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Author Topic: Brian Wilson - 2018 Tour Thread  (Read 92460 times)
Joel Goldenberg
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« Reply #850 on: November 09, 2018, 03:38:49 PM »

I've seen the Pet Sounds shows 3 or 4 times over the course of the past few years. I must say, while the band, Al, Blondie and especially Matt have always been top notch, Brian's performance has digressed with each performance, to the point of him pretty much speaking the lyrics to the PS songs, as opposed to singing them, in almost a lounge lizard type fashion. The last show I saw was really dissapointing. I was thinking about going to a Xmas show in my area, but frankly, I was a bit concerned about his performance, not the band's but Brian's. I love Brian, and I think he should do whatever it is he wants to do at this stage of hi life. But to me, he clearly seemed(s) bored and dis interested in singing the PS songs, at least in the order of the album.
I saw Brian on his Gershwin tour and there were two Brians present. The bored not trying much Brian doing the hits and the extremely engaged Brian doing Gershwin. So I have hope for the Christmas performances.
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« Reply #851 on: November 09, 2018, 05:30:28 PM »

I tried to respond to RubberSoul13 but my response got lost in the middle of his quote.  Saw Brian on election night?  Band as great as ever.  Blondie and Al delightful, BW son in law sang nicely.  Brian looks and sounded tired.  Behavior much as described by RS13.  Missed lyrics, tired out after a few songs.  Limping on and off stage with two assistants.  Wearing a full length leg brace.  I feel like Brian is once again being "handled" and would rather be home watching tv and eating a sandwich.   I think the time has come for him to sit and watch the sun set on this beautiful day.

What was the run time for the show? I'm seeing him in about two weeks and trying to figure out childcare.

Short. No intermission and they don't leave the stage for the encore and back. It ran from exactly 8:04-9:44pm in DC on Monday night.

Thanks!
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« Reply #852 on: November 09, 2018, 05:36:22 PM »

Just got home from Atlanta. Brian threw us a curveball tonight and took a show that was advertised as a GH show and threw in the entire PS album. I was surprised. Nice to finally hear "Feel Flows" from this tour.

Interesting. The show I purchased tickets to coming up in a couple weeks was advertised as Greatest Hits, but now says Pet Sounds on the venue website and Brian's website.
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« Reply #853 on: November 10, 2018, 08:17:30 AM »

Just got home from Atlanta. Brian threw us a curveball tonight and took a show that was advertised as a GH show and threw in the entire PS album. I was surprised. Nice to finally hear "Feel Flows" from this tour.

Interesting. The show I purchased tickets to coming up in a couple weeks was advertised as Greatest Hits, but now says Pet Sounds on the venue website and Brian's website.
I'm guessing they didn't have time to rehearse both sets before the tour, but that's kind of a bummer. I'm glad I didn't go to the Atlanta show after seeing the setlist. I love pet sounds, but I had a good enough experience with it in 2016 that I don't want to taint the memory of it.
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« Reply #854 on: November 10, 2018, 09:40:23 AM »

Would prefer that the show the on 21st which I'm due to attend remains a greatest hits show as advertised...
Will have to live what we are given I suppose.
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« Reply #855 on: November 10, 2018, 12:16:01 PM »

Just got home from Atlanta. Brian threw us a curveball tonight and took a show that was advertised as a GH show and threw in the entire PS album. I was surprised. Nice to finally hear "Feel Flows" from this tour.

Interesting. The show I purchased tickets to coming up in a couple weeks was advertised as Greatest Hits, but now says Pet Sounds on the venue website and Brian's website.
I'm guessing they didn't have time to rehearse both sets before the tour, but that's kind of a bummer. I'm glad I didn't go to the Atlanta show after seeing the setlist. I love pet sounds, but I had a good enough experience with it in 2016 that I don't want to taint the memory of it.

They've performed one greatest hits show so far this fall on November 1st. It had four less songs than the Pet Sounds show but, several songs that aren't in the Pet Sounds show, so I don't think rehearsal is a problem...the show included:


-Little Honda
-Salt Lake City
-Wake The World
-Add Some Music To Your Day
-Wild Honey
-Do it Again
-All Summer Long

The PS shows have not included those selections this fall, even though they have in the past.
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« Reply #856 on: November 12, 2018, 08:16:17 PM »

Wondering before I see BW next week—about how early will I need to be there for soundcheck? Splurged for VIP but haven’t received an email about when to be there yet.
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« Reply #857 on: November 13, 2018, 02:21:29 PM »

Wondering before I see BW next week—about how early will I need to be there for soundcheck? Splurged for VIP but haven’t received an email about when to be there yet.

You'll get an email 1.5-2 days before the show. Most likely, 3:30 PM.
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« Reply #858 on: November 13, 2018, 06:12:33 PM »

New Pet Sounds Date for JUNE 2019...the "Artpark" in NYC...
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« Reply #859 on: November 13, 2018, 07:51:02 PM »

Wondering before I see BW next week—about how early will I need to be there for soundcheck? Splurged for VIP but haven’t received an email about when to be there yet.

You'll get an email 1.5-2 days before the show. Most likely, 3:30 PM.

Thanks!
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« Reply #860 on: November 13, 2018, 08:20:40 PM »

New Pet Sounds Date for JUNE 2019...the "Artpark" in NYC...
Ugh. I hope he at least gets a break from it before having to do that.
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« Reply #861 on: November 13, 2018, 09:02:49 PM »

Just enough. Stop!

Do a benefit gig for the California Fire Fighters in LA either solo or a one off Beach Boys Reunion gig and put it to bed.
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« Reply #862 on: November 13, 2018, 09:58:01 PM »

Never thought I said this but even *I* am hoping for a change soon, and that's coming from the biggest die-hard fan on this board that's not an honored guest
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« Reply #863 on: November 14, 2018, 01:25:42 AM »

I really don't see the point in the endless Pet Sounds nonsense. It's been damn bear 20 years since he first did it live. And let's face it, he really can't do it justice anymore, even on his good nights.
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« Reply #864 on: November 14, 2018, 06:45:01 AM »

Made a number of updates to the top post, including updated setlists. Also moved the couple of formerly-"Greatest Hits" shows into the "Pet Sounds" section.
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« Reply #865 on: November 14, 2018, 08:47:36 AM »

I attended last night's Kansas City show. I have many thoughts, some informed by observation, some by experience, and some by conversations with affiliated folks. I will likely write several posts today, just to make this mass of impressions manageable.

Let's start with the setlist. There was an opening act, Beat Root Revival. A male vocalist / guitarist and a female vocalist / percussionist. They were excellent and played for precisely a half-hour (7:30-8 p.m.) After a half-hour break, Brian and the band came out and played for precisely 90 minutes. Here are the songs and the lead vocalists.

California Girls (BW)
Dance, Dance, Dance (BW)
I Get Around (BW, Rob)
Shut Down (AJ)
Little Deuce Coupe (AJ)
Little Honda (BW, Blondie onstage)
Surfer Girl (Group, BW bridge)
Salt Lake City (BW)
Wake the World (Al)
Add Some Music (BW)
California Saga (AJ)
Don't Worry Baby (Rob)
Darlin (Darian)
Feel Flows (BC)
Wild Honey (BC)
Sail on Sailor (BC)
Do It Again (BW)
Wouldn't it Be Nice (Rob, BW on bridge)
Sloop John B (AJ)
God Only Knows (BW)
Good Vibrations (BW, Rob)

(All exit, including BW)

All Summer Long (group)
Help Me Rhonda (AJ)
Barbara Ann (group)
Surfin' USA (AJ)
Fun, Fun, Fun (AJ)
Love and Mercy (BW)

(Bows with BW seated)

After looking at setlists from earlier this year, this looks to be his standard hits show, with In My Room and the extended Pet Sounds jam deleted. There were also shows that featured Matt Jardine on Let Him Run Wild and Susie Cincinnati replacing California Saga as Al's featured spot.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2018, 08:55:52 AM by Wirestone » Logged
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« Reply #866 on: November 14, 2018, 09:47:28 AM »

Next up, a list of the Brian Wilson shows I've attended over the years. Some of you are ahead of me, others are behind. It doesn't really matter -- I've been lucky enough to live in locations where he's toured frequently in the last decade. But this helps me think about how things have changed in the touring BW world over the years.

2000, Sept. 16, Denver CO -- Pet Sounds orchestral show (35 songs) (A)
2001, July 18, Camden PA -- Paul Simon tour (25 songs) (B)
2004, Oct. 21, Tampa FL -- Smile tour (44 songs) (B+)
2006, Nov. 17, Boston MA -- Pet Sounds (with AJ) (40 songs) (C+)
2008, July 13, Hampton Beach NH -- Reduced band (26 songs) (C)
2009, Nov. 3, Concord NH -- Hits tour (setlist unavailable) (A+)
2009, Nov. 12, Lowell MA -- Hits tour (setlist unavailable) (A+)

2012, June 22, Bangor ME -- BB reunion tour (46 songs) (A)
2012, June 26, Boston MA -- BB reunion tour (47 songs) (A)

2013, Oct. 9, Boston MA -- Jeff Beck tour (23 songs) (B)
2015, July 2, Boston MA -- NPP tour (32 songs) (B)
2016, July 20, Kansas City MO -- Pet Sounds 50 (36 songs) (A-)
2017, April 1, Mayetta KS -- Hits show (30 songs) (C)
2018, Nov. 13, Kansas City MO -- Hits show (27 songs) (?)

I'm including my grades for each show -- these are off the top of my head, and entirely subjective. But they're also meant to suggest that BW's overall level of performance over the last 20 years has been pretty consistent. He's sometimes super inspired (and I've been lucky to catch a couple of those show), sometimes average, sometimes distracted, but nearly alway decent. The band, of course, plays an enormous part in this, as does the addition of Al and Blondie in recent years.

But all of this is what makes writing and thinking about last night's show in Kansas City a bit difficult.
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« Reply #867 on: November 14, 2018, 11:42:38 AM »

Here's the thing. Going by what I've seen and heard, all of these things are true about Brian's current run of shows, and the performance I saw last night.

-- Brian is in good voice, with pitch and tone being if anything firmer and more accurate than I've heard the last couple of years. His power is diminished, likely because of physical challenges, but he sounded overall excellent in his solo spots.

-- He wants to tour. For whatever reason, Brian has repeatedly expressed to the press, his band, and his friends that he wants to be out on the road. It seems to have become a cause.

-- Brian is also in difficult shape, physically. He has a young man help him to and from his seat onstage, and there's no break in the show, so he stays seated throughout. I heard the opening act speak to merchandise purchasers after the show, and they noted that BW is traveling with a physical therapist. He needs to put in work to recover. This being Brian, can you guess if he's actually doing the tough, unpleasant stuff he needs to do to become mobile again? Yeah, right.

-- Probably because of this, he is bummed. I've seen Brian phone it in before, and I've seen him disinterested. This is different. This is much more like the infamous footage in the Smile documentary showing him quiet, preoccupied, sad. He barely interacted with the audience -- a wave after God Only Knows was as good as it got. His other comments were short and inaudible over applause. The entire band, especially Al and Blondie, but also Rob, worked throughout the show to keep up his spirits.

I don't know how to feel about all of this. The band continues to excel, Al and Blondie and Rob and Darian do their bits. Brian manages great takes of God Only Knows, Love and Mercy, Add Some Music and Little Honda (for some reason). But he's down, probably because he's a 76-year-old guy grappling with mobility problems and an arduous recovery ahead. He wants to be on the road, but he's also personally challenged enough that the show is an endurance test. It's not for nothing that they now have the opening act and a slimmed-down setlist.

It's confusing. I have no doubt that Brian benefits from the shows. It gives him a goal and a purpose. But as someone who has seen him give engaged performances, who has watched him sing with less pain, I'm not sure how the audiences benefit.

For the first time, I left a Brian Wilson show a little downcast.

Not because I think anyone is being exploited.

But perhaps because the show suggests that even the best band, even the most quirky frontman, can't perform forever.

Orson Welles said that every story ultimately has a tragic ending -- making a tale end happily is largely about where you choose to conclude it. There are so many points of triumph over the last 20 years for Brian and this band. The first Pet Sounds shows. Smile. That Lucky Old Sun. The amazing fall 2009 shows. The C50 reunion. Even the first Brian-Al-Blondie shows. When I think back about Brian's touring years, those are the points I will remember.
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« Reply #868 on: November 14, 2018, 12:23:38 PM »

Long time, first time, etc.

I was at the KC show last night too.  Drove up from Oklahoma.  I'm glad that I did.

This was my fifth time seeing Brian (C50, one off greatest hits show in Tulsa, NPP, PS 50), so, like you said, when he did sing, I thought he did quite well.  I especially got a kick out of "Salt Lake City."

You didn't explicitly outline it Wirestone, but as your helpful vocal credits post indicates, Al subbed for all of the songs Brian usually encores with.  He kept pointing at all to take the leads before each song.  I kind of chose to focus on the fact I was getting to hear Al sing leads I'd never heard before than whatever was ailing Brian.  I think you hit the nail on the head though.  He must be in terrible pain.  I would imagine this affects his signing in terms of stamina, ability to hold notes, etc.

FWIW, the audience in my section seemed to greatly enjoy the show regardless of Brian's participation.  In these situations, I always worry about what the casual listeners are going to think and that's usually what affects my mood, if anything.  I left the show resigned that I caught Brian on a bit of an off night (albeit nowhere near as bad as other nights I've read about), and with happy memories about how great the great parts were.

I did overhear an older woman dressed like she had gone to the symphony say to her party in the elevator on the way out, "I had no idea how I'll he is," or something to that effect.  I cringed a little, but it felt in poor taste to engage in a conversation about it.  

I am going to continue to catch shows as I can as long as I can until there are no more to catch.  I hope the end is later rather than sooner.  Like you, I am going to assume Brian wants to tour, as I have no reason to believe the contrary.  I do hope his pain subsides.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2018, 12:24:52 PM by BigSound » Logged
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« Reply #869 on: November 14, 2018, 12:58:50 PM »

Yeah, I can say definitively, from conversations with those in the know, that Brian is dedicated to doing these shows and very much wants to be on the road. Now, I'm not sure that translates into being anything but bored stiff with full performances of Pet Sounds, but he does want to be onstage.
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« Reply #870 on: November 14, 2018, 01:00:22 PM »

Here's the thing. Going by what I've seen and heard, all of these things are true about Brian's current run of shows, and the performance I saw last night.

-- Brian is in good voice, with pitch and tone being if anything firmer and more accurate than I've heard the last couple of years. His power is diminished, likely because of physical challenges, but he sounded overall excellent in his solo spots.

-- He wants to tour. For whatever reason, Brian has repeatedly expressed to the press, his band, and his friends that he wants to be out on the road. It seems to have become a cause.

-- Brian is also in difficult shape, physically. He has a young man help him to and from his seat onstage, and there's no break in the show, so he stays seated throughout. I heard the opening act speak to merchandise purchasers after the show, and they noted that BW is traveling with a physical therapist. He needs to put in work to recover. This being Brian, can you guess if he's actually doing the tough, unpleasant stuff he needs to do to become mobile again? Yeah, right.

-- Probably because of this, he is bummed. I've seen Brian phone it in before, and I've seen him disinterested. This is different. This is much more like the infamous footage in the Smile documentary showing him quiet, preoccupied, sad. He barely interacted with the audience -- a wave after God Only Knows was as good as it got. His other comments were short and inaudible over applause. The entire band, especially Al and Blondie, but also Rob, worked throughout the show to keep up his spirits.

I don't know how to feel about all of this. The band continues to excel, Al and Blondie and Rob and Darian do their bits. Brian manages great takes of God Only Knows, Love and Mercy, Add Some Music and Little Honda (for some reason). But he's down, probably because he's a 76-year-old guy grappling with mobility problems and an arduous recovery ahead. He wants to be on the road, but he's also personally challenged enough that the show is an endurance test. It's not for nothing that they now have the opening act and a slimmed-down setlist.

It's confusing. I have no doubt that Brian benefits from the shows. It gives him a goal and a purpose. But as someone who has seen him give engaged performances, who has watched him sing with less pain, I'm not sure how the audiences benefit.

For the first time, I left a Brian Wilson show a little downcast.

Not because I think anyone is being exploited.

But perhaps because the show suggests that even the best band, even the most quirky frontman, can't perform forever.

Orson Welles said that every story ultimately has a tragic ending -- making a tale end happily is largely about where you choose to conclude it. There are so many points of triumph over the last 20 years for Brian and this band. The first Pet Sounds shows. Smile. That Lucky Old Sun. The amazing fall 2009 shows. The C50 reunion. Even the first Brian-Al-Blondie shows. When I think back about Brian's touring years, those are the points I will remember.

Much appreciated thoughtful comments.

Even though you saw a GH show, do you have any theories/insights into what the deal is with "Pet Sounds?" By just about every account, and the shows I've seen, he seems much more into the non-PS stuff.

This actually pre-dated his latest back surgery. All the way back in 2016 he was coming out with energy and enthusiasm for the first set, but then started doing his somewhat detached, pseudo-Sinatra-ish "talky" singing on PS. They eventually tried to mitigate this later on by doing things like handing the lead on "Here Today" to Al.

It may well be as simple as, he's just bored with the material.

I just wonder if there could be a way to kind of accomplish multiple goals with these shows. If Brian wants to be out there, and there is a benefit to keeping active by doing shows/tours, is there a way to change around the shows to less taxing and also a better presentation? I know they're already treading a fine line as far as handing a lot of leads off to Al, Blondie, Darian, Matt/Rob, etc.

Would it be better to have Brian take a true rest in the middle of the show and have Al do a mini-version of his solo "Storytellers" show or something? Or just have a longer Al/Blondie set in the middle?

Do they maybe need to more drastically change the show/setlist around from night to night to keep the thing from becoming too rote?

No real answers, just a lot of questions. I'm not sure about the sort of "big picture" aspect in terms of what this all means for his legacy and how he's rounding third and finishing up a career, etc.

It'll be interesting to see if the Xmas Album tour maybe peps things up a bit. Assuming they truly do the full BB XMas album, and maybe some other Xmas stuff, it'll force them to be doing a very different, new setlist. That might perk things up.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2018, 01:01:33 PM by HeyJude » Logged

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« Reply #871 on: November 14, 2018, 01:29:28 PM »

Those are some really good questions and comments, HJ.

From band member conversations, I can say that yeah, he's just really tired of Pet Sounds. As far back as the first show of his I saw in 2000, he often would tear into hit songs or other up tempo material with more enthusiasm than the tricker PS songs.

I do think having him rest up offstage during the seven-song span from "Don't Worry Baby" to "Sail on Sailor" wouldn't be a bad idea, and you could add an instrumental like Pet Sounds in there. It would be one thing if Brian was playing and singing enthusiastic backgrounds, like he was on the C50 shows. While he does play keys now and then, I noticed that he wasn't single any backing vocals at all last night.

As for the Christmas album shows ... I think we should all stay tuned. They could be miraculous or the opposite.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2018, 01:31:03 PM by Wirestone » Logged
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« Reply #872 on: November 14, 2018, 01:33:43 PM »

Yeah, I can say definitively, from conversations with those in the know, that Brian is dedicated to doing these shows and very much wants to be on the road. Now, I'm not sure that translates into being anything but bored stiff with full performances of Pet Sounds, but he does want to be onstage.

Ah, sorry, I missed where you said this is definitive information.  I'm glad he wants to tour  Smiley

Personally, I am okay with the ambiguity of whether Brian is bored with PS, whether it's too hard to sing, whether it's him creatively reinterpreting the material, or any combination of the foregoing.  Though if it were a case of reinterpreting, it would be cool to tweak the arrangements a little to match.

I also like the idea of a setlist that varies from night to night, like the band learns a pool of tunes and then they make the setlist before the show.  On the other hand, there are people who are seeing Brian for the first time, so they're going to want to hear the hits.  I saw people around me who each lit up when the band played "their song," and you can bet it wasn't "Add Some Music" or "Feel Flows"  Tongue
« Last Edit: November 14, 2018, 01:34:19 PM by BigSound » Logged
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« Reply #873 on: November 14, 2018, 01:35:26 PM »

Thank you for the reports. I too feel that Brian truly does want to be on the road, and his diminished mobility has to be affecting him and not just physically. I like the idea of Al having a mini-set too. Unlike some, I think Brian continuing to tour is a good thing as it will keep him active. I don't think making him more sedentary is the answer, as I don't think that will be good for his spirits. Just my feeling, and I could be wrong
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« Reply #874 on: November 14, 2018, 01:39:57 PM »

Those are some really good questions and comments, HJ.

From band member conversations, I can say that yeah, he's just really tired of Pet Sounds. As far back as the first show of his I saw in 2000, he often would tear into hit songs or other up tempo material with more enthusiasm than the tricker PS songs.

I do think having him rest up offstage during the seven-song span from "Don't Worry Baby" to "Sail on Sailor" wouldn't be a bad idea, and you could add an instrumental like Pet Sounds in there. It would be one thing if Brian was playing and singing enthusiastic backgrounds, like he was on the C50 shows. While he does play keys now and then, I noticed that he wasn't single any backing vocals at all last night.

As for the Christmas album shows ... I think we should all stay tuned. They could be miraculous or the opposite.

On the XMas shows, they posted a video several months ago of them already rehearsing it. I was wondering many months back how they'd rehearse up the full XMas album (all but one song of which they've rarely done) in the three-day gap between the last PS show and first Xmas show. Don't get me wrong, the band are pros and I don't doubt they could do it any number of ways. But a dozen new songs in the setlist requires a lot of vocal tradeoffs and cues for Brian (and Al, etc.). It appears perhaps they've been slowly rehearsing it over months.

I'm curious how they're going to do stuff like the peppy arrangement on "Frosty the Snowman." I'm also curios how many additional XMas songs they'll actually do. Will they really do like tons of songs from Brian's "What I Really Want for Christmas?"

But I agree, I think hearing the full BB Xmas album could be mindblowingly transcendent, or could potentially come off a bit rickety.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2018, 01:40:58 PM by HeyJude » Logged

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