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Author Topic: !!! Happy Birthday SMiLE !!!  (Read 4687 times)
JRauch
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« on: February 20, 2006, 03:49:03 AM »

It was already two years ago, that SMiLE was born. What´s your favourite memory of that night? Any special stories? Were you one of the lucky persons in London, or sitting nervously at the computer? How did you feel? Share your story!!!
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Andreas
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« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2006, 04:05:05 AM »

I was not one of the lucky concert goers in London, I had to wait until March 10 to see it in Frankfurt.

I remember reading the first comments on the morning after on this board, and it knocked me out to read that Look, Holidays and Love To Say Da Da had lyrics (and new titles)! And that I'm In Great Shape was included!!

A downloadable version from the February 20 show was on the net only two or three days later, and that was my first listen to the finished Smile. A modest audience recording (not comparable to the excellent recording from the February 24 show), low bitrate MP3s, but it had the magic. I think I listened to the second movement dozens of times. This experiece is one of the three defining Smile events in my life. The first one was downloading Smile clips from Anne Wallace's site in 1999, and the third one was the Frankfurt concert.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2006, 04:07:47 AM by Andreas » Logged
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« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2006, 04:41:22 AM »

I listened to this audience recording over and over again. I spent the evening on the Blueboard and wow, I was very relieved after I read the first reviews of the concert and SMILE. 3 days later I joined the Smile Shop. Grin
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MEConner
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« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2006, 05:22:45 AM »

I bought tickets the first day they were offered on the web, not knowing how I was going to get to London from Florida.  I had never left the US before, but if BW had the courage to finish SMiLE I was going to be there.

Eventually, me and my 5-month Pregnant wife (she's a trooper!) made it to the first show. 

One of the biggest thrills was seeing Van Dyke Parks take his seat in the hall.  The whole hall responded with thunderous applause.  He turned and waved, clearly very moved.

I was dumbstruck on how well the parts of the puzzle fit together.  I still am. 
One memory I have is the guy next to my sitting like a statue allnight with a mic clipped to his label.  I wonder how many copys of that show were made?
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Mitchell
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« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2006, 05:25:40 AM »

Ah, great memories. I was at home for the weekend even though I was living somewhere else. I had no internet so I went on the olde Smile Shoppe from a friend's house and followed the goings on. Matt B's AMAZING review got me so excited. I listened to the mp3 of the recording when I went back to my other place and ended up not being able to sleep because I had Bicycle Rider playing through my head all night...
« Last Edit: February 20, 2006, 06:24:12 AM by Mitchell » Logged

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absinthe_boy
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« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2006, 05:47:58 AM »

I was on a holiday in Spain (as indeed I was this year, same hotel)...so obviously unable to attend the London concerts. I didn't know about Smile Shop at the time so checked into the Blueboard regularly.

On the morning after the concert we were due to fly home (near London) but I mananged to get online at the hotel's cyber cafe and read the first fan reviews...and even the Daily Telegraph's review. I was in tears of joy that Brian had pulled it off, I think like many fans I was worried that perhaps he'd find it all too much and pull out at the last minute.

The Telegraph review though said more than the reaction of existing fans. That a very serious (and quite right wing) newspaper would give SMiLE such a glowing review meant a LOT about the quality of the music and about how much the reviewer enjoyed the gig.

I didn't get to see a show until the summer. When the first summer British SMiLE dates were announced I booked a ticket for the first show that went on sale that was on a date I could attend...Portsmouth in August...it was fantastic, truly a "tell your grandchildren" moment - except I doubt I shall ever have any children or therefore grandchildren!
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absinthe_boy
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« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2006, 05:51:16 AM »

A few weeks after the debut I managed to get hold of the Bristol DVD that is in wide circulation now (Same one Bruce has) and like many people familiar with the 60's recordings I was speechless as to how the pieces of jigsaw fitted together..."oh, THAT's where THAT goes!"...
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Matt Bielewicz
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« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2006, 06:44:54 AM »

*de-lurk*

Steeler 1.0, were you up 'in the gods' high up at the back of the hall on the left as the audience faces the stage? And was the guy with the mic on his lapel also scribbling furiously throughout the concert? 'Cause if so, that was me, and the notes I was writing not only became the bulk of what appeared on the Smile Shoppe board late in the middle of that night, but were invaluable when I came to write the article on recording SMiLE for Sound On Sound a few months later. And as for the lapel mic - it was the best I could do. It was a stereo mic and every time I moved too much, I worried that I would cause a huge rustling sound on the recording. So I tried not to move very much - which was hard, given that I was trying to write notes, worry about the mic - oh, and of course, I was having my mind absolutely BLOWN by the incredible music and how well everything worked together.

Heady times indeed. That was quite a night!

Having said that, the next night, when I went back as a press guest and got a seat in the first few rows - that was in some ways even more amazing. I didn't write anything that night, I was just able to enjoy the music (and WHAT music!), and of course, the second night was an absolutely stunning performance, too - the one that collared Brian the 10-minute ovation at the end. I count myself really lucky to have been at that one.

MattB

*re-lurk*
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Mitchell
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« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2006, 07:20:09 AM »

Great stuff, Matt.
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Andreas
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« Reply #9 on: February 20, 2006, 07:39:59 AM »

Do we know who recorded those famous February 20 and February 24 shows that so quickly circulated? I want to express my deepest gratitude to those kind souls.
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absinthe_boy
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« Reply #10 on: February 20, 2006, 07:46:05 AM »

I've no idea who recorded those shows and I don't 'own' copies..but I do recall comments that Brian saw mobile phones and suchlike being pointed at the stage and said "I guess this will be on the internet by tonight"...
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Jason
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« Reply #11 on: February 20, 2006, 07:47:05 AM »

I remember February 20th oh too well. My folks had a get-together with my extended family, but I was more concerned with those precious "first impressions". I was on the blueboard, Smiley Smile, and Male Ego waiting for the first words. It was the moment I had been waiting for since October 2002, when I first heard of it. I read and soaked up all the reviews and tracklists.

The first recording was out within 24 hours of the first gig, and was a recording of the Smile section only (the complete recording came out later). It was an awesome night, that. I made copies for all my friends who had heard about Smile, and they were all blown away.

I finally got to see it live that October at the Keswick (also attended by another board member, Katie, who got up onstage with Scott Bennett and danced) and again this past August at the Mann. Two of my favorite concerts.

This is a great time to be a fan.
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Matt Bielewicz
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« Reply #12 on: February 20, 2006, 07:57:28 AM »

I must confess, Andreas... it wasn't me. I was totally clueless about getting audio on the net back then, and I'm hardly a Swami at it now. My recording was made to an ancient cassette-based recording Walkman, as that was the only portable recorder I had at the time. I was praying the SMiLE set wouldn't last longer than 45 minutes, or I'd have to turn over the tape (as it was, I *just* snuck it onto one side)! This also meant that I couldn't record the whole gig.

I've managed to A-D that recording, and now I have it on my iPod, crappy cassette hiss and all, but to this day the only person who's ever heard that recording is me. Which is probably just as well, eh?

So you have, well, *others* to thank for hearing the concert so soon...!

MattB
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jazzfascist
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« Reply #13 on: February 20, 2006, 08:13:07 AM »

I was going to see Smile the next day on the 21th, so I stayed away from the Smile Shop board, well partly, I managed to sneak a glimpse and saw something about three movements.
Next day I boarded the plane for London. When I had arrived and checked in at my hotel, I picked up my ticket, at the Royal Festival Hall, which is a not particularly charming concrete cultural center lying by the Thames. I remember thinking it was strange, that there wasn’t any more commotion considering the big event, it was like martians had arrived but no one cared, it was just another concert apparently.
Then I dallied around in London and then I decided to go back to the hotel and put on a jacket, so I wouldn’t be underdressed and ruin somebody’s big evening. Turned out everybody came more or less in their normal clothes and I was overdressed. By the time I left the hotel there was about half an hour to the concert. Thinking I was smart, I decided to take the tube, not from Paddington that I had arrived at, but from a station which according to a map on the hotel was quite near, but which I wasn’t really sure where was situated. Of course I got lost and ran frantically around and couldn’t see a cab either. Eventually, by the grace of god or something, I found my way back to Paddington station, when there was about a quarter-ten minutes till the concert started. I got on the tube and sat with my heart in my hands, till I got to the station at the Embankment, ran wildeyed over the bridge to Royal Festival Hall and got there about one minute before the concert was supposed to start. The concert was a little late, so eventually I was in time and actually even saw Van Dyke arrive and clapped dutifully. Then Brian and band came on and started with their unplugged set. I was seated at third row almost center, so I had a good view. In the front row there was an older woman, with crutches, that danced around and gave Brian loud standing ovations after almost each number, I think she made him a little nervous at some points. I sat beside, I think, a french couple who was pretty cool during the whole thing, at my other side sat some american fans, that seemed to, or pretended to, know David Leaf. I think after first set, Brian wanted to do the rockstar thing and went to the front of the stage and touched a few of his devoted fans’ hands, but then it was like he decided it was too stupid and he just went off. They were filming the whole thing, so there were also cameramen sweeping the audience once in a while.
The next day I went to Tate Modern gallery and walked around, with my Smile tape playing in my walkman, looking at the icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson's Weather Project, which consisted of a big installation of the sun. That was a trip too.

Søren
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MEConner
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« Reply #14 on: February 20, 2006, 08:26:13 AM »

*de-lurk*

Steeler 1.0, were you up 'in the gods' high up at the back of the hall on the left as the audience faces the stage? And was the guy with the mic on his lapel also scribbling furiously throughout the concert? 'Cause if so, that was me, and the notes I was writing not only became the bulk of what appeared on the Smile Shoppe board late in the middle of that night, but were invaluable when I came to write the article on recording SMiLE for Sound On Sound a few months later. And as for the lapel mic - it was the best I could do. It was a stereo mic and every time I moved too much, I worried that I would cause a huge rustling sound on the recording. So I tried not to move very much - which was hard, given that I was trying to write notes, worry about the mic - oh, and of course, I was having my mind absolutely BLOWN by the incredible music and how well everything worked together.

Heady times indeed. That was quite a night!

Having said that, the next night, when I went back as a press guest and got a seat in the first few rows - that was in some ways even more amazing. I didn't write anything that night, I was just able to enjoy the music (and WHAT music!), and of course, the second night was an absolutely stunning performance, too - the one that collared Brian the 10-minute ovation at the end. I count myself really lucky to have been at that one.

MattB

*re-lurk*

Matt, that was me!  I was going to talk to you during the night but I didn't want to talk on your recording! Smiley  Since your POV was the same as mine that night, I would love to work out a trade for your version---jacket ruffling and all.
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« Reply #15 on: February 20, 2006, 09:06:39 AM »

I was lucky to get tickets for the 2nd show at the RFH. It was weird - I considered myself a BB/Brian Wilson fan - had been well into the more unusual stuff (Smiley, Wild Honey, Friends etc.) but somehow had missed the Smile material. Someone once taped some of the tracks from the GV boxset for me but it just seemed to be an endless bicycle rider riff whenever I listened to it and I assumed that perhaps Smile was more myth than quality music.

Anyway, the point is I got to hear a lot of the Smile music completely fresh and it amazed me. The standout points were OMP/YAMS, SFC, Child (the whole 2nd movement in fact) - These songs just made me think - Ok now I see what all the fuss is about! It really was a powerful experience for me and I have to say it began quite an obsession with the music of Smile from that point in. I think rarely a day has gone by that I haven't listened to either the 66/67 sessions or BWPS. I wonder if the obsession is due to the fascination with the myth, or just the quality of the music itself? Who knows - the concert was amazing though!
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JRauch
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« Reply #16 on: February 20, 2006, 09:21:03 AM »

My first SMiLE-concert was at March 10th in Frankfurt. The music was still quite new to me, I was a fan for maybe 3 or 4 month. So during the 2nd movement, somewhere around "Song For Children", I somehow lost the track in terms of which song is being played right now. I stopped to analyze the sequence, what was old or new etc. It became just one big wave of mindblowing music. A that moment I really experienced what the word "overwhelmed" means.

I still get shivers when I think about that night.
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Dance as if no one's looking. Wrestle things out to bring moment to your own sense of discovery, and make the world a better place. This is no time for whiners.  –  Van Dyke Parks
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« Reply #17 on: February 20, 2006, 10:23:45 AM »

Happy Birthday SMiLE!

That was one of the most exciting days of my life.

I remember waking up that Saturday morning and going to my computer before doing anything else. I got to bw.com and it was totally revamped! The Heroes & Villains (fire) Intro was playing while the SMiLE tour logo was spinning around! I almost jumped through the ceiling. I kept waiting for news of the show, remembering that London was 7 hours ahead of Indiana time. The first report comes in from someone standing outside the RFH. They're running through Heroes and Villains! I don't know how many of those 'oh wow, this is REALLY going to happen' moments I had, but every piece of news gave me that feeling. Then starting time approached and by this time rumors were already out that SMiLE would be a 3 movement piece. I remember being thrilled! I waited, waited, and waited as I watched the number of people logged in to the SMiLE Shop to hear the first bit of news increase. Finally a report! Three Movements, closing with Good Vibrations! Everyone coming on to the board was completely blown away. People were constantly posting about their takes on the show. I remember your review, Matt B.. That following night and day were just amazing, and then finally being able to hear it just did me in. I couldn't believe it. Still can't, really.
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SurferGirl7
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« Reply #18 on: February 20, 2006, 12:08:26 PM »

To think that I wasn't a fan then... doesn't seem like two years to me  Shocked
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Aegir
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« Reply #19 on: February 20, 2006, 05:55:54 PM »

I was a Beach Boys fan in February 2004, but not as much a one as I am now. I remember sometime during the summer of 2004 (I think) I read the usual intro story to it, you know, the "After Pet Sounds, Brian blah blah blah blah Van Dyke Parks blah blah blah cornfield blah blah nervous breakdown blah Smiley Smile" blurb, got excited, downloaded a whole mess of tracks, et cetera. Then a few weeks later I was flipping through the channels on TV and Brian was on Larry King Live, talking about SMilE, and how it would be released later in the year! Talk about instant gratification!
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« Reply #20 on: February 21, 2006, 11:33:00 AM »

Although I now live in America, I am British.  Like others have already stated, as soon as the tickets were announced, I purchased some and then figured I would worry about the finer details of getting there later.

Needless to say I flew over on the Thursday (day before) and arrived late at night.  I was picked up at Heathrow by a couple of mates and went straight out for a curry and several pints of cheap European lager. 

Amazingly, the next morning, we awoke early (7am) and headed straight for the London Eye.  After viewing the city on a murky, cold February morning, we headed for the nearest greasy spoon cafe for a full English breakfast.  By the time we had eaten that we wondered over to Covent Garden, where it was now about 11am.   A quintet of strings had just started to play Eine Kline Nacht Musik, so we decided to sit down at the cafe and have a listen.  Two bottles of red wine later we were in good spirits.  Next up was a couple of good old traditional pubs where we quaffed some fine ales.  I think after that we headed for a noodle restaurant for some much needed substance - although the memory of this part of the day is, not surprisingly, a little hazy.  Anyway, we headed over to another pub on the opposite side of the river to the RFH at around 6pm, where I had arranged to meet a couple of other people and the drinking and joviality continued. 

By the time we headed over to the RFH, nerves had banished any semblance of intoxication.  I really was as sober as a judge - not sure how that works, but it did.

The concert was incredible.  The first half was brilliant, although it wasn't why we were there, was it?  The second half was sublime.  I had tears running down my cheeks for most of SMiLE.  It is an experience that will live with me forever and something that I truly feel honoured to have witnessed.
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