In returning to the stage for his first solo U.S. tour in 21 years, singer-songwriter and part-time Monkees member Michael Nesmith demonstrated that his penchant for taking music above and beyond the norm remains fully intact.
Over the course of his nearly two-hour show Sunday at the Canyon Club in Agoura Hills, the 70-year-old musician and his four-piece band turned in 17 songs spanning more than 40 years. He started with “Papa Gene’s Blues,” a song from the Monkees’ 1966 debut album and which he described as “one of the first songs I ever wrote,” and reached as far forward as “Rays,” the title track from his most recent studio album, released in 2006.
Rather than just hopscotching through his considerable catalog of predominantly post-Monkees solo material, Nesmith stitched together a cohesive narrative with connective introductions for each song. “These songs play out like little movies in my head, so I’ll share those with you.”
It allowed him to link various songs, including his early solo hits “Joanne” and “Silver Moon,” as well as perhaps the most esoteric choices from his song book, three tracks from his 1974 “book-with-soundtrack,” “The Prison.”