Teen Idols In Concert

Sally CarpenterThe Baffled Beatlemaniac CaperSally Carpenter is a native Hoosier now living in Moorpark, Calif. She has a master’s degree in theater from Indiana State University. While in school two of her plays, “Star Collector” and “Common Ground,” were finalists in the American College Theater Festival One-Act Playwrighting Competition.

Carpenter also has a master’s degree in theology and a black belt in tae kwon do. She’s worked as an actress, freelance writer, college writing instructor, theater critic, jail chaplain and tour guide/page for a major movie studio—now employed at a community newspaper.

She’s a member of Sisters in Crime/Los Angeles and “mom” to two black cats. Contact her at Facebook or scwriter@earthlink.net. SandyFairfax.com is under construction.

The Baffled Beatlemaniac Caper is an Eureka! Award finalist for best first mystery novel. Sandy Fairfax is a 38-year-old former teen idol and star of the ‘70s TV show “Buddy Brave, Boy Sleuth.” A guest appearance at a Beatles fan convention turns deadly when a member of the tribute band is shot. When the police finger Sandy as the chief suspect, the boy sleuth is back in action to find the killer. The book is available in trade paper, Kindle and Nook at amazon.com , Barnes & Noble,  and http://oaktreebooks.com.

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Warning: Reading this post may cause swooning, heart palpitations or deep sighing.

Among the inspirations that lead to my cozy mystery series about a former ‘70s teen idol turned amateur sleuth were many Monkees concerts I had attended over the years. (After I reached more than forty shows, I decided I needed to get a life). I’d like to share some of these adventures as well as photos I took during the shows.

Bobby

Bobby

I came into fandom late in life so my first concert was during the Teen Idols Tour with Davy Jones, Bobby Sherman and Peter Noone. I caught the show in Burlington, Iowa, in 1998 during the annual Steamboat Days Festival. The audience was mostly middle-aged women—as the performers had aged, so had their fans! The idols were in their 50s but still looked and sounded great.

The fest was an outdoor carnival with rides, vendors, an open-air stage and plenty of gnats. A number of Monkees fans had arrived from various states. A local fan had found out the hotel where the band was staying, so we all booked our rooms there. We spotted Davy eating in the restaurant, standing in the lobby, and even swimming in the indoor pool.

Someone took a photo of the fans and sent it to Davy, who placed the picture on page 389 of his autobiography “Davy Jones: Daydream Believin’.” In the photo I’m standing in the back row wearing a Monkees baseball cap.

Micky

Micky

Flash forward to 2001 at a Monkees concert with Davy, Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork in Anaheim, Calif. A video crew recorded the show and released it as the “Monkees Live Summer Tour” DVD. During two of the encore numbers I’m visible in the audience, still wearing that same cap! (yes, I do occasionally take it off).

The photo of Bobby Sherman is from the Teen Idols Tour in 1999 in Manchester, Tenn., at the Itchycoo Park Festival, a four-day Woodstock-type event for middle-aged baby boomers with vintage ‘60s and ‘70s groups playing continuously for four days.

The teen idols were scheduled to play at 8:30 p.m. Saturday but fans began showing up at the front gates at 7 a.m. The management let them in before the official opening and the women quickly staked their territory in front of the stage. My friends and I took turns holding our turf while the others got food and walked around. When the show started, we stood up against a low wall set up about four feet from the front of the stage.

Right before the idols started their set, a bunch of security guards lined up in front of the stage. Did they really think the fans would climb over the wall and jump up on stage to grab the guys?

Davy Courtesy Acorn Newspapers

Davy Courtesy Acorn Newspapers

To reach the stage Bobby, the first performer, walked through the audience (flanked by more security guards, of course). The crowd made way for him like the parting of the Red Sea. When he reached the stage, he only sang four songs. Most of the time he talked to the fans and accepted gifts. The women lining the wall handed him flowers, stuffed animals and even a scrapbook of photos.

One more observation about Itchycoo: during the festival I noticed a sweet smell in the air. We came back the next day and while I was sitting in the audience, the guy sitting next to me smoked a joint—and he wasn’t the only one. In spite of the security guards, nobody got busted. The day was hot and when a shirtless guy doused himself with a jug of water, we bid farewell to Itchycoo Park.

Micky

Micky

Two of the photos are from a Micky and Davy show at the Disney California Adventure theme park in Anaheim. After the 9/11 attacks in 2001 the SoCal tourist trade fell off. To attract guests, Disney held a promotion where local residents could get in at a reduced rate and enjoy a free concert to boot. The outdoor stage was on the side of a man-made lake. The “backstage”  faced the water and the performers could arrive only by boat.

I didn’t realize when I was taking pictures that the sky was a perfect light blue and provided a great backdrop for the performers.

The final photo is Micky at the Liverpool Days Beatles fan convention in Pasadena, 2002 (which gave me the idea of setting my book at a similar event). On stage Micky sat on a stool and talked to the fans. I was standing up against the stage along with a number of other fans and got some nice close-ups of him.

Please share your encounters with teen idols!