Hi there folks, this is my first post on the forum. I discovered these forums after the 50th anniversary shows last year and have enjoyed just lurking and reading since then. Since seeing Brian and company at the Beacon Theater last week, I was moved to register and share a few of my impressions of the show.
First, I was struck to the degree that this show felt like "Brian Wilson and friends" rather than a Beach Boys show, even with so many Beach Boys on stage and so many BB numbers performed. Which sounds like a slam in some ways... but what I mean is, my impression was that the setlist choices added up to a distinctly personal statement from Brian, and the novelty of the Jeff Beck double-billing (even though I didn't feel it worked 100%) suggested an artist still challenging himself. Beginning the show with Their Hearts Were Full of Spring and ending it with Danny Boy, and with the full Pet Sounds album plus Our Prayer/Surf's Up in between, made for a truly unique listening experience that the somewhat obligatory (though still fun) greatest hits did nothing to dispel.
Some random comments on the show as it unfolded for me:
-- Their Hearts was a perfect opener -- the BBs studio version is one of my favorite vocal performances by them, and I was thrilled to hear it live
-- California Girls -- rough start with gruff vocals from Brian
-- Sail on Sailor -- Blondie comes on stage, really nice job on vocals
-- Wild Honey -- I have to say that as happy as I was that they tried it, in person it didn't quite gel for me -- Blondie's current voice is low for the song, and doesn't quite have that high 'yelp' that I think it needs
-- Pet Sounds album -- wow, I still can't believe they did it. Amazing to see it unfold before my eyes, and to see Brian push himself like that with so many vocals in a row. He seemed to be conducting the band with his hands throughout, and though his facial expressions were mostly serious & reserved he seemed very into the performances.
-- Too many highlights to list, but I'm Waiting For the Day was probably my favorite non-hit of the PS run -- Brian absolutely nailed the vocal and that 'wall of sound' feeling from the band (drums!) was thrilling to experience.
-- very poignant Brian vocal on You Still Believe in Me -- gorgeous
-- God Only Knows of course a highlight -- Brian introduced it with something like "probably the best song I've ever written"
-- After the PS album, a smattering of BBs greatest hits to end the first set. Al was just killer on Rhonda -- really wish we'd gotten another lead or two from him.
-- I thought Jeff Foskett sounded lovely on vocals and high harmonies throughout the show, and I must say, personality issues aside I don't quite understand the animosity towards him on the boards.
-- The second set opened with just Jeff Beck and his band. I have to be honest that for the most part, this dragged for me. While all the musicians on stage were tremendously talented, I didn't get the same 'soul' and depth of feeling from their music as from the Brian/BBs songs and I rather wished they were made a (shorter) opening act rather than a full-length second act. Nevertheless, extremely well received by the crowd.
-- The closing numbers, where Brian and his band came on stage to accompany Jeff Beck with vocal harmonies, were actually very cool, and for me made the BW/JB combo well worth it. Our Prayer/Surf's Up was awesome. Danny Boy was the perfect blend of Jeff and Brian/BBs...for my money, this was Jeff Beck's finest moment of the show, as he played with great subtlety and restraint and the BB harmonies behind him were perfect. It sounded very much as the Fallon show performance, and is still echoing pleasantly in my head. If the same double-bill tour continues into next year once Brian's album is released, would love to hear more collaborations like this one.
Thanks for listening!