Peter Tork and James Lee Stanley in Saratoga Springs, New York
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Place: Cafe Lena, Saratoga Springs, New York
My family and I went to Café Lena at about 1:00 p.m. on Saturday. We saw a sign on the door that said that the 8:00 p.m. show had sold out, so they added another show at 5:30 p.m. We had called a few weeks earlier and made reservations but they weren’t confirmed, so we decided to go to the 5:30 p.m. show and see what was happening. We came back at about 4:50 p.m. and were the second or third people there. It turns out we did have reservations for the 8:00 show, but we cancelled them and stayed for the first one. Unfortunately, we had to sit at the back, but I was happy just to be there, of course.
At 5:30 p.m., one of the café employees went to the stage area where we could see a piano, and I’d assume some more instruments, but from our seats, we couldn’t tell. Shortly after, I heard a guitar behind me and my dad started nudging me, but I didn’t turn around. It turned out to be James Lee Stanley. He went to the stage and started his set. I don’t know the names of all of the songs, but some were “Stolen Season”, “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues”, “Three Monkeys”, and “Fair-Weather Town”.
I guess I’ll explain the layout of Café Lena a little bit. After you go through the front door, there’s a small room, then another door, then some stairs that lead upstairs, where the show would be. At the top of stairs, there is another railing, and my family and I were at the table just behind it. Shortly after “Stolen Season”, my mom saw two people coming upstairs and said “oh, I think that’s him!”. I didn’t know she was talking about, so I continued watching the show. Then she said, “yep, that’s him!”. I looked at the person coming up the stairs and… it was him! There was Peter Tork, only a foot away from me!
It was February, so it was pretty cold outside. Some of the people who came in late hadn’t closed the door, but Peter wasn’t one of them.
When James finished his set, he introduced Peter who then did his set. He started with “Long Title: Do I Have To Do This All Over Again?”, then “MGBGT”, “East Virginia”, “I Truly Understand”, “Good Looker” and a classical piece.
Sometime during Peter’s set, James came on and said something about having only half an hour left, so Peter was only able to do a few songs. At the end, Peter played “Daydream Believer” on the piano.
Then they took a break and went to the back of the café (near our table again!) and both James and Peter were selling their CD. Since I was so close to the back, I was only second or third in line. I asked Peter to sign my Then And Now… The Best Of The Monkees record and I got my picture taken with him. He recognized Davy’s signature already on the album, who had signed with my name on it, so he didnt have to ask what it was. My mom made a comment about how he already knew my name. Peter also drew a little arrow pointing to his picture on the album. Shortly after, Peter said that he would sign the rest at the end of the show since there wasn’t enough time. I bought a Two Man Band CD called Once Again.
Peter and James went back to the stage and did the last set together. I don’t remember all the songs or the order, but I believe they played “Easy Rider”, “Hi Babe”, “One Trick Pony”, and maybe four or so more songs before ending with “Pleasant Valley Sunday”. From most of the reviews I’ve read, they played some more songs at other shows; I suppose this was since they had to finish early for the 8:00 p.m. show that day.
After the show, Peter and James went to the back of the café again, where I was second in line again, and I got them both to sign my Once Again CD. When I gave Peter the CD, he asked my name, so I told him, and he said something like “oh, yes, with the record, I remember”. My mom mentioned that we were from Ontario and that we had driven six hours to see him, which surprised Peter, I think. Then, he came around the desk and gave me a hug! We said goodbye and left shortly after.