If you read the latest 16 Spec, you shared some of the excitement I felt the first time I appeared in a concert with the Monkees (their concert in Wichita, Kan.). But I guess nothing will be as unforgettable to me as doing the world-famous Hollywood Bowl with them! First off, 17,500 kids showed up that night, breaking the attendance record for the Bowl! The opening acts were the Sundowners, Ike & Tina Turner and then me (backed up by the Sundowners).
When I showed up at the Bowl for rehearsal, I nearly dropped dead. It looked like the biggest thing in the whole world. The grooviest part of rehearsal, of course, was watching the Monkees prepare for the big show. They rehearsed like mad for ages—in the studio, in rented halls and, finally, in the Bowl itself. I don’t have to tell you how conscientious they are, for you can see that in any performance Micky, Mike, Peter and Davy give. At 8 o’clock on the big night, things started right on time. When Bobby Trip, a KHJ “Boss Jock,” introduced me—and very nicely too, thanks, sir—my heart was beating like a big bass drum, but the Sundowners and the audience were so great that I soon forgot my stage fright and really had a ball.
However, the real ball came during the second half of the show, when the Monkees dashed on stage in maroon velvet, double-breasted suits with bell-bottom pants, white shirts and patent leather boots. There was so much screaming and excitement that you could hardly hear the music. When giant pictures of the Monkees were played against a huge screen on the stage, the audience went completely wild and I stood in the wings jumping up and down and screaming right along with them. For their solo numbers, Peter wore a white sweater with tight white slacks; Mike wore a gorgeous white double-breasted suit and a shirt trimmed with white lace; Davy wore a stunning tuxedo with a dress shirt and no tie: and Micky wore a bright paisley shirt with red hipsters.
The wildest thing that happened all night came at the end of Micky’s “James Brown imitation.” As he finished his “…one more time!” frenzy for the third time, Micky suddenly leaped into the air and landed with an enormous splash in the fountain that separates the audience from the stage at the Bowl! The lights went off—and in split seconds he had jumped up and was changing backstage for the grand finale. The Monkees wore pin-striped pants and velvet Monkee shirts, and finished off a perfect evening by singing Shades Of Gray while beautiful waving colored lights drifted across the screen above them.
After the show, there was a special very private party for the Monkees and their friends. I was honored to be invited. I sat like a person in a dream watching Mike (with Phyllis), Davy, Peter and Micky greet such guests as Sally Field, Keith Allison, David Winters, David Pearl, Gloria Stavers, Tad Diltz and all the Monkee-folk from Screen Gems. The clincher came when I was told that evening by Steve Blauner that I was going to be signed to the entire Monkee Stateside tour. Wow, am I lucky! So stay tuned to 16 for more Monkee news from me as I share with you the fun and excitement of my new life in the fabulous world of Micky, Mike, Peter and Davy.