Wildwood- “That was then, this is now,” sang Micky Dolenz to 3,000 fans who were concentrating more on the then, than the now, at the Fabulous 50s Weekend Salutes the 60s, April 29 at the Wildwoods Convention Center.
The former Monkees drummer, singer, and actor headlined a four-and one-half-hour show that spanned the 60s from The Rip Chords performing their hot rod tunes “409” and “Little Cobra” to the Grass Roots leading sing-alongs of “Midnight Confessions” and “Sooner or Later.”
The red-gowned Crystals brought sweet voices and looks to match, singing their hits “Doo Ron Ron,” and “He Kissed Me.”
Peter Noone, original lead singer for Herman’s Hermits, delighted the crowd with a dozen of the band’s hits. “H-E-N-R-Y” shouted the audience for a sing-along of “I’m Henry the VIII, I Am.”
Noone showed a biting sense of humor, referring to the convention center as an “airplane hangar.” He claimed to be the youngest performer on the bill.
Noone took a couple of potshots at Dolenz and Monkee Davy Jones, joking that Dolenz would ride back to his hotel in an ambulance.
The weekend was all about the Monkees. however. Monkees merchandise sold briskly in the lobby.
The crowd received an unexpected treat when Monkee Peter Tork joined Dolenz on stage for two songs. The pair had not appeared together since a 2001 Monkees tour.
Dolenz played electric guitar throughout the show, a switch from his usual acoustic model. He delighted the crowd by playing drums on “Mary, Mary” and “Circle Sky.”
He acknowledged the song writing talents of Monkee Michael Nesmith, performing two of his compositions. Dolenz’s sister, Coco, took lead vocals on Nesmith’s “Different Drum,” a song he wrote for Linda Ronstadt.
The concert ended at midnight with a line of least 200 fans waiting for Micky Dolenz’s autograph at a book table in the lobby.
On April 30, Tork appeared on 12th Avenue in North Wildwood outside Cool Scoops Ice Cream Parlor for a renaming of the block to Monkees Way. On hand was the Monkees’ customized, 1966 Pontiac GTO convertible and a Monkees cover band called “The Missing Links.”
North Wildwood Mayor Bill Henfey officiated over the ceremonial street renaming.
Cool Scoops owner Paul Russo presented Tork a plaques commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Monkees television series and albums on behalf of the Greater Wildwood Chamber of Commerce.
The weekend’s festivities started on Friday night with Philadelphia radio legend Jerry Blavat holding a well-attended record hop at the convention center.
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