Thursday, March 01, 2012

The Monkees and Jimi Hendrix in Charlotte

The death of Monkees singer Davy Jones on Wednesday reminded me again of one of the bizarre and wonderful moments in Charlotte history.

On July 11, 1967, the Monkees played at the Charlotte Coliseum on Independence Boulevard (now Bojangles Coliseum).

The Jimi Hendrix Experience was the opening act.

Forty-five years later this sounds crazy for at least two reasons: one, that Hendrix was opening for the Monkees instead of the other way around, and two, that they ended up on the same bill in the first place.

The first reason wasn't quite as crazy back then. The Monkees were at their popular peak -- "Last Train to Clarksville," "I'm a Believer" and "Pleasant Valley Sunday" were all huge hits by the summer of '67. Hendrix, meanwhile, had scored hits in England but wasn't well-known over here.

The background on how the two acts got together isn't totally clear, but by all accounts everybody got along on stage and backstage. The problem was the crowds. The teenage girls (and some boys) who showed up to scream for the Monkees had no idea what to do with the wild-haired black guy playing the guitar with his teeth. I'm trying to imagine a double bill today that would be that different. Maybe Mastodon opening for Taylor Swift. (Actually, hell, I'd go to that show.)

Charlotte was the third show on the Monkees/Hendrix double bill. Hendrix lasted just four more shows after that. He got tired of the boos and the girls screaming for Davy and Micky. At a show in Forest Hills, N.Y., he flipped off the crowd, and that was that.

Obviously, he ended up doing just fine for himself.



(That's 11 minutes, but it might be your favorite 11 minutes today.)

Over the years I've heard from lots of people about that Charlotte show. I have a feeling it's like that Wilt Chamberlain 100-point game -- the arena held 10,000 but 100,000 people say they were there. I've never seen one shred of memorabilia from the concert -- not a ticket stub or poster or photo or anything. If you're out there, and you've got something -- even just your story -- share it with us.

In the meantime, we played some Hendrix, so it's only fair to play some Monkees. "Clarksville," "I'm a Believer," "I'm Not Your Stepping Stone"... those are some fun songs. Not Jimi, but not bad.

Take us home, Davy.

45 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hendrix opening for The Monkees? Strange combination.

When the new Van Halen tour was announced a few weeks back, I read that Kool & The Gang would be their opening act. That is almost as strange a pairing...

Ricardo Mata
Charlotte

Anonymous said...

One of the Monkees - Nesmith? - was in London while Hendrix was breaking big. He became an instant fan and got his fellow bandmates into Hendrix as well. They convinced their manager to get him on the bill. Apparently, they believed that his presence would improve their credibility beyond the teeny-bopper set.

A friend of a former girlfriend of mine was dragged to this tour's show in Greensboro by her big sister. The sister was determined to meet Hendrix. Her persistence paid off. They saw a limo near the gig and ran after it. He actually invited them into the limo and took them to lunch at the BBQ joint - Stamey's - adjacent to the Greensboro coliseum. She described him as very polite and kind of shy.

Anonymous said...

I WAS there. My girlfriend at the time was a big Monkees fan, sooooo. Anyway, I did not know Hendrix or know he would be there, however seeing him was a HUGE treat and more of a thrill for me than the Monkees. Playing the guitar behind his back and with his teeth was AWESOME.

DWright1 said...

When Hendrix came back to Charlotte years later as a headliner ( backed up by Chicago ), he made reference to being here with the Monkees and being practically booed off the stage by all the little girls. He then said something to the effect of "How do you like me now?" Pretty funny.

Anonymous said...

There were other strange pairings back then. The Supremes with the Stones, the Who opened for Herman Hermits. I saw Alice Cooper open for Procol Harem.

Anonymous said...

The Eagles opned for Yes at the old Colisseum in 1972

Chris Michael said...

I dated a girl in high school whose sister was at that show. Jimi WAS booed off stage but the funny part was a girl she saw holding a bouquet of roses. She threw them on stage and Davy Jones picked them up and put the microphone in the roses and sang "I Wanna Be Free". This was too much for the girl. She screamed and then threw up.

Anonymous said...

I was there. I was a tag-a-long with my uncle and four much older cousins. I was only six and a half. Of course I was there to scream at Davey Jones, but very much remember Jimi's show. I did not appreciate who's presence I was in until my teens. I was a little preoccupied with what the group sitting in the next row down was smoking and passing around. It smelled good.

Anonymous said...

I found a ticket stub in one of my sister's old school books. I don't remember what I did with it.

Anonymous said...

Wow, a Mastodan reference. They will be here May 10. Like Metallica meets Yes or King Crimson.

Anonymous said...

My mother took me to see that show. I was really interested in seeing the Monkees (i.e., Davy Jones). But, I do not remember much about the Monkees' performance. What I do remember is Jimi Hendrix and his crazy music and guitar-style. At one point, he took his guitar and smashed it on the stage. My mother later told me that she thought he did so because it was not working correctly. Hence, the far-out music - I guess.

Anonymous said...

5th grade and my Dad took me with 4 friends to see the Monkees in Greensboro, NC and Hendrix opened the show. a great memory I've never forgotten. Jones was in Charlotte for "Grease" (the musical) with Brooke Shields in the musical, also...if i recall correctly, a few years back.
Wade Davis

Mike M. said...

My next door neighbor went to this concert and told me the story afterwards. Hendrix told Charlotte he would never be back...I think he lasted a couple of songs before the kids screamed him off the stage...Hey Hey with the Monkees...

DT said...

I was in junior high school and an usher at that concert. I can tell you that most people did not know what to think. I was awestruck as I was learning to play guitar at the time.

Anonymous said...

I was there. My Mom made my 18 year old brother take me (age 12) and my sister (age 6) to see the Monkees. My brother was loving Hendrix and we were screaming for the Monkees to come on. Great experience once I found out who he.

Anonymous said...

I was there! Going to the Coliseum was a big deal back then. No one had a car. (Who had a license anyway?!) Four girlfriends with tickets on the side near the stage. Hendrix was amazing but so different than anything we'd seen before. I don't think he was really "booed" off stage. He was merely overwhelmed by Monkee-mania. Hendrix was the second band to warm-up the crowd. (Like we needed that.) The first was a Beatles-sound-alike-one-hit-wonder-quartet who's name I cannot recall. I've never seen a show since with a crowd as engaged as the Charlotte audience was for The Monkees...anywhere. Monkee-mania, indeed. Four girlfriends got backstage somehow afterward. I remember it was easier to have access to stars in those days before metal detectors and entourages. "Peaches" remembers a quick kiss and a hug from Mike Nesmith. No smartphone to capture the moment - but who cares. What a great night! What a simpler time.

Anonymous said...

In addition to Hendrix/Monkees, another interesting opening act(s) I saw was in 1965 when Patti LaBelle and the Blue Belles, and Harry Deal and the Galaxies opened for THE ROLLING STONES!

Phil Whitesell - Charlotte said...

Tommy,
I saw the same show at the Greensboro Coliseum. Same result, too - no one had heard of Hendrix and couldn't wait for him to leave. I heard the next time he toured the States he came out and said, "Remember me? I'm the guy you ignored so you could go get a hot dog."

Bobby Burns said...

Hey, talk about weird combinations. I remember going to the old colisseum in 1973 to see Uriah Heep and Earth,Wind and Fire opening for them.
Bobby Burns
Valdese

Anonymous said...

I'm a Charlotte native, and I was there. I was 9 years old, and my dad worked in the coliseum parking lot charging $.25 to park, so we got to go into some of the shows for free. We entered through the "Press Gate" that faced Independence Blvd. Therefore, we don't have ticket stubs, because we had no tickets. We didn't get in until after Hendrix, so we didn't see any of that.

Anonymous said...

It's true. Jimi was almost booed off the stage in Charlotte. Fans were yelling for Davy and Mickey. My twin sister and I were 14 years old that summer and we sat 16 rows from the front. We did not know Jimi Hendrix then, but it sure is fun now telling folks 45 years later that we SAW JIMI HENDRIX!!!!

Anonymous said...

Tommy- thank you for great videos.

Anonymous said...

Arlo Guthrie opened for Nancy Wilson.

Anonymous said...

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band opened for Bobby Sherman.

Anonymous said...

" I'm trying to imagine a double bill today that would be that different."

Nearly 30 years ago, Stevie Ray Vaughn opening for Huey Lewis and The News at the old Coliseum seemed the odd pairing.

Anonymous said...

I saw the show, 17 at the time, because my 15-year old girlfriend wanted to go. I was not a Monkees fan, partially due to their comparison with The Beatles. That's like a Moped to a Cadillac!
Hendrix propped his guitar against his amp and left amidst the feedback. I liked his music (still do). Another band played, The Sundowners, doing Beatles covers.
My girlfriend was ready to leave about halfway through the show. I was past ready.

Anonymous said...

At the time, I thought that the crowd's response was rude. I think that they may have been expecting to hear Little Anthony or Junior Walker.
Certainly, they were becoming eager to hear the main act.
The crowd's response typified the definition of juvenile.

Anonymous said...

Hendrix was the opening act for the #1 act in America and after a couple songs the 13,000 teens screaming "MONKEES" prompted him to walk off stage and yell " FUCK IT " into the microphone.

That was the shot heard around the world and Hendrix returned a year later as the #1 act in America with Zepplin as his opening act.

The Monkees sold 100 million records and put Hendrix on the map plus ignited the mega rock concerts notwithstanding the Beatles one shot at Shea in 1965 although Presley had a few big area concerts.

Todd Gack said...

I hear the Avett Brothers are going to open for Cee Lo Green.

Ellen Jarrett said...

I was at the show. It was the first concert I had ever been to and I remember being so excited to see the Monkees. I also remember screaming my lungs out for Davy Jones. So so cute! So weird that all these years later, Davy dies; however, Jimi Hendrix burned himself out long before his time. Anyway, may Davy rest in peace -- he was a happy memory of my teen years.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, the Monkees were too lightweight for me in those days, but I did see Hendrix at Charlotte Colusium in 1968 with "CTA" opening for them. With the muddy sound of the era I thought they said Charlotte Transit Authority and was very impressed with the band. Of course it was Chicago Transit Authority before they bacame just "Chicago". Hendrix was of course, amazing.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, the Monkees were too lightweight for me in those days, but I did see Hendrix at Charlotte Colusium in 1968 with "CTA" opening for them. With the muddy sound of the era I thought they said Charlotte Transit Authority and was very impressed with the band. Of course it was Chicago Transit Authority before they bacame just "Chicago". Hendrix was of course, amazing

Anonymous said...

I was there (only 5 years old) and all I remember were the Monkees unfortunately. My parents took my 3 older sisters and I had to tag along. I just remember tiny little people singing (we were way up in the top left nose bleed seats).

Anonymous said...

I was at that concert in Charlotte and was of course there for the Monkees. When Jimi came out on stage I think we were all a little shocked and had no idea what a huge icon we were listening to at the time. My two grown boys are more impressed with the fact that I got to see Jimi Hendrix in person than just about anything!! It's hard to believe it was such a long time ago. RIP Davey Jones.

Anonymous said...

never saw a 5 yr old at any hendrix or zep concert

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fBgyXXnbfBc

Anonymous said...

Kravitz sux and a joke.

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Anonymous said...

Black crows, Metalica and another band were the openers for Aerosmith.
I was in Rochester around 1990 and there was 4 bands lined up at Silver Stadium. I don't know who the first was but there was a rain delay after them and the Black Crows came on stage. Metalica was lined up next and all their fans were complete raging a$$es, throwing drinks and anything else at them. They packed up and left the stage, don't even remember if they played a song, they were just warming up.
Then metallica came on after a while and finally Aerosmith. I was there to see Aerosmith and everyone I went with went to see Metallica.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I'm one of the 100,000. My mom and sister and I attended. Got a little inside tip that The Monkees stayed across the street and ended up going there to try and see them. They were there and we ssaw them standing upstairs waving to the small group gathered there. Great night, but I was with the crowd that booed Jimi off the stage.
Tom Osiecki
Charlotte

Anonymous said...

Hendrix and CTA was in May of 69

Anonymous said...

I saw this show from about 10 rows back from center stage. My Aunt worked for Paul Buck and I went to any event I wanted to see. I was in Jr High. It was very weird. Everyone was there to see the Monkees, as far as I know, nobody was there to see Hendrix. He came out and played the guitar with his teeth. He only played a song or two before kids were throwing things at him, things like pennys.
Ed Fesmire,
born and raised in Charlotte

Charlotte Limo said...

Nice videos, thanks for the sharing.

Chastity said...

This is great!

Anonymous said...

My step dad was an usher at that show and when he came back and headlined.

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