On tour, celebrating the 50th anniversary release of their album ‘Wild Honey,’ the iconic California band warmed up the audience with a host of all-time favorites from ‘Wouldn’t It Be Nice?’ to ‘Sloop John B’ and ‘Surfin’ USA’ before ending the concert with a flurry of fast-moving hits including ‘Good Vibrations,’ ‘Fun, Fun, Fun’ and ‘Help Me, Rhonda’ that brought an enthusiastic audience to their feet to scurry down the center aisle for a bit of boogying stage-front.
Dressed in a colorful, eye-catching shirt and baseball cap, a bearded Mike Love, 76, singer and the group’s co-founder, led the evening’s proceedings with between-songs chitchat, one of his more interesting anecdotes involving his trip to Rishikesh in India in early 1968 with the Beatles and other pop idols to visit the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, founder of Transcendental Meditation. A screen behind him showed a much younger Love chatting leisurely with Harrison, McCartney, Donovan and Co. In memory of that event, he sang his own dedicated composition, ‘Pisces Brothers.’
A succession of images on the screen throughout the two-and-a-half-hour concert illustrated the evolution of The Beach Boys, from high-school band, The Pendletones, to the worldwide chart-topping success they became. Surf-boards and golden beaches were plentiful, of course, as were beautiful bikini-clad young ladies, swaying palm trees and transistor radios – all symbolic of joyous, endless, ideal summers. ‘60s nostalgia seekers would have bathed warmly in the innocent shots of the boyish, prim-and-proper looking musicians in striped shirts looking somewhat surprised by the rapturous response from young, mainly female, concert goers. As for iconic sports cars, the band performed a set dedicated only to them from their 1963 album, ‘Little Deuce Coupe,’ including ‘409,’ named after a Chevrolet brand dubbed ‘Turbo-Fire.’
Grammy song-writing winner, Bruce Johnston on key-boards, who boasted his grandparents were from Armagh in northern Ireland, displayed his lyric writing abilities with his solo, ‘Disney Girls’ while Jeffrey Foskett showed he can still hit the high notes, singing his stylish renditions of ‘Don’t Worry Baby,’ ‘Wouldn’t It Be Nice’ and ‘Why Do Fools Fall In Love.’
Formed in Hawthorne, California in 1961, The Beach Boys are one of the most successful pop bands of all time. In a career spanning five-decades and 30 studio albums, they have sold over 100 million records worldwide. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988, and in 2001 received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
In addition to some of the original Beach Boys – Carl Wilson sadly passed away in 1998 and an on-screen tribute during the concert showed him singing ‘God Only Knows’ – other musicians contributed to a most entertaining evening. John Cowsill, dynamic on drums and voice, delivered a rousing performance of ‘Cotton Fields’ while Jeffrey Foskett, Scott Totten and Randy Leago provided excellent sax, guitar and keyboard back-up and solos. An added dimension to the concert was a fine a cappella performance of ‘Their Hearts Were Full of Spring’ by Love, Johnston, Brian Eichenberger and Totten.