“Don’t get me drunk, pissed off, and armed,” Micky Dolenz says, barely five minutes into his conversation with Peter Noone. And we know we’re in for one hell of an evening.
“Peter Noone in Conversation with Micky Dolenz” isn’t what most people expect when two musical legends of the ’60s appear together onstage. It’s not a concert; it’s more like an episode of Inside the Actors’ Studio or — maybe more fittingly given Peter Noone’s dashing three-piece suit — The David Frost Show. Noone acts as interviewer, a clipboard of questions on hand, ready to ask the former Monkee “all the questions that I don’t think he’s ever been asked.”
But Noone hardly references his prepared questions as the two share stories and memories like only old friends can. Except unlike most old friends, their stories involve the Beatles, the Stones, and the wild life of the ’60s rock scene.
The focus was initially on Dolenz, but became more a conversation than an interview, with Noone telling nearly as many stories as his subject. Though it was a dialogue, not a concert, there was plenty of impromptu singing interwoven with their stories, and included everything from Dolenz’s spot-on imitation of a Caruso-style operetta singer (his father, in fact, who was an actor once signed by Howard Hughes), to the two friends spontaneously harmonizing on the singular novelty song “Witch Doctor.” A guitar player sat in the background, adding accompaniment whenever one of them launched into song, and provided subtle scoring throughout the conversation — a nice touch. As expected, these two pick up on each other’s musical cues and sing together like only old friends can… well, old friends who’ve had #1 singles, that is.
Dolenz and Noone are animated and engaging storytellers, supplementing their stories with songs and even acting out a few of the funnier tales. Crowd favorites included Noone’s most embarrassing moment (which of course, involved John Lennon!), and Dolenz’s glee at how the Monkees’ innocent reputation allowed some of the more “bad boy” rockers avoid drug busts by hiding out in their hotel room. The two have similar senses of humor, finishing each other’s thoughts with sharp one-liners reminiscent of a Beatles press conference, and their genuine affection for each other kept the crowd at ease and laughing all night. The audience learned new things about both performers, as they showed aspects of themselves and their careers that few casual (or maybe even not-so-casual) Monkees or Herman’s Hermits fans may not have seen before.
This was a real conversation, not canned or meticulously rehearsed. When Dolenz tells Noone, “I don’t think I’ve ever told you this one before,” it was clear from his friend’s reactions that he really hadn’t. And that only added to the feeling that anything could have happened during those two hours.
“Peter Noone in Conversation with Micky Dolenz” is the first event in an exciting year for Dolenz, as The Monkees’ celebrate their 50th anniversary in 2016. Keep up with Peter Noone at peternoone.com, and find out about Micky Dolenz’s concerts and 50th anniversary events at mickydolenz.com.