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678318 Posts in 27401 Topics by 4045 Members - Latest Member: reecemorgan January 27, 2023, 12:22:50 AM
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Author Topic: Why was Carl not replaced?  (Read 3775 times)
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« Reply #25 on: May 24, 2022, 08:53:14 AM »

Carl was able to get away with doing only one or two BB songs at this solo shows because his only fully solo bookings were clubs, and then his other main tour was as an opening act (and even then he bowed to a bit of pressure and added “Darlin’”) where he wasn’t the main draw.

Brian Wilson would not have been able to get the copious amount of concert bookings he did in the 2000s by doing mostly solo material. Yes, he did tour a few full solo albums. But those were advertised and themed as such, and still always had a second set of well-known songs. Plus, I’d say his “Smile” tour was more BB-themed than a true “solo” album. And some of those “That Lucky Old Sun”  and Gershwin shows had light ticket sales as I recall as well.

Brian kickstarted a more active solo touring career by first simply showing up and doing it to the amazement of many, and then by doing the full “Pet Sounds” album, and then doing the “Smile” project. If he had gone out in 1999 and 2000 with a setlist full of like 15 songs from his solo albums plus a few BB classics, I think the bookings would have dried up. Or, rather, he would have been relegated to booking clubs like the Roxy and maybe some small theaters.

One has to also remember this: Those BB songs are Brian’s. I think part of his solo touring was sort of reasserting or reclaiming some ownership of those songs. Also remember that unlike the other touring BBs, Brian *hadn’t* been singing all those classic songs 150 times per year, every year. I think he had some enthusiasm for doing those BB songs. Plus, I think even hardcore fans would have been frustrated to see him *not* do “Pet Sounds” or all those deep BB cuts in order to hear sometimes B-grade solo deep album cuts. Sure, some of the solo stuff was more suited to his voice at that stage. But he was also doing a bunch of Mike (and Al) leads at his solo shows, and those were within his range at that time as well. Frankly, it was easier for him to sing a lot of the vintage Mike parts in the early 2000s than it was to sing the solo tracks he did dust off in that time frame such as “Let It Shine” and “Melt Away.”

I bow to no one in my appreciation for Brian’s solo albums. Some great stuff. But I can’t deny that some of the weakest tracks on the “Live at the Roxy” album were those two new cuts. Especially “The First Time”, which reeked of early 80s workshop, dusting-off-the-cobwebs songwriting (because that’s literally what that song was).

The evolution of Brian’s solo touring career is an interesting story. They first just got out there in 1999 and did small groupings of shows a few times. By the end of the year, the accomplishment was that he had done it, and have proven that he could show up for shows and finish tours. The reviews were pretty sympathetic and thus pretty good overall, although there were some (often valid) criticisms about Brian’s vocals and (even more valid) criticism of the keyboard playing situation. Once they got that done and wanted to book more shows, the “Pet Sounds” plan was hatched, which from a touring marketing standpoint was a smart move. They got a prestige double-bill tour in 2001 with Paul Simon, and then from there we know the rest of the story, where he got some even more well-received bookings in the UK and Europe, then did a couple years of “Smile” tours, and so on. That all happened mostly due to BB material and his BB connection, and this isn’t like a McCartney-Beatles-Wings-Solo situation. Whereas McCartney ignored like major Wings and solo hits (including literal #1 hits) to play predominantly Beatles songs, I don’t think especially in those first 6-7 years of Brian touring that many fans were frustrated with the setlists. He was doing deep BB cuts, and the full “Pet Sounds” and “Smile” albums. Eventually in the later 2000s as the touring wore on, some of the bookings got a little bit more “meat and potatoes”, especially for the shorter shows with no full albums being performed. I don’t think any fans would have been anything but happy to see him grab a solo song here and there for his shows (and he has occasionally done so, bringing back “Your Imagination” as recently as 2013 as I recall). But, whereas McCartney fans for years wanted to hear “Uncle Albert” or “No More Lonely Nights” or “Pipes of Peace”, etc., I don’t think there are a bunch of solo album tracks that vast swaths of Brian fans have been frustrated to not hear. We all have our personal favorites. I love “Let It Shine”, and seemingly as a fluke, they actually added that song to the setlist in 2000.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2022, 08:56:26 AM by HeyJude » Logged

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