Sunday” and a what can only be described as a an “End of the Movie”, dance party version of “I’m a Believer”. Davy's overall show was engaging and as one fan put it “simply delightful”.
-Michele Sweeney Abrams