Why I’m Excited About The Beach Boys Tour

I’m not at all excited about the new Beach Boys album. People who’ve heard it have been saying good things about it — it’s the best since LA (Light Album), or the best since Holland apart from Love You — but frankly if you put out half an hour of me busking old Monkees songs on the banjo and having to keep stopping because I can’t remember the chords, that’d still be better than any Beach Boys album after 1979 (as opposed to Brian Wilson solo albums, which have occasionally hit greatness). And the snippets that we’ve heard (the single That’s Why God Made The Radio and a few seconds of Spring Vacation) have been, respectively, dull and whatthehellaretheythinkingmygodmakeitstop. I’ll get the album, and listen to it with an open mind, but I’m not excited.

The reunion tour, on the other hand…

THAT they seem to be doing right. Two thirds of the set is pretty much what you’d expect, all the hits, many of which I love (Good Vibrations, Don’t Worry Baby, many more), but almost as many of which I could quite happily never hear again (Barbara Ann, Kokomo, Be True To Your School).

But fully a third of the 45-song (and growing — it started as 42) setlist is the more artistic stuff, and as a proportion that’s growing daily. Which means that there is a good hour of the show dedicated to stuff like this:

THAT’S worth travelling to Italy for. Even if they do play bloody Barbara Ann.

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11 Responses to Why I’m Excited About The Beach Boys Tour

  1. Hal says:

    Bah bah bah bah Barbara Ann, Bah bah bah bah Barbara… Oops, I don’t know what happened there ;)
    From what you wrote it certainly seems worthwhile to go to the majesty of Italy to see the Beach Boys (tho’ even if I were not half-deaf, crowds and uh people don’t agree with me unfortunately, oh woe, etc!) and not only do you get the chance to hear some great songs – and, what, Hey Little Tomboy?! – played well (hopefully) but there’s always the possibility of Spinal Tap-like spontaneous combustion for Creepy Mike. Not an opportunity to pass up.
    I think you’ll do some good work with your Beach Boys Love You! review in the future, such a peculiar and at times perhaps-brilliant mixture of weird emotionalism, inappropriateness, naive art, awkward retardation, and off-kilter inspiration (and erm other stuff as well) Johnny Carson! Roller Skating Child! Let’s Put Our Hearts Together (urk)! I Wanna Pick You Up (jinkies!)! Plenty of material to bend your mind there.
    Oh, and I think you should take more opportunities to use your sense of humour -when appropriate -as you’re good with a zinger(I enjoyed your description of the 2nd new Beach Boys song’s effect on you). Hark! At my unsolicited suggestions! I’ll shut up now…

  2. rabensam says:

    Hearing that little bit of Bicycle Rider at the end of Heroes and Villains made me smile.

    I’m still worried about Brian, though. The weight he’s put on bothers me, and I wonder if it’s a side effect of the medication he’s on. I hope that whatever his needs are with exercise and such are being properly looked after. I mean, rationally speaking it’s unthinkable that they wouldn’t be, and I know his band are very protective of him…but this is a really demanding thing he’s doing.

    • Andrew Hickey says:

      He’s done far more demanding tours in the past — this averages about a show every day and a half, and he’s not having to do the whole show by himself like he does on his solo shows.

      As for his weight, there’s little to worry about. He’s had a very bad back for a number of months, now, and finds standing for long periods of time difficult (which is why he’s always shown sitting in group photos). This has made his posture change, so he looks fatter, and also made him unable to go jogging, which he used to do daily.

      Were I to worry about anyone, it’d be either Bruce Johnston (who had a heart op a few years back) or David Marks (who had hepatitis C for many years), both of whose general health has been worse than Brian’s for the last decade or so (from the information that’s been made public, of course).

      • rabensam says:

        I didn’t know about his back trouble, so (under the circumstances) I’m very glad to hear it!

  3. arkhonia says:

    Yeah, imagine if this tour killed Brian Wilson – leaving their legacy in the custody of Mike Love…?

    And they’re doing Kokomo you say?


  4. TAD says:

    It sounds like Al is singing Mike’s lead vocal part on “All This Is That.” He sounds good (when *doesn’t* Al sound good?), but it’s a shame Mike isn’t singing it. It isn’t a tricky or rangey vocal part either.

    • Andrew Hickey says:

      Mike and Al are doubled, but you can’t hear Mike very well in the mix. The night before’s performance ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l8bKGCsNMbE ) you can hear Mike but not Al, and in the Texas show (which I have the audio of, but no video link), the two voices blend so well that you’d swear it was one person singing but you couldn’t say from one syllable to the next if it was Mike or Al. The same goes for the “Carl” “two ways” part, for that matter — on some recordings it sounds like Darian on his own, while on others it sounds like it’s Brian on his own. I think it’s just the difficulty of balancing so many lead vocalists on that part — you’ve got Mike, Al, Brian, Darian and Jeff all singing ‘lead’.

      And doesn’t Foskett sound superb on those “jai guru dev”s? Some of the best singing I’ve ever heard from him. All This Is That is a bit of a nothing song, by by god it gives them a chance to shine vocally.

      • TAD says:

        Oh, I definitely agree about Foskett’s vocal in that end part. He nails it. His voice doesn’t always sit well in the mix (to my ears anyway……I prefer Matt Jardine’s falsetto), but he’s great on this song. I’ll check out the YouTube link you posted. I didn’t know Brian was singing on these live versions of All This Is That. On the version you have posted on this blog, I only hear Darian.

  5. TAD says:

    Where did you hear the snippet of Spring Vacation, by the way?

    • Andrew Hickey says:

      There’s a video (can’t remember the URL) which shows about 15 seconds of Brian and Mike in the studio pretending to record it (singing truly horribly while the track plays in the background). It’s pitifully bad.

      • TAD says:

        Well, it wouldn’t be the Beach Boys if there weren’t some embarassingly pitiful moments on the record. :P

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