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Michael Nesmith shows emotion in his return to Houston

September 8, 2018

Michael Nesmith, who played the Heights Theater Friday night, has often projected a certain .... not distance or indifference, but maybe forward-looking impassivity? So to see tears run down the face of this former Monkee during a three-song solo mini-set (“Propinquity,” “Different Drum,” “Papa Gene’s Blues”) in the middle of a concert spotlighting his brilliant and under-heard years with his First National Band was almost disarming. One has to wonder if Nesmith is doing a reverse-Dylan: He used to not care but things have changed. Or doubling back to the paragraphs above and to use his own words, “I’ve just begun to care.”

Here’s the short version of what happened Friday night: Nesmith played a set largely drawn from the three albums he made with his post-Monkees First National Band between 1970 and 1973. The First National Band Redux (as billed on tour shirts) on stage was a nimble creature, which the music required: They sounded tight when necessary, but were also true to the original’s looseness. Nesmith told a long story mid-show about how the First National Band really sparked into being when he got his pedal steel guitarist, the late great Red Rhodes, to trade cigarettes for weed.

The Houston native said it was good to be home, but also reminded the audience that he didn’t grow up here.

For the long version, read this review at HoustonChronicle.com, which gets into how Nesmith is doing after major surgery earlier this year, and with music that doesn’t seem to have aged.

andrew.dansby@chron.com

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