The Beach Boys
09 July 2012
Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Morrison, CO
What very unexpectedly great news it was to hear the announcement of the Beach Boys 50th Anniversary reunion, with founding members Brian Wilson and Alan Jardine rejoining Mike Love, in tandem with long-time member Bruce Johnston and their lead guitarist in the early 1960s, David Marks. And, despite an unbelievable history of lawsuits and bad vibrations over the years, all five of the above members now seem to be getting along better than ever.
On the heels of their first all-new studio release in 20 years, the critically impressive That's Why God Made The Radio, the five Beach Boys, along with a backing band of nine other musicians/singers, have embarked on a tour of sold out dates.
Tonight they played fifty-one (51) songs, thus leaving few in the audience anything short of completely satisfied.
The below list of songs speaks for itself in terms of the impressiveness of their catalog:
Mike Love's voice has matured over 50 years, but is still strong in signature and likeability. Mike didn't hog the lead vocal microphone for the night, and in fact handed off "Getcha Back" to David Marks.
Alan Jardine was perhaps the most impressive on vocals, easily handling "Come Go With Me", "Help Me Rhonda", "Cotton Fields", and others.
Bruce Johnston's chops are as strong as ever, stealing the moment with the self-penned "Disney Girls".
Brian Wilson started off the show seemingly shy on his vocal strength, but really, really came to life during "Sail On Sailor". Occasionally during the show he would cheer on his band mates by yelling out, "Let's hear it for.....".
Make no mistake about it, the high harmony of backing guitarist/vocalist Jeffrey Foskett is the critical piece to completing the vocal blend--and he capably handled the lead vocal parts that Brian can't quite reach these days.
Overall, the backing band proved themselves remarkably competent. This band, by the way, included former Cowsills member John Cowsill (and husband of The Bangles' Vicki Peterson), on drums.
The band false-started on the somewhat complex "Heroes And Villains", after which Mike Love sheepishly announced, "Take Two!"
Pleasantly surprising additions to the setlist included the Love/Jardine composition "All This Is That", "Please Let Me Wonder", and "This Whole World".
The large video screen backdrop was a brilliant addition to the music, especially when playing old video tracks of late Wilson brothers Dennis and Carl singing "Forever" and "God Only Knows", accompanied by tonight's band fully backing their vocal performances. Very, very touching.
Despite the impressive success of their new studio album, the band performed only two tracks from the CD, namely the title track and "Isn't It Time". I personally think "Spring Vacation" is a standout track that belongs in the show.
The Beach Boys appear to have finally found the right managers to a) harness their talents, b) complete their sound with the right augmentation of musicians/singers, and c) do so in a cohesive, cooperative manner between the key members.
This was a once-in-50-years moment!
[****1/2] - Steven T.
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