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Author Topic: See this tour  (Read 19714 times)
Rob Dean
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« Reply #125 on: November 13, 2009, 03:55:46 AM »

All good stuff , but is it not a shame that less than 800 people (in a venue over twice that size) turned up at the Kirby Show :-(
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« Reply #126 on: November 13, 2009, 09:42:01 AM »

Is it possible that some fans stayed away this tour having "been there, done that" only to regret not going after reading the rave reviews this tour is getting?  That was almost the case with me but It was a 3 hour drive and I wanted to get out of town for the weekend.  I'm so glad I did!  Same last year with the Mike and Bruce show.
That too was an eye and ear opening experience!

If Mike, Bruce, Brian, their managers and bands are reading any of this, I want to say thanks and congratulations for a great year of top notch performances from two of the best bands on the road.
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« Reply #127 on: November 13, 2009, 09:49:41 AM »

Well most shows were near sold out, only like three shows had low attendance, and honestly that's down to the pathetic promoation some shows get.

How was the turnout for the lowell show?
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« Reply #128 on: November 13, 2009, 09:54:47 AM »

Of the two shows I went to, the Concord attendance was great -- Brian is a big star for the venue and the town. In Lowell last night, it was two-thirds. Brian doesn't sell out venues on his name alone -- there has to be some serious, educational promotion, and often that isn't done on these smaller tours. (In Concord, the theater did a lot of promotion on its own, and I devoted the arts page of our newspaper to his arrival -- but I did that because I'm a fan, not because anyone called us and asked for it.) The economics surely make sense to someone, even if I'm not clear on them.

And make no mistake -- this tour could have been a disaster. The itinerary is fanciful to say the least -- the band came to Concord, NH from West Virginia, they played four shows in N.J. (but not in a row), etc., etc. Hits shows have been phoned in in the past. Ticket prices are out of step with the times -- cheap seats $40-$45. So it's possible promoters decided that, given these factors, a quick and dirty and quiet tour was best. Who knew that the performances would end up being some of the definitive documents of Brian as a touring musician?
« Last Edit: November 13, 2009, 04:15:39 PM by claymcc » Logged
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« Reply #129 on: November 13, 2009, 11:33:06 AM »

I don't understand booking Brian Wilson into West Virginia for a concert, doesn't seem like he'd be much of a draw there.
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« Reply #130 on: November 13, 2009, 11:42:05 AM »

had a real nice crowd there in morgantown.
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« Reply #131 on: November 13, 2009, 12:43:13 PM »

And make no mistake -- this tour could have been a disaster. The itinerary is fanciful to say the least...

I was talking about that to, er, 'someone' back in the summer, and their observation was "who booked this tour - Stevie Wonder ?"

And yes, it is a strange & wonderful thing that a tour that started out so inauspiciously, following a European tour that was, to be charitable, patchy, should become something of a landmark for Brian. Here's hoping it all carries on to the Gershwin tour... and that the US gets that one first this time.  Grin
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Amy B.
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« Reply #132 on: November 13, 2009, 12:55:44 PM »

I'm going to the Morristown, NJ concert tonight, and I understand that it's sold out.
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The Heartical Don
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« Reply #133 on: November 14, 2009, 12:26:45 AM »

All of this makes me really hungry for the Gershwin and Disney efforts. Esp. when he says: I don't know where the heck it's coming from...

Perhaps it is just the character of this tour that eases his mind. Gathering from the descriptions, he seems to feel that he does not need a safety net, he allows himself the odd mistake, and is very relaxed nonetheless.

Which makes me think: if he starts a Gershwin show in a fancy, posh grand hall, will he be nervous again, strained?
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« Reply #134 on: November 14, 2009, 12:46:40 AM »

That's why AGD wants the Gershwin tour to start in the US!  Grin It might be decent by the time it gets to the UK ...
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The Heartical Don
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« Reply #135 on: November 14, 2009, 01:21:29 AM »

That's why AGD wants the Gershwin tour to start in the US!  Grin It might be decent by the time it gets to the UK ...

Then I'm all for it!  LOL
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« Reply #136 on: November 14, 2009, 01:26:59 AM »

Morristown, New Jersey, the second show I've caught on this tour, and unfortunately probably the last.  No seats priced below 70 bucks, but still a very respectable size crowd.  It wasn't sold out, but probably 75 percent full.  I don't know if it had anything to do with the miserable rainy and windy weather, or if something else was going on but Brian didn't seem as comfortable as he was when I saw him a few weeks ago in Red Bank.  It really seemed like he wanted to push the show forward, often launching quickly into song introductions before applause for the previous song had even died down.  More Rolling Stones comments... he started the show by saying that they are not as good as the Rolling Stones, then immediately followed that by saying that the show will make us all forget about the Rolling Stones by the time it's over.

 It appears the band has finally dropped "Sail On Sailor" for at least for a while, which makes sense after all the comments Brian has made on this tour about how much he dislikes it.  The swearing phenomenon continued in Morristown.  At one point Brian announces that if we in the audience don't like the next song (it might have even been God Only Knows) that we should all just say "f*** you, we don't like it."  Pretty hilarious and endearing.  But it seemed like that insecurity thing might have been real - at various points during the night Brian made self deprecating comments.   He introduced "Custom Machine as a "stupid car song."   At one point he said that "they didn't think that anyone would like the show", at another point he asked people to clap if they didn't like the show, then to clap if they did.  Even later in the show, he actually offered to refund anyone's money who didn't like the show.  Occasionally, it was almost as if he would sabotage his own jokes, then immediately going into self-deprecation mode when the joke fell flat.  He just didn't seem entirely comfortable.  His vocals were mostly beautifully performed, with a few low points and more than a few highs.  He didn't really seem at ease during the beginning of the show, but his vocals were still mostly spot on.  He seems to have a lot of fun doing the deeper-vocal songs like "Desert Drive", but at the other end of the spectrum, he pulled off a beautiful (if fragile) sounding "God Only Knows, and then stated to the audience that he tried to sing it as effeminately as he could and that he hoped we liked it.  I laughed out loud.

Brian's vocals seemed to suffer a little bit near the middle of the show.  "I Get Around" was a particularly strange performance, with Brian's overexaggerated vocal almost approaching Sweet Insanity territory.  And he didn't really seem to be present for "All Summer Long."  But he caught a huge second wind starting with "Sloop John B" - which he oddly introduced by saying that he hated the lyrics but thought the music was ok.  Equally oddly, after "The Little Girl I Once Knew", he proclaimed it his "favorite production that he's ever done."  Regarding "Heroes And Villains" he said that he originally didn't want to do it but that he was glad he did.  Then he proceeded to nail it.   "Marcella" was back in the setlist, and Brian actually really seemed to be into it.  Brian experimented with the vocal a lot on "Goin' Home", often going up to higher registers/octaves during parts of the verses.  It's really interesting to watch him do "Midnight's Another Day"...he seems to really make an effort to connect with that song live.  Brian's vocals on "Southern California" were also very sweet sounding.  Darian's vocal on "Darlin'" was spot on.  Better than John Cowsill's, actually.   I was disappointed that Brian did not sing at all on "Their Hearts Were Full of Spring", and he actually turned his back on the audience the way he used to do during the Pet Sounds instrumentals. Another odd moment - at the end of Spring, Brian said that it was the first time they had ever performed it in front of an audience.  The setlists posted on BrianWilson.com indicate differently.  "Love And Mercy" again began with him sitting in a "crappy movie". He played a pretty fair amount of piano..I'd say about 50 percent of the show, but his keyboard seemed really low in the mix.  But it's really nice to see him in so much more of an interactive band member role these days - even an obvious leadership role at times - as apposed to the late '90s when he was sometimes acted almost as a figurehead.  And even though he seemed a lot more uncomfortable than in Red Bank, he still tried to do a lot of interesting things with the vocals - playing with phrasing and sometimes even octives, to sometimes interesting effect, and it was obvious there was a lot of care in the vocals in general.  The Red Bank show was a lot more satisfying for me (it was after all one of the best Brian shows I've ever seen) but I'm still really glad I did this one.  Sending good vibes for the next leg.
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« Reply #137 on: November 14, 2009, 08:04:18 AM »

This def. was one of the best tours I've seen him do since Smile hands down. I'll be anxious to see how the next one pans out.
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variable2
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« Reply #138 on: November 14, 2009, 08:50:18 AM »

from the new morristown article:

"I loved writing and recording those songs," Wilson said. "There's a reason the songs are so popular and so well remembered. We did something very different back then. It was something special. Those big productions and vocals were just amazing. I knew it would be influential. It's just great to be back doing these songs, doing what I love."

http://www.dailyrecord.com/article/20091113/ENT/91112023/1005/NEWS01/Morristown-bound+Brian+Wilson+keeps+Beach+Boys+legend+alive
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Amy B.
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« Reply #139 on: November 14, 2009, 08:52:46 AM »

I was at the Morristown show last night, and I definitely thought it was the best Brian show I've seen. It was the only show I saw this tour, so I didn't have a basis of comparison for other 2009 shows, but I really enjoyed it. Brian pretty much pulled double duty as lead singer and MC, introducing nearly every song. Yes, he did say that it was the first time they'd performed "Hearts," but I believe he was putting on the audience on because he preceded that comment by stating that it had taken the band 6 months to rehearse the song, every single day. "And now they're performing it here tonight for the first time." Some of the audience seemed to believe this, because they clapped in appreciation.

 I think he was probably tired, considering that this was the fourth show night in a row, and he did appear to get tired in the second set. His vocals were a bit sloppy and he strained for some of the notes. For a while it seemed as if the energy drained out of Brian, and by consequence the band and the audience (Taylor had to tell the audience "You're supposed to stand up" at the end of Good Vibrations. By the way, her mike was very low, so it was hard to hear her.) Everyone perked up again (A LOT) for the encore. But Brian really kept up the intros and the jokes. He asked how many people were in their 20s, 30s, etc, all the way up to 60s. Of course all ages were represented. When a lot of people responded to the 60s question, he said, "What??!!" in a mock-incredulous way. My father, who is in his 70s, said, "What about me?"

At one point Brian said, "There's a woman in the front row who keeps smiling at me. What's that about?" And Jeff said, "I think we should pursue this," and asked the woman if she was married. Brian then suggested bringing the woman up on stage, and Jeff said maybe they'd do it in the encores (they didn't).
At least 100 people in the audience weren't necessarily fans. Apparently tickets had been given out as part of a charity event for a local school. But the whole crowd seemed to enjoy themselves. A few more notes:

--Darian is GREAT on Darlin'.
--Brian played his keyboard for at least half the show. He seemed so into it that sometimes he missed his cue to sing. And the keyboard WAS on. It was hard to hear, but I heard it at least a few times, and yes, he was playing the right notes!
--Yes, Brian said a few negative things-- "stupid car songs," etc., but he didn't seem down about anything. He introduced Sloop John B by saying he didn't like the lyrics, "That's okay, though. I do like the music--just not the lyrics." Jeff suggested playing it as an instrumental. Brian also said he initially didn't want to do Heroes and Villains, but that now he was glad they had put it in the set because the vocals are great.
--We got the cigarette lighter joke. "It's our way of trying to be funny." Brian commented that no one laughed.
--We got Row Row Row Your Boat.
--Brian continues to be spry, literally jogging on and off stage around the encores.
--The band was ON FIRE during the encores and clearly having fun together.
--Brian said he wouldn't forget Morristown, NJ because "you guys are great," although maybe he was being sarcastic. The audience was pretty subdued, except at the end. (As usual, Scott intro'd Do You Want to Dance" by telling the audience to stand but preceded it with "Unless you have a doctor's note...")
--At the end, Brian said, "We'll see you next year."


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Wirestone
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« Reply #140 on: November 14, 2009, 08:59:31 AM »

Brilliant, Amy. Thanks for the report.

More from Lowell -- at one point he said "Someone should throw a cigarette into the balcony and burn this place down!"

No one quite knew what to make of that.

And elgoodo makes a good point -- you can actually hear Brian experimenting with different ways to sing his songs. In Concord, it was simply a matter of phrasing here and there. In Lowell, he tried speak-singing a song or two (bits of MAD, for instance). His voice is far more powerful than you might expect, and you get the impression that he's trying out different ways to unleash it.
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Jim McShane
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« Reply #141 on: November 14, 2009, 09:30:01 AM »

Yes, he did say that it was the first time they'd performed "Hearts," but I believe he was putting on the audience on because he preceded that comment by stating that it had taken the band 6 months to rehearse the song, every single day. "And now they're performing it here tonight for the first time." Some of the audience seemed to believe this, because they clapped in appreciation.

He probably meant this TOUR was the first time they've performed it live. My guess anyway.
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Amy B.
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« Reply #142 on: November 14, 2009, 09:43:25 AM »

Okay, here's a hypothetical. Let's say you win a contest, and there are two prize choices:
A. All of Brian Wilson's solo albums
B. All of Mike Love's solo albums, including Mike Love Not War

For the sake of argument, let's say you don't already own any of these. Which do you pick?
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elgoodo
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« Reply #143 on: November 14, 2009, 09:53:20 AM »

The fourth-night-in-a-row thing probably had a lot to do with it. 

The vocal experimentation thing is really interesting.  In Red Bank, one or two lines of "Love And Mercy" were spoken ("well, it's just not fair") and it was really effective.  He seems to be really going out on a limb regularly vocalwise on this tour, but it's not entirely a new thing...does anyone remember the performance of "Love And Mercy" at one of the shows with Al at the Beacon in NYC a few years ago?  He actually changed the lines in the "news came on tv" verse to something like "a lotta people out there scared, and so am I."
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« Reply #144 on: November 14, 2009, 10:21:27 AM »

Okay, here's a hypothetical. Let's say you win a contest, and there are two prize choices:
A. All of Brian Wilson's solo albums
B. All of Mike Love's solo albums, including Mike Love Not War

For the sake of argument, let's say you don't already own any of these. Which do you pick?


I'd take all of Brian's solo albums...even GIOMH has a few good moments.
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« Reply #145 on: November 14, 2009, 12:49:55 PM »

Okay, here's a hypothetical. Let's say you win a contest, and there are two prize choices:
A. All of Brian Wilson's solo albums
B. All of Mike Love's solo albums, including Mike Love Not War

For the sake of argument, let's say you don't already own any of these. Which do you pick?


I'd pick POB alone over all of Brian Wilson's solo albums. So, by this Monyhy Python logic, Dennis > Brian.  Smiley
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« Reply #146 on: November 14, 2009, 01:02:37 PM »

Okay, here's a hypothetical. Let's say you win a contest, and there are two prize choices:
A. All of Brian Wilson's solo albums
B. All of Mike Love's solo albums, including Mike Love Not War

For the sake of argument, let's say you don't already own any of these. Which do you pick?


I'd pick POB alone over all of Brian Wilson's solo albums. So, by this Monyhy Python logic, Dennis > Brian.  Smiley

That's not what was asked, Cheater.
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« Reply #147 on: November 14, 2009, 01:40:31 PM »

Okay, here's a hypothetical. Let's say you win a contest, and there are two prize choices:
A. All of Brian Wilson's solo albums
B. All of Mike Love's solo albums, including Mike Love Not War

For the sake of argument, let's say you don't already own any of these. Which do you pick?


I'd pick POB alone over all of Brian Wilson's solo albums. So, by this Monyhy Python logic, Dennis > Brian.  Smiley

That's not what was asked, Cheater.
I'm known by many names.  Smiley
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« Reply #148 on: November 14, 2009, 10:29:10 PM »

But back to the matter at hand. The east coast tour has wrapped up. We'll get three shows next month, in Calif. and Nevada. Will be interesting to see how those go. And then on to Gershwin -- we can only hope that this vim finds its way into the recording studio.

Just a few more thoughts about Lowell. I wasn't thrilled with the theater -- it seemed a bit ragged, and the elderly ushers opened the doors before Love and Mercy, so half of the audience was out of their seats before then. I also had an adventursome time driving down -- it would be nice to say that the experience of getting to a show can be separated from the show itself, but it is seldom the case. I also was sitting way in the back, surrounded by empty seats. Less than ideal for a show where audience interaction plays such a key role.

But Brian was, if slightly less peppy than Concord, even more musically involved. I mentioned the keyboard playing. He was listening, he was trying different things as he sang -- and his voice is shockingly strong for a 67-year-old. I detected a Paley sessions edge on some songs, a sweet, slightly ragged tone on others, and this strange, blaring Mike Love sound on still others.

Having both Darian and Jeff sing is a fabulous idea, and Brian seems thrilled to hear his songs sung so well by the band. We can only hope it continues -- those two have some of the best solo voices in the band. Taylor could take on something too.

The difference, I'd say, between the two shows I saw was that in Concord, Brian was somewhat more consciously an entertainer. In Lowell, he was more of a musician. The fact that he displays both of these sides is great, and they play off each other in gratifying and unexpected ways.

I guess the final, most joyous part of the experience, has been seeing Brian be so aware. Joking about his teleprompter. Throwing up his hands in mock exasperation when he came in too early on a verse of "Johnny B Goode." Gently needling Jeff. Taking real pride in his songs -- shouting, "Let's barbershop" before an a capella interlude in Heroes and Villains. Noting "Here come the Rolling Stones!" before the loud part of "Add Some Music."

For however long, Brian has found something in him to perform as fully as he can and take pride in his music. If I ever had doubts about BW as a touring artist, this jaunt has erased them. He can do something in his shows that he can't do in studios anymore -- be totally spontaneous, inhabit his music, and then go back to his bus and zone out afterward, free from any obligation except eating and sleeping.

Has this always been the case? Probably not. Will it always be the case? Doubtful. But we had something to marvel at for a couple of months, and for once it was in the United States.

P.S. -- I got to meet Brian in Concord, which was soul-filling, if also as odd as you might imagine. In Lowell, I got to chat with Darian -- a true fan, a modest guy, and just as excited to watch Brian as the rest of us. The world around Mr. Wilson continues to be complicated (I doubt he'd have it any other way), but the man is, at the very least, loved.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2009, 11:04:49 PM by claymcc » Logged
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« Reply #149 on: November 14, 2009, 10:56:07 PM »

Beautiful post, Clay.

From what I've heard, Brian's singing better than he has since his prime, esp. on songs you wouldn't necessarily expect a tour de force from him on ("409" and "California Girls" sounding especially good). He's singing with passion, and the band sounds like they are really having fun.
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