Archive for the ‘Brian Wilson’ Category

Brian Wilson Times Square Newcastle 6 August 2017

Support from: Seasick Steve and Martha Reeves

wilson tix

     I hate printed tickets

When I was growing up in the 1960s, there were three singles which stood out for me. Each one was a defining moment. When I heard each of these singles, I stopped doing whatever I was doing and listened intently to the music and the lyrics. Each of these three songs sounded completely new, completely different; as if they had come from another dimension, another planet, some other place. The sound, the lyrics, the music and the mood were all so special to me and remain so until this day. The records were: “Like a Rolling Stone” by Bob Dylan, “Strawberry Fields” by the Beatles and “Good Vibrations” by The Beach Boys. “Good Vibrations” later became widely acclaimed as one of the finest and most important works of the rock era (Wikipedia). So going to see Brian Wilson, the genius behind the last of these three singles is always special.

The other thing that I think is worthy of mention here, and of consideration, is a question. There are, in effect, two versions of the Beach Boys touring. Which one is the genuine article? There is Brian Wilson, the driving force and genius behind the early Beach boys and all those great hitswho is touring with, original Beach Boys guitarist Al Jardine, and The Beach Boys touring band which is fronted by original member Mike Love and Bruce Johnston, who joined the band in 1965 when Brian Wilson stopped touring. Now Mike Love wrote the lyrics to “Good Vibrations” while Brian Wilson composed the music and they were both original members of the band. But many people believe without any of the Wilson brothers, there is no Beach Boys.


Source Wikimediacommons Dr Bertrande

Not too many years ago, I went to see the Mike Love touring version of The Beach Boys with Marie at York racecourse. The band played after the horseracing and Marie and I stayed in a lovely hotel directly opposite the racecourse. The Beach Boys played all the hits, and did a pretty good job of doing so, and it was a pleasurable evening (although we did lose on every race). But something was missing. Without Brian, and the true genius of the band, for me The Beach Boys are not complete. I also saw The Beach Boys in the 1970s when Carl and Dennis Wilson were both alive, and Brian was not touring at the time, and they were tremendous. So I think there is a place for both bands, but saying that Brian Wilson is something special; he is the genius behind this band and carries with him the soul and essence of The Beach Boys.

Anyway, to the concert. David, Shauna, Laura, my carer Alan and I all went along to this Brian Wilson concert which took place in Times Square Newcastle, an open-air venue at the Centre For Life. The support acts were pretty strong in the form of soul legend Martha Reeves, and country blues icon Seasick Steve. It was a very rainy day, so to our shame, we decided to miss out on the support acts, stayed dry, and turn up just in time for Brian Wilson’s set. When we did arrive, we were a little squashed on the disabled platform but managed to squeeze in. Brian Wilson’s set was in three segments. He started with some great Beach Boys classics: “California Girls” followed by another of my all-time favourites “I Get Around” and several other classics.

PetSoundsCoverThen we were treated to the album Pet Sounds in its entirety.  Promoted as “the most progressive pop album ever“, Pet Sounds attracted recognition for its ambitious recording and sophisticated music. “It is widely considered to be among the most influential albums in the history of music” (Abjorensen, 2017). The opening song “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” is a classic and great favourite of mine. Other standouts from the album are “Sloop John B”, “God Only Knows” and the closing song “Caroline, No”. Brian closed the set with another segment of Beach Boy hits including the aforementioned “Good Vibrations” (the theremin still gets me), “Barbara Ann” (which I remember being a big favourite of mine and my friends at the time it came out; we all sang it again and again in the play yard), “Help Me, Rhonda”, back to the very start and “Surfing USA”, another great favourite of mine “Fun, Fun, Fun” and they closed with “Love and Mercy”,  the opening track to Brian’s 1988 debut solo album.

wilson prog

My programme

Brian has assembled a great band around him and the songs sound as authentic as the originals. We all really enjoyed the concert, and had a great evening; although Laura was a little on edge and on the phone constantly to Dale as this was the first time she had left Phoebe’s side, as Phoebe was only four weeks old at the time. A lovely evening spent with family and in the presence of a true genius. We are looking forward to going to see Brian Wilson again at the Sage Gateshead in June 2021 post (we hope) coronavirus. Roll on “the new normal”.

Setlist: California Girls; Dance, Dance, Dance; I Get Around; Darlin’; Surfer Girl; Don’t Worry Baby;    Wild Honey; Sail On, Sailor.

Pet Sounds: Wouldn’t It Be Nice; You Still Believe in Me; That’s Not Me; Don’t Talk (Put Your Head on My Shoulder); I’m Waiting for the Day; Let’s Go Away for Awhile; Sloop John B; God Only Knows; I Know There’s an Answer; Here Today; I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times; Pet Sounds; Caroline, No.

Good Vibrations; Barbara Ann; Help Me, Rhonda; Surfin’ U.S.A.; Fun, Fun, Fun; Love and Mercy

Abjorensen, Norman (2017). Historical Dictionary of Popular Music. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. p. 40. ISBN 978-1-5381-0215-2.




Brian Wilson Newcastle City Hall 6th March 2004

Brian Wilson Newcastle City Hall 6th March 2004
briantix2004No support.
I didn’t think I would ever get to see Brian Wilson in concert. I’d seen the Beach Boys twice in the early 1970s, but on both occasions Brian was not in the band. At one of the concerts, at Wembley Stadium, Brian was there backstage and I think he may have come on stage to say “hello” to the crowd. But he had not actually played with the band for some years.
Then in the late 1990s the impossible happened. Brian Wilson put a band together and starting to play concerts. Those who saw him, reviewers and fans alike, were ecstatic and unanimous in praise for the man and his music. It is easy to use the word “genius”; we probably do so too often, but in the case of Brian Wilson, the term is true and well-deserved.
I got my first chance to see Brian Wilson when he came to Newcastle City Hall in March 2004. We (me, Marie, David and Laura) went along. We all wanted to see this. It was the “Smile” tour and consisted of a Beach Boys greatest hits set, followed by the legendary “Smile” album played in its entirety.
brianprogrammeBrian Wilson had assembled a large band of first class musicians and vocalists to help him recreate the Beach Boys music and their lush harmonies. And they did so, faultlessly. This was a long show, but the pace and the pure class of the music and the performance didn’t let up for a moment. It was great to see Brian on stage, a few feet in front of us, looking and sounding great. Most of the Smile album was unfamiliar to me, but that didn’t matter. An amazing concert, and the first of a few visits by Brian to the UK. And during the encore, they played my favourite songs: “Do It Again” and “I Get Around”. It really doesn’t get much better 🙂
First Set: And Your Dream Comes True; In My Room; Hawaii; Please Let Me Wonder; All Summer Long; Good Timin’; You’re Welcome; Sloop John B; God Only Knows; Time to Get Alone; Soul Searchin’; California Girls; Dance, Dance, Dance; Darlin’; City Blues; Marcella
Brian Wilson Presents SMILE: Our Prayer/Gee; Heroes and Villains; Roll Plymouth Rock; Barnyard; Old Master Painter / You Are My Sunshine; Cabinessence; Wonderful; Look (Song for Children); Child Is Father of the Man; Surf’s Up; I’m in Great Shape / I Wanna Be Around / Workshop; Vega-Tables; On a Holiday; Wind Chimes; Mrs. O’Leary’s Cow; In Blue Hawaii; Good Vibrations
Encore: Do It Again; I Get Around; Help Me, Rhonda; Barbara Ann; Surfin’ U.S.A.; Fun, Fun, Fun
Encore 2: Love and Mercy

Brian Wilson The Sage Gateshead 10 September 2011

Brian Wilson The Sage Gateshead 10 September 2011
We’d been hesitating for some time as to whether to go to see Brian Wilson on this tour. Although we’d all gone as a family to his last couple of shows at the City Hall and the Sage, we hadn’t fancied the “Brian Wilson reimagines Gershwin” concept. However, as the evening of the show arrived I decided that I couldn’t pass up on another chance of seeing the genuis who gave us all those great Beach Boys songs. Laura was in two minds whether to come with me, but in the end decided not to bother. I’d seen that there were still tickets available so I went along to the Sage and bought myself a ticket near the back of the hall. I arrived just in time for the start of the show. The first half of the concert was, as promised, the entire new album: “Brian Wilson reimagines Gershwin”; and it was pretty good actually. Imagine those great Gershwin songs with Beach Boys harmonies, a rock n roll beat, and strings. Quite enjoyable and just about the right lenght; not too long so that I got bored with it. Brian’s band of around eight players is, as always, excellent, and tonight they were accompanied by a local four piece string section.
Although I first thought that the Gershwin idea was pretty odd, I know think its a great idea, and the treatment of the songs is much, much better than I ever expected.
After a short interval, Brian and the band returned to delight the crowd with all those great hits. Brian seemed more talkative than on previous tours, and his voice also seemed a little stronger. He took lead vocals on most of the songs, with a couple of other members of the band doing the honours on a few of the songs.
God only knows, Good vibrations, and Wouldn’t it be nice are all landmark songs; but my favourite is Do it Again, which seems to bring back happy teenage memories for me. By the end of the evening, everyone was on their feet, with lots of dancing going on.
A great evening. Glad I decided to go after all.
First Set: Rhapsody In Blue (Intro); The Like In I Love You; Summertime; I Loves You, Porgy; I Got Plenty O’ Nuttin’; It Ain’t Necessarily So; ‘S Wonderful; They Can’t Take That Away From Me; Love Is Here To Stay; I’ve Got a Crush on You; I Got Rhythm; Someone To Watch Over Me; Nothing But Love
Second Set: California Girls; Dance Dance Dance; Catch A Wave; Surfer Girl; Please Let Me Wonder; “Mary Had A Little Lamb”; You’re So Good To Me; The Little Girl I Once Knew; Salt Lake City; Don’t Worry Baby; Do You Wanna Dance?; Do It Again; Darlin’; I Get Around; Sail On Sailor; Pet Sounds; Sloop John B; Wouldn’t it Be Nice; God Only Knows; Heroes and Villains; Good Vibrations
First Encore: Johnny B Goode; Help Me Rhonda; Barbara Ann; Surfin’ USA; Fun Fun Fun
Second Encore: All Summer Long Encore


flyer for manchester show

Brain Wilson website

Brian Wilson Sage Gateshead July 12th 2009

Brian Wilson Sage Gateshead July 12th 2009

Review by Laura

The “Beach Boys” were one of the bands I was raised on, I particularly remember listening to “Good Vibrations” and “Surfing USA” on a sixties compilation cd we had in the car and their Christmas album remains a family festive favourite. It wasn’t however until I was 13 when I began to learn a little more about the band’s history and after watching a documentary on television, I became particularly fascinated with Brian Wilson’s own story. I loved the fact that he’d been through so many hard times and yet was the last remaining Wilson brother to tell the tail. For a while I was slightly obsessed with the man, I bought his albums, DVD’s and watched any television programme he appeared on.
I saw Brian for the first time on the “Smile” tour at the City Hall a couple of years ago and was absolutely mesmerised by him. As well as him performing better than I’d expected I was also a little in awe of his very presence. To be honest, he could have just walked on stage and clapped his hands a couple of times, that would have been enough; just the fact that he was there, despite his troubled past was certainly something.

When dad told me he was to play the Sage, I jumped at the chance to see him again. So last Sunday David, dad, mam and I drove to Gateshead. There was just enough time for me to buy a t-shirt and for dad to purchase a programme (which included a signed single) before we took our seats up in the gods of the auditorium.
We didn’t have long to wait before Brian and his band took to the stage. They began with “Our Prayer”, an intricate accapello number which immediately demonstrated the band’s precision. The crowd began clapping and singing along when the band burst seamlessly into “California Girls” and after this the hits kept coming. Occasionally Brian invited one of the band to sing a number, most notably “Don’t Worry Baby” a personal favourite of mine which was sung very well by some chap called Jeff.
I think that Brian was singing and playing perhaps even better than last time I saw him, his backing band were wonderful as always and Brian also appeared more talkative than usual. He kept thanking the audience for coming and telling us stories about the songs he performed. He and his musicians seemed to be really enjoying themselves which rubbed off on the crowd.
After a performance of “DO it Again” there was a short interval in which we all got ice creams; (incidentally the Sage do very tasty ice-creams indeed, I’d recommend the double ginger flavour.) Once fed, we all retook our seats and the second set began. Once again Brian and the band played their way through a long list of old favourites, pausing between numbers to chat to the crowd. The highlights of this half included “When I grow up”, “Wouldn’t it be Nice” and “God Only Knows”. The set finished with a version of “Good Vibrations” and it was nice to hear Brian singing the lyrics from the single as aposed to the words sung on the “Smile” version which he has favoured in past performances.
The band returned for two sets of encores which included two more personal favourites “Fun Fun Fun” and “Help me Rhonda” which got a great reception. We all agreed it had been a great night.

I was rather disappointed when the following day I heard a caller to BBC 6 Music state that he’d seen Brian Wilson recently and he was little more than a bumbling incapable shell of his past self. I’d strongly disagree with this claim. Although it is evident that the impressive group of singers and musicians behind Brian somewhat carry him through the show, his own singing is still strong, he seems to really love the songs he performs and after all you are seeing a musical legend in the flesh. I couldn’t recommend this concert more highly.

First Half:
Our Prayer
California Girls
Girl Don’t Tell Me
Dance Dance Dance
Happy Birthday Sue (Levinson)
Surfer Girl
In My Room
Salt Lake City
Custom Machine
Soul Searchin’
Desert Drive
Don’t Worry Baby
Row Your Boat
I Get Around
Sail On Sailor
Do You Wanna Dance
Do It Again

Second Half:

You Keep A Knockin’
Then I Kissed Her
Your Imagination
Add Some Music To Your Day
When I Grow Up
All Summer Long
Little Deuce Coupe
The Little Girl I Once Knew
Sloop John B
Wouldn’t It Be Nice
God Only Knows
Midnight’s Another Day
That Lucky Old Sun
Goin’ Home
Southern California
Good Vibrations

You Keep A Knockin’ (again, because Brian likes it!)
Johnny B Goode
Help Me Rhonda
Barbara Ann
Surfin’ USA
Fun Fun Fun

Love and Mercy