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Author Topic: anyone see BW in late 70s?  (Read 7089 times)
punkinhead
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« on: March 19, 2006, 07:09:41 PM »

Did anyone see him with the rest of the guys in the late 70s? i would love to hear how he did & what he did. ive always wondered about that quote "looked like a performing circus bear." what did they play at these shows? any MIU/LA material?
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« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2006, 07:13:35 PM »

There's one video I've seen, and it wasn't good. It's from 1977, and you can see Mike yelling at Brian and jumping up and down while the band is playing the intro to "Back Home". Brian starts freaking out, and he slaps his bass. Really sad to see.
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punkinhead
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« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2006, 07:25:32 PM »

ah man, that sucks
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"Someone needs to tell Adrian Baker that imitation isn't innovation." -The Real Beach Boy

~post of the century~
"Well, you reached out to me too, David, and I'd be more than happy to fill Bgas's shoes. You don't need him anyway - some of us have the same items in our collections as he does and we're also much better writers. Spoiled brat....."
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"in this online beach boy community, I've found that you're either correct or corrected. Which in my mind is all in good fun to show ones knowledge of their favorite band."- punkinhead
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« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2006, 08:08:31 PM »

Dude, that is messed up.
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Third Coast
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« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2006, 08:44:24 PM »

This is the period when I saw the group the most.  Usually, Brian was as you've heard:  playing at the piano and singing only "Sloop John B" and the middle eight of "Surfer Girl," wandering on and off stage, etc. The one major exception was in the spring of 1978 when they played Houston as part of the "Almost Summer" grinder quickie tour, and Brian was the most energetic I've ever seen him:  playing bass for a good part of the show, in shorts and a Hawaiian shirt and dancing in place (just moving his legs up and down, really) in the middle of the stage.  There's a photo in Leaf's book that looks like it's from this show or about that time.  A video exists of the concert, too, since The Summit (the venue) taped all of its rock shows.
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c-man
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« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2006, 08:47:56 PM »

There's one video I've seen, and it wasn't good. It's from 1977, and you can see Mike yelling at Brian and jumping up and down while the band is playing the intro to "Back Home". Brian starts freaking out, and he slaps his bass. Really sad to see.
Yeah, Brian was really messed up at that show...January '77.  I don't think Mike bothered Brian too much, though.   At the end of the show, Brian takes the mic and walks to the front of the stage to make a special mention of Mike, who earlier had introduced everyone else in the band.  Brian calls Mike "the main man", but Mike says it's Brian who's the main man.

Anyway, I saw Brian with the Boys in July '79.  Bruce had just returned and Dennis was absent.  They played "Roller Skating Child", "Shortenin' Bread", "Good Timin", "Sumahama", and "Lady Lynda".  I've got a soundboard or two from a couple months earlier where they also do "Peggy Sue".  Brian was fairly thin, and looked in pretty good shape physically, although he was chain-smoking cigarettes.  He played the white grand piano, sang lead on "Sloop", left the stage for a few songs in the middle (including "Heroes" and "Surfer Girl"), played the white electric piano on "Rhonda" (for which he showed the only enthusiasm of the show, bobbing his head up and down with the music), and that's about it.  I remember his hair blowing in the slight breeze and thinking "wow, the same breeze that's hitting me is hitting him...".  I felt honored!  Honset.

C-Man
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Third Coast
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« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2006, 08:56:20 PM »

A good friend somehow got into the soundcheck of a New York show about this period. Brian sat in about the fifth row while the group went through the check onstage They were about to try "In My Room" when Bruce asked, "Brian, I never can remember. Is it 'there's a place where I can go' or 'there's a world?'"  Brian called back out of the side of his mouth, "There's a world." 
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punkinhead
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« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2006, 09:43:48 PM »

that's a really interesting story
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"Someone needs to tell Adrian Baker that imitation isn't innovation." -The Real Beach Boy

~post of the century~
"Well, you reached out to me too, David, and I'd be more than happy to fill Bgas's shoes. You don't need him anyway - some of us have the same items in our collections as he does and we're also much better writers. Spoiled brat....."
-Mikie

"in this online beach boy community, I've found that you're either correct or corrected. Which in my mind is all in good fun to show ones knowledge of their favorite band."- punkinhead
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« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2006, 03:48:54 AM »

I saw him perform with the Boys in either 80 or 81 in Washington DC (the mall concert for 4th of July) and Brian sang God Only Knows (Carl was absent for some reason) as well as Sloop John B.
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« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2006, 04:50:52 AM »

I saw him perform with the Boys in either 80 or 81 in Washington DC (the mall concert for 4th of July) and Brian sang God Only Knows (Carl was absent for some reason) as well as Sloop John B.
That would've been '81...Carl sat out the Beach Boys from April through the following April ('82) due to his solo career and to protest the BBs lack of interest in theirs.  Carl had his own band and played a club tour, as well as opening for the Doobies at larger venues.  Brian was forced to handle the lead vocals on "Good Vibes" and "GOK".  That DC concert you saw was broadcast on FM and copies are traded, as well as video from the next days' show in Long Beach (which was televised live on ABC).  These shows are widely regarded as the nadir of Brian's live work.

C-Man
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Third Coast
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« Reply #10 on: March 20, 2006, 06:32:05 AM »

that's a really interesting story
It was the way he said it.  Probably better told in person.
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NHC
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« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2006, 08:18:31 AM »

I didn't get to see "The Return" at Oakland July '76 (do have Joel Selvin's SF Chronicle review) but was there at the Coliseum sitting on second base for the '78 "Day On The Green" (Norton Buffalo, Elvin Bishop. Dolly Parton and Linda Ronstadt also on the bill).  Wasn't sure what to expect or even if Brian would be there.  He was.  So was Carl, with a leg in a cast. Brian didn't do very well and the crowd was not forgiving, specifically on "In My Room" and wasn't buying Mike's valiant story that "cousin Bri has a bad case of laryngitis".  Overall wasn't the greatest show, either, for ongoing reasons the history books had yet to chronicle. But at least I finally got to see my hero Brian Wilson after a 15-year wait.  That was it for the '70's, then we caught them again at Oakland January 1981 as part of  Joan Baez's Cambodian refugee benefit, with the Jefferson Airplane, Santana and Grateful Dead.  We were close to the stage, near the end where Brian was set up at a piano. He didn't look too bad  and as far as I remember did OK.  We saw Carl at the Old Waldorf in San Francisco the next year, then saw the Boys almost every year after in SF (Candlestick Park/SF Giants), Sacramento, Mountain View and Santa Rosa, before moving overseas to the Western Pacific Islands in 1991.  Through all those shows, i think the only one Brian was at was Candelstick Park in '83 and he did a good job. I remember how bummed I'd be, waiting to see if Brian came out with the band, then seeing someone else walk over to the piano.  Not that I ever minded seeing Billy Hinsche or someone on stage, but man, i wanted to see Brian Wilson!  It took moving to Houston in 2003 and seeing the Smile shows here and Grand Prairie to finally accomplish that, and all I can say is it was worth the wait.
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Bubba Ho-Tep
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« Reply #12 on: March 20, 2006, 08:41:53 AM »

The mic slap thing was weird. I’m not sure if Mike was yelling at him or psyching him up. I translated Brian’s twitch into him making a joke that he was getting shocked by the microphone, which he breaks free from and then slaps it. He then proceeds to sing the worst version of “Back Home” ever heard. Revenge against Mike? Who knows. He seems generally happy at this particular show. In fact, it is Carl who acts like a real a-hole during the show. Everytime the camera is on him, he either points for it to shoot someone else, or he shakes his head no in a mean, menacing way. Yeah, these Wilson brothers were a bunch of loons.
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Alan Boyd
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« Reply #13 on: March 20, 2006, 12:08:05 PM »

That show at the Houston Summit 4/78 was indeed videotaped - the clip of "In My Room" in Malcolm Leo's "American Band" documentary comes from that show, as well as a shot of Brian dancing around onstage that I included in the "Brian's Back" segment in ENDLESS HARMONY.  That tape was also the source of the "You Are So Beautiful" intro in "American Band."

The audio that Malcolm Leo used for the "In My Room" clip was NOT actually from that show, however - the audio on the master tape for that Summit show is pretty bad.

I was there for that 1978 concert in Oakland.  Not one of their better shows, and the sound system was awful - sounded like a transistor radio badly miked and turned up to the level of a jet engine at close range.  Brian DID have laryngitis that afternoon.

Alan
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NHC
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« Reply #14 on: March 20, 2006, 01:23:26 PM »

Alan, you're right about the sound and the voice at '78 Day On the Green.  Brian clearly was suffering from a bad throat and the sound got its own bad review.  Joel Selvin said in his review of the 4th of July '76 show that the one sour note of the day was the sound system the Boys brought and insisted on using, instead of Bill Graham's state of the art outdoor stadium set-up.  In Selvin's words, it sounded like a transistor radio turned up very loud.  That seemed to be a problem at other BB shows as well, including at least one at Candelstick Park, although there the wind was always so bad it was difficult to catch the sound anyway as it went blowing past.  i recall one there in 1984  where you could tell Carl couldn't even hear his own monitor because of it and was havng a terrible time keeping in sync.  He kept looking around with this frantic, mystified look on his face - but the old pro pulled it off.  Cost Willie Mays about 150 home runs, too. My only point about Mike's comment to the crowd about Brian's voice in '78 was that the crowd didn't care even though it was true.  They saw it, unfortunately, as an excuse, and booed  mightily in response.  Oh well, it was late in the day and everyone was tired.  Question for Alan or Les Chan or anyone else who was there - did they do anything from Love You or the upcoming MIU?  I don't recall that they did???  Maybe a couple from 15 Big Ones other than "It's OK"??  I've been a fan since the beginning but my concert experience is the late 70's through the 80's and i missed the best 70's period,  the pre-Endless Summer days, I'm afraid.
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Jon Stebbins
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« Reply #15 on: March 20, 2006, 01:54:19 PM »

I saw Brian several times in the late '70's with the BB's. First at the "Day on the Green" "comeback" show...July '76...he came out several songs into the set...and just played piano. Later that year(Dec. '76) I saw the BB's at the Oakland Coliseum Arena and Brian had undergone a transformation. He was playing bass, singing a lot, and looking like he was enjoying himself. The voice was okay...not great. But he was definitely active in the show...which was a great show. Like Alan Boyd I was at the summer '78 "Day on the Green" show and Brian had again transformed...this time in the opposite direction. He'd gained weight and the voice was horrible...laryngitis or not. The BB's also had deteriorated and weren't as tight as the shows I had seen two years earlier. I met Brian in person in L.A. in 1979, and again talked to him briefly after the BB's got their star on Hollywood Blvd. in 1980. He was great to talk to...but always very nervous.
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Alan Boyd
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« Reply #16 on: March 20, 2006, 02:03:25 PM »

Hey NHC...

I don't think they did anything from LOVE YOU or MIU that day in Oakland, but I do remember "Almost Summer," "Cruisin," "Country Pie" and "Lady Lynda."  They might have played "Roller Skating Child," but I don't recall for sure.  "Everyone's In Love With You" might have been on the setlist as well.

"Evening Magazine" (KPIX ch 5, maybe?) did some backstage interviews with them that day, and put together some sort of group profile that aired a few days later.  They interviewed Brian in his dressing room and he was so hoarse you could barely understand him.

They did 4 songs from "Love You" at the Cow Palace in December 1977, though - "Back Home," "Airplane," "Honkin' Down The Highway" and "Roller Skating Child."  That was another...interesting show.  They also played the latter at the Greek Theater shows in Berkeley in 1979.

I went to that Cambodian benefit show at the Oakland arena in January 1980 as well.  I remember they mentioned they'd been recording lately (this would have been during the sessions for KTSA) and they proceeded to play some instrumental vamp that I hadn't heard before, but I don't remember now what it might have been.  Does this ring any bells?

Alan
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Steve Mayo
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« Reply #17 on: March 20, 2006, 04:34:58 PM »

i saw them about 5 times in 1980. i do remember them doing an instrumental ditty a couple of times around the end of good vibrations or the end of the show. what i saw them doing was the peice on the hbo show from '80 at dc. at the time, it actually sounded good.
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NHC
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« Reply #18 on: March 20, 2006, 04:55:54 PM »

John S - right, as Selvin put it, he came out during the eighth number, offered a few piano parts and one "hesitant" vocal, the first two verses of "Back Home".  Brian looks great and having fun in the picture with the article. Wish we'd been there. My wife was about to give birth to our first son, so that precluded any rock and roll shows for a while (although our third attended his first BB concert at age one month in '86 at Shoreline in Mountain View CA and our second at age 6 in Santa Rosa CA. The rule is they just have to be born first, I guess.)

Alan B - so they did play Lady Lynda in '78?  I knew I'd heard it somewhere earlier. When it came out on the album the next year it had a semi-familiar ring to it, beside the Bach figure, that is, so I guess that was where I'd heard it.  I think they played it at the Cambodian relief deal too.  Too bad Jardine got divorced - that's a great tune.  Seems like there was a female singer on stage at the '78 DOTG, for a little bit of the show?  Or did i just dream that one?  My photos are too far away to really tell.  Yeah, i remember  now that little vamp they did at the relief concert but have no idea what it was!  A good friend of mine worked for the Dead, mostly as a sound man, but was a photographer for that show, and my dad told me later Richard had said he wished he had known we were there, he could have got us in the back door and backstage for the whole evening.

Thanks for the info/memory jogs!

Norm C
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Alan Boyd
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« Reply #19 on: March 20, 2006, 05:01:00 PM »

That was Dennis' wife, Karen Lamm, joining them onstage for a few tunes at the 1978 show.  I think she may have even played (or pretended to play) some electric piano that day.

Jon?  What do you remember about that?

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Jon Stebbins
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« Reply #20 on: March 20, 2006, 05:11:01 PM »

I remember Karen sat at the electric piano on a stand right at the front of the stage...and her legs were...well, errr... positioned in very provacative manner...there were panties visible from the 50 yard line...some might say she was "shooting a beaver" at 50,000 people...that's what I remember. I was 20 and I loved it...best part of the show!!  A few months later I met Dennis in L.A....although I didn't mention my recent "perspective" on Karen to him. Now when I got to know Karen many years later I did mention it to her...and she got a big laugh out of my memory.
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Sheriff John Stone
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« Reply #21 on: March 20, 2006, 06:08:17 PM »

The late 1970's was an exciting time to be a Beach Boys fan. There was a new album out every year and Brian was touring with the group pretty consistently. I saw the Beach Boys live at least once a year during that period, and have also seen some videotape. These are my observations.

In 1977, Brian was making a real effort to be a full-fledged Beach Boy again. He was losing weight, had his hair cut short in summer/fall of that year (there's some great pictures in David Leaf's book), and was starting to sing more lead vocals on stage. In addition to the standard "Sloop John B", "Surfer Girl (bridge)", and "Back Home", he was also singing "Airplane" and "Love Is A Woman". I saw them perform "Roller Skating Child", and when Brian's part came at the end, it flew right by him. To be honest, his vocals during this period were pretty rough, but it was great to see him trying.

In 1978, Brian continued to lose more weight, and started wearing these shiny Adidas warm-up suits with sneakers. He looked athletic! He was a little more active on the stage, alternating between the Baby Grand piano, bass, and electric piano (usually for Help Me Rhonda). I don't remember him singing any more though. I think the 1977 experiment to feature him on more leads was abandoned.

In early 1979, Brian was looking darn good. He was still wearing "athletic" clothing, and he was starting to look downright skinny, at least his arms and legs. His hair was kind of styled shorter (and washed), and his beard was fuller. I thought he looked great on The Midnight Special that year. Unfortunately, an ashtray started to appear on the piano. Brian sang no songs from MIU, and of course he was invisible on the Light Album, so there weren't any new lead vocals that I remember. But he really "looked" like he was back.

1980 was a turning point. Brian started to gain weight again. Gone were the warm-up suits and replaced with buttoned shirts and wrinkled windbreakers. Sometimes he wore the sweat pants and sometimes baggy jeans. The hair was getting longer and the beard more unkept. Brian did sing a snippet of "Goin' On", and a word or two of "Good Timin", but not much else. Sometimes he would do a "count down" to "School Days". He rarely played the bass anymore; I think "Back Home" was done by that time. Sometimes, he didn't sing both verses to "Sloop John B", with Carl finishing for him. He was definitely dialing it in by that time...
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NHC
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« Reply #22 on: March 20, 2006, 07:49:03 PM »

I was pretty sure that was Karen Lamm.  I remember her at that keyboard.  Wow - 28 years ago!  Evidently missed the rest of the "show" you mentioned. Probably still thinking about Dolly Parton a few hours earlier. The Sheriff's summary of those years is pretty much on target.  Just wish I'd caught them in the early 70's as well for some of those tunes they did and then left behind.  Thanks, guys.
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Sheriff John Stone
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« Reply #23 on: March 20, 2006, 08:00:07 PM »

Not to take the thread off-topic, but how did Karen Lamm die?
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Aegir
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« Reply #24 on: March 20, 2006, 08:24:03 PM »

Everywhere I've looked says "heart failure", but that's pretty vague.
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