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BEACH BOYS – Live – Burswood Dome, Perth, Western Australia 6 Sep 2012

| 18 September 2012 | Reply

BEACH BOYS – Live – Burswood Dome, Perth, Western Australia
Thursday 6th September 2012

By Shane Pinnegar

No less than nine musicians stand onstage amidst a dizzying array of string, percussion, key and wind instruments before the five (mostly) “original” Beach Boys were introduced one by one to the crowd, launching into a 3 hour cavalcade of hits and cover versions to celebrate the band’s 50th anniversary.


There are a few differences to the band since their last visit way out West five years ago, when they played to a few thousand in the grounds of the Perth Zoo.  In addition to the golden anniversary, they have a new album – That’s Why God Made The Radio, and it’s far better than anyone had the right to expect from these 70-ish year old guys.

Primarily though, the highlight of this tour is seeing cracked genius Brian Wilson back on stage with his Beach Boys after many years of communicating only through lawyers.

The architect of the band’s sound – perhaps of American surf music itself – didn’t look particularly comfortable being there, mind you.  Wilson’s fragility was obvious from amidst the throng of fans as he sometimes stared, glazed, into the middle distance, sometimes allowing a childish smile to cross his craggy face as he followed spotlights dancing across the roof.  He may be a tab of acid short of a six-pack, but his musical genius was still very much in evidence.

Wilson’s voice may not be perfect when left to tackle verses alone, but in fine “greater than the sum of their parts” form, when the whole gang team up on these lush, irresistible choruses, they have no peers, anywhere.

Mike Love – for a long time, almost Wilson’s nemesis – acts as ringmaster tonight, fittingly as it was him who kept the band name alive for the fallow years.  Taking lead on at least half of the 53-song set list, he cracks jokes and fronts a tremendous band of virtuosos who deliver a sumptuous, rich and layered sound that does great justice to most of Wilson’s lavishly written and produced classics.

The crowd were on their feet for the last few songs of the first half, well and truly warmed up by a setlist that proved a cleverly written ebbing and flowing of ballads and upbeat pop hits, before Love joked about heading offstage for a nap and a shiraz.

The second half was just as exciting as the first, with David Marx (who played on the first four Beach Boys albums before quitting the group in 1963, and rejoined in the late 90’s) leading the musos in a rocking instrumental before being joined by Love, Wilson, Al Jardine and Bruce Johnstone.

Wilson was at his most animated when introducing tributes to his late brothers Dennis and Carl, the band playing along to recorded vocals and video of the original Wilson brothers singing Forever and God Only Knows respectively, in a heartwarming tribute.

With Brian Wilson’s voice sounding more in tune and warmer during the second half, and the hits coming thick and fast, Sloop John B, Wouldn’t It Be Nice and newie That’s Why God Made The Radio were simply glorious celebrations of these magnificent voices and a time when life and songwriting was somehow simpler and, in many ways, better.

The run to the finish line was a simply superlative trawl through some of the best music of the last century – Good Vibrations got the crowd on its feet once more, Help Me Rhonda’s irrepressible melody did the same, Chuck Berry’s Rock n’ Roll Music  proved that scorching fretwork can go hand in hand with vibrant melodies and singalongs, Do You Wanna Dance and Surfin’ USA speak for themselves and prove that 50 suits The Beach Boys – they have more life and verve in them than most men a third of their age.

The band resumed their positions for a surprise run through Kokomo – their sole big hit without Brian Wilson involved, which stayed at number one in Australia for 2 months.

In another surprise, Wilson stepped out from behind his grand piano to don the bass guitar – his original instrument – for Barbara Ann.  Closing the show with Fun, Fun, Fun, The Beach Boys left the stage conquering heroes, and no doubt looking forward to another shiraz.  Triumphant.

Set List:

Do It Again
Little Honda
Catch A Wave
Hawaii
Don’t Back Down
Surfin’ Safari
Surfer Girl
You’re So Good To Me
This Whole World
Getcha Back
Wendy
Then I Kissed Her (The Crystals cover)
Kiss Me Baby
Isn’t It Time
Come Go With Me (The Del-Vikings cover)
Why Do Fools Fall In Love (Frankie Lymon cover)
When I Grow Up (To Be A Man)
Darlin’
Please Let Me Wonder
It’s OK
California
Disney Girls
Good Timin’
Cotton Fields (Leadbelly cover)
Be True To Your School
Don’t Worry Baby
Little Deuce Coupe
409
Shut Down
I Get Around

Pet Sounds
Add Some Music To Your Day
Sail On, Sailor
Heroes and Villains
I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times
California Dreamin’ (Mams & the Papas cover)
Sloop John B
Wouldn’t It Be Nice
That’s Why God Made The Radio
In My Room
All This Is That
Forever
God Only Knows
All Summer Long
Good Vibrations
California Girls
Help Me, Rhonda
Rock & Roll Music (Chuck Berry cover)
Do You Wanna Dance? (Bobby Freeman cover)
Surfin’ USA

Kokomo
Barbara Ann
Fun, Fun, Fun

Shane

Category: Live Reviews

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Editor, 100% ROCK MAGAZINE

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