By Chuck Cox
Leave it to Michael Nesmith to not play by the rules.
Nesmith, who attended Thomas Jefferson High School in Dallas before sky-rocketing to fame as a member of The Monkees in the late 1960s and early 1970s, brought his solo tour to the Kessler Theater on Wednesday night to an enthusiastic crowd.
The set list — save for one Monkees song — was from his vast solo catalogue. Nesmith explained at the beginning of the show that his songs are like movies in his mind, so he set up each song or vignette of songs with a scene, like a narrator. The only time he didn’t do that was for the two encore songs, “Rising in Love” and “Listen to the Band.”
It caught me a little off-guard at first, but after two or three songs, I really got into it and dug it. It was a very different way to approach a show, and I thought it really worked well for him.
I wasn’t too terribly familiar with any of the material, with the exception of his 1979 tune “Cruisin’.” I remember how much I loved that song and video, and it was an absolute treat for me to get to hear him play it live. Other than that, I was discovering tunes as I heard them played live. Although all of them were fantastic, “Different Drum,” “Some of Shelly’s Blues,” and “Rio” really stood out for me.
My favorite part of the show was when he came out for the encore. People in the audience were yelling out song titles they wanted him to play. He just shooshed them a couple of times, which was awesome. I’m a big believer in the artist playing what they want to play. Nesmith did not have an opening act and played a little more than 90 minutes with a very talented four-piece band behind him.
I was especially glad to see Nesmith since I couldn’t get to see The Monkees when the band rolled through town earlier this year. It was a really fun night.