Monday, June 4, 2012

50 Years of America's Band

Last night, my friend and I attended The Beach Boys 50th Anniversary Reunion Tour at the Verizon Wireless Ampitheater (formerly Irvine Meadows) in Orange County, CA. Being one of those California Girls, the music of The Beach Boys was a big part of my childhood as the actual soundtrack for our summer days down at San Onofre State Beach, so it was nostalgic and such a special treat to actually see "America's Band" live! The current band includes the still-living, founding members Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine, and David Marks (active with the BB in the early years), as well as Bruce Johnston who joined the group in the mid-'60s, and not to mention, a stellar group of supporting musicians who helped give these classic songs that "Wrecking Crew" studio quality. With the exception of select appearances, this is the first time since 1965 that Brian Wilson has toured with The Beach Boys, so it was extra meaningful for the fans to see the mastermind behind The Boys' sound. The evening was broken up into two parts: the first set consisted of The Beach Boys' early years of and the second featured their music released after 1965. As Wilson has mentioned this world tour is dedicated to the memory of his two brothers (and founding members) the late Dennis and Carl Wilson, there were two, touching moments when the band sang harmonies along with a video of Dennis on "Forever" and one with Carl on "God Only Knows" (a personal favorite). Performing over 40 songs, most of the hits were heard as well as some less known tunes, beauties from their influential Pet Sounds, and even their brand-new single, "That's Why God Made the Radio." Even 50 years after their debut, their performance still holds that distinct sound with those rich vocals harmonies and beautiful melodies. Although the audience was surprisingly mellow (maybe because of that smelly, smokey substance that apparently was making the rounds), the biggest crowd-pleasers were "Surfin' Sufari," "Be True to Your School," "Sloop John B," "Wouldn't It Be Nice," "California Girls," "Help Me, Rhonda," "Surfin' USA," "I Get Around," as well as a fun medley of their hot rod-related tunes, and an encore including "Kokomo," "Barbara Ann," and "Fun, Fun, Fun."  Here's the current touring lineup:

I was particularly looking forward to hearing "Good Vibrations" and it definitely lived up to my expectations; such an amazing composition. Another stand-out moment of the show was Bruce Johnston's impressive performance of "Disney Girls," a beautiful tune we wrote for the 1971 Surf's Up album. Also, an interesting surprise was the unannounced pre-show performance that featured several of the grown children of The Beach Boys including Carnie and Wendy Wilson (Brian Wilson's daughters) of the '90s female vocal group Wilson Phillips. Performing a few Beach Boys songs, their lovely vocal harmonies definitely carried the essence of their fathers' unique sound.

Here's my friend, Janay, and I posing by one of those beach cruisin' Woodies. And yes, I wear white boots to all my concerts.

And of course, keeping true to this blog, we've got to throw in a few tunes from back in their heyday. Live in 1964, here's that memorable ballad "Surfer Girl" (you know, that song I thought was written for 7-year-old me).

And another from that same TV appearance, here's some more "Fun Fun Fun!"

Thank you to The Beach Boys for a special night of music we'll never forget!


  1. The new Album comes out in a month and i think it will do so much better than their last effort, Summer in Paradise.They are on tour at the moment in the USA and tickets are cheap .. They sound really really good for a band where all the members are around 70 years old.

    1. Thanks for the info. In fact, their new album just came out today and it's the top-selling CD on!