Everything was very exciting because the Monkees were on their way to Winnipeg for the first concert they were to give in Canada. The flight there was pretty calm and nothing much happened until we touched down. It was freezing cold in Winnipeg (17 degrees) and there were tons of kids standing on one of the large airport decks waiting for the Monkees in all that cold and snow. They had been standing for hours just to catch a glimpse of the Monkees.
The plane landed on the field as the limousine pulled up next to the plane, the kids started waving. The guys got off and started waving back and then got in the limousine to go to the hotel where they could more or less relax.
We were staying at the Fort Garry Hotel on the sixth floor and, naturally, there was nothing to do. Mike put on his old sweatshirt and went walking all over the hotel. Well, the hotel staff took one look at long-haired Mike in this sweatshirt and went into a dither. They didn’t know what to think of this strange looking creature. Not that Mike looked strange or anything, because he just couldn’t, but the people in Winnipeg are very conservative and not used to people with long hair in weird looking sweatshirts walking around the lobby of one of their best hotels. Another thing the long hair did was totally confuse all the fans and everyone else. If you had long hair your chances of being attacked for an autograph were excellent. A lot of us had a terrible time trying to explain that we weren’t the Monkees. It finally got to the point where we would run the other way whenever we saw an eager face with a pencil and a piece of paper in its hand.
The performance at Winnipeg was an afternoon show and naturally I had to be there early to help set thing up. At eight o’clock in the morning the tickets for the concert went on sale and at 11 a.m., three hours later, the entire stadium was sold out! The capacity of that place is 12,000 and there were 12, 500 people who had tickets. The management had sold an extra 500 tickets for standing room only, so the audience was composed of 12,500 stamping, screaming, frantic people, and to see them from the stage was just unbelievable.
There had been lots of tension on the trip, because of a prediction that had been made. Someone had predicted that the Monkees were going to be killed while performing in Canada and so to avoid that, Mike asked me, and his friend Charlie Rockett and Phyllis’ brother, Bruce Barbour, to make sure that any packages that landed on stage were thrown off again because one of them might contain a bomb. Now, none of us, and I want to make that very clear, none of us really believe in predictions of doom, but we all wanted to be on the safe side so everyone in the Monkee party was extra careful and great pains were taken to see that they were completely protected. Naturally, the prediction didn’t come true, but just the same everyone was very tight about the whole thing.
The Monkees arrived at the auditorium about half an hour before the concert and were slipped back stage. The show is an unbelievable thing. As you look at the stage you see one phony amplifier on either side of the stage and just before the Monkees come on, the lights dim twice. The third time, the lights go out and the Monkees race onstage and hide in the amplifiers.
The audience knew that something was happening but they didn’t know just what it was and they were absolutely frantic. Then, over the loud speaker blasted their theme song, “Hey, Hey We’re The Monkees” and the lights went up. Suddenly, right in the middle of the song, The Monkees cam crashing out of the phony amps and ran towards their instruments. They picked them up and started playing “Last Train To Clarksville”. Davy was playing the electric key board base on stage during this concert and used it in their second song, “Kind Of Girl I Could Love”. The guys are gradually adding new songs to their concerts and the nest song they did was one from their third album, “Sunny Girlfriend”.
Then the lights dimmed and all the guys left the stage. The audience howled for more and then Peter came back onstage with a banjo in his hand and played folk songs for the audience. He sang his heart out for them and for his family and parents who were in Winnipeg to see him. Peter was very happy this trip because for the first time, he got to do a stand-up solo without having to play an instrument and that solo was “Auntie Grizelda”. He thought that was an outasite thing to let him to. He really dug it and so did the audience.
After Peter was through he left the stage and Mike came out on stage backed by the “Candy Store Prophets”. He sang Bo Diddley for the crowd and they went really wild. Mike would stand there very quietly just singing a line and then all of a sudden he would just go wild with the harmonica and marracas. He dances around the stage like nothing I’ve ever seen before and the audience was right there with him going absolutely crazy.
“Lookout Here Comes Tomorrow” brought Davy Jones on stage and the audience went mad. They really dug him. The Canadian audiences were fantastic!
When Davy was through, it was Micky’s turn and on he came, with his hair combed straight back. He stepped up to the microphone, took it in his hand and as the rhythm and blues pulse of a James Brown song hit the audience—so did Micky! He was just unbelievable! He really tore that place up. Toward the end of the song the strobe lights were flashing on him and he went down on his knees and was sobbing into microphone with his head a few inches from the stage floor, when Mike came walking out on stage with Micky’s coat and put it over his shoulders. He helped Micky up and walked him to the exit. Just as they got there, Micky suddenly broke free and ran back to the microphone. Actually, he slid on one knee for about the last ten feet and really wailed that song. Then Mike came back and tried to get him off stage again and once more Micky broke free and ran back to the microphone. This time instead of sliding on his knees he did a complete flip in the air and the audience went screaming wild!! As soon as the show was over, the Monkees tore back to the hotel.
Later we caught a plane to Toronto. We left Winnipeg in the middle of a blizzard and everyone was very uneasy—so naturally, Mike did his best to put everyone at ease. The Stewardess was giving a speech about safety precautions on a plane and how the crew was there to make the flight as comfortable as possible for everyone. Mike stood up in the middle of this whole speech and went through her whole routine. He demonstrated the oxygen mask and what to do in case of a crash—dive out of the plane head first—he calmly went down the aisle asking everyone if they preferred coffee, tea or milk. The whole routine completely cracked everybody up.
A massive card game got going shortly after this routine and great fortunes were won and lost. Naturally, Davy won a bunch of fortunes and everyone else started trying to figure out how to get out of paying him.
Suddenly someone had an idea and started playing their noise maker. I guess he figured that if he played loud enough he wouldn’t hear Davy when he tried to collect his massive fortune. The reason we all had noise makers on that plane is because it was Monkee Rule that if you didn’t have a noise maker of some kind like a penny whistle or a hummazoo you couldn’t get on the plane, so everyone had a noisemaker. We all started playing the noisemaking games and we played them all the way to Toronto which annoyed the pilot no end. Some of us played marches and Peter’s group played Beatles songs, while Mike’s group competed with Stone songs. Mike also sat there and let loose with an imitation of a jet crashing or auto race. Micky slept and with all that noise I really don’t know how he did it. We had a ball while Davy tried to be heard so he could collect his fortunes from the card game. Unfortunately he didn’t have any luck because we could hear him and we were all broke.
When we landed there were thousands of kids all over and we made a mad dash for the limousines and tore off to the hotel—the King Edward. There were thousands of kids standing around below and we were on the eighth floor. Every once in awhile one of the guys would go over to the window and wave and the sound you’d hear would be enough to rattle the building.
Finally Mike got bored and decided to call CHUM radio. He got a disc jockey on the phone all the guys yakked it up for awhile and talked to all the people over the air. Then Mike said, “We have something you’ve just got to hear”. So the disc jockey got his tape recorder going and all four of the guys went over to the window while I held the phone. When they got to the window, Mike, Peter and Micky picked Davy up and swung him out the window. He was hanging on by his feet. The crowd went crazy and I’d swear you could hear that mob 500 miles away. It was ear shattering and Davy didn’t help much either. He was yelling the loudest at Mike and the rest of them. “Don’t you dare drop me! Be careful” and generally pleading that they hold on tight because he didn’t really “feel like dropping in to see the mob from eight stories up, fellows”. Finally the guys pilled Davy back in and they talked to the disc jockey some more and then hung up.
Mike seemed to have a thing for that window because he went walking back over to it, turned to us and smiled and we knew something was really going to let loose. He stood at the window, leaned out, looked very quietly at the crowd, and then yelled with accompanying arm movements, “Come On Up!” Pandemonium broke loose and so did 500 kids—right through the police lines. You can bet that entire scene was total bedlam!!
The next morning everyone was served a huge meal and we all sat around and gabbed about nothing until it was time to leave for the auditorium. On the way to the show, Phyllis’ brother, Bruce, managed to talk a Mountie out of his hat. It was one of those three tiered jobs, all fur, with a great big red band around it. Bruce gave it to Micky to add to his collection of police hats and Micky thought that was an outasite thing for Bruce to do. He just loves that groovy hat.
When we got to the auditorium, Bruce and I found that Peter’s banjo was missing and so we had to find a replacement and quick. Fortunately, Ric Klein came up with one and so the show was saved. The crowd was just totally unbelievable and 23 people were hurt after falling off a wall into a barbed wire fence. We were still uptight about the prediction for the Monkees, so Mike issued orders again that anyone who tried to get on the stage should be removed as fast as possible. A couple of people tried to get on stage but they were removed very quickly and the show went on without incident.
Later that evening we all left for the airport to catch our flight back to Los Angeles. The Monkees took the limousine. The rest of us were in a truck playing our noisemakers. The kids must have thought that we had the Monkees with us—especially when they heard the noisemakers. Anyway they all tore after us—tons of them racing with the truck. What really got us was one kid who must have raced with the truck for about two miles along the runway.
Once aboard the plane everyone tried to relax. Suddenly someone hit Davy with a pillow and Davy let loose! He started throwing pillows like a mad man and everyone got into it—even Mike. Mike of course wasn’t throwing any pillows—he had more important things to do like planning strategy. This consisted of finding two loose seat belts and waylaying anyone who came down the aisle by handcuffing them to the nearest seat with the seat belts. As he handcuffed them he casually informed them that—“You are now under arrest. A Mountie always get his man.” By this time the “Great Pillow Fight” was in full swing and the entire place was involved, stewardesses and all. It was pure bedlam. Someone got a brilliant idea and wet some of the pillows down which made them a lot heavier and wow—did that ever hurt. Those little white fluffy pillows became heavy solid four ton bricks. About that time we all decided to call it quits and a card game began—again with Davy winning great fortunes and the rest of us losing.
The rest of the flight was peaceful and when we landed everyone agreed that it was a wildly fantastic tour and that the audiences were outasite. They all really dug the Canadian audiences and are looking forward to another tour there in the future. In the meantime they’ll be busy filming their show, cutting an album and touring other parts of the world. Naturally I’ll do my best to cover all of these events for you in future issues of Tiger Beat and The Monkees Spec so be watching for them soon.