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Author Topic: Mike Love wanted the Beach Boys to finish SMiLE  (Read 21652 times)
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« Reply #25 on: January 09, 2011, 09:56:06 PM »

I don't prefer any of the BWPS tracks to the ones laid down back in '66-'67. Even the snippets done back then  are better than the full songs on BWPS.
As far as the vocals go, aside from H&V, and 'Who Ran The Iron Horse', how many of the original tracks have full blown BB's vocals on them?

How about "Our Prayer", "Wonderful"," Vegetables", and "Cabin Essence".  I guess you could also count "Good Vibrations".
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« Reply #26 on: January 09, 2011, 10:17:44 PM »

I think what Peter so eloquently said is what a lot of people feel; that BWPS and the original SMiLE, are almost 2 separate entities. The tracks may be the 'same', however they come from 2 different places.

Funny thing to see opinions shifting since the initial blasts of BWPS fever, I remember getting into a few heated debates on the old Smile board when I said a similar thing about the 66-67 Smile never being designed as nor considered for a full-blown live performance but rather as the studio creation as it was unfolding at that time from session to session. Remember the only song that was performed live both in 1966 and 2004 needed to have a special instrument *custom designed and created by Bob Moog* just to pull off a competent stripped-down live performance in 1966.

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« Reply #27 on: January 09, 2011, 11:34:20 PM »

Funny thing to see opinions shifting since the initial blasts of BWPS fever, I remember getting into a few heated debates on the old Smile board when I said a similar thing about the 66-67 Smile never being designed as nor considered for a full-blown live performance but rather as the studio creation as it was unfolding at that time from session to session. Remember the only song that was performed live both in 1966 and 2004 needed to have a special instrument *custom designed and created by Bob Moog* just to pull off a competent stripped-down live performance in 1966.

Can you elaborate?

How about "Our Prayer", "Wonderful"," Vegetables", and "Cabin Essence".  I guess you could also count "Good Vibrations".

I don't think Wonderful was fully finished...
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« Reply #28 on: January 10, 2011, 09:21:27 AM »

I am certain that Smile would never have been completed with BB involvement. Brian simply needed to do it with new people. He had excellent support from Darian, who balanced past work and present possibilities when it was in process. It is, like Rhapsody in Blue, a tone poem created for live performance. Smile in the 60s was a record.

Smile`s premier in 2004 was an incredibly moving experience. One I could never get from a record. Records are sonic reproductions of a performance. Music is first and foremost a live art. The thrill of making it is for me in live performance. Brian used his 60s work as a starting point for the finished Smile. It is timeless music, at times haunting in its beauty.

Darian helped VDP by using his knowledge of past Smile to help facilitate Smile as Brian and VDP completed it for live work. The beauty of Smile live is imcoparable to any record--60s or from the 04 sessions. The first movement is deeply disturbing and saddening as it reviews the movement of the Europeans across the North American continent to Hawaii, destroying Native American culture. The second movement to me is my favorite, reflecting as it does from life`s beginning to old age and beyond. There is a profund scope of emotions within. Movement 3 mixes humor and pathos as it runs through several vignettes of human consciousness. Good Vibrations follows a closing reprise of Prayer, invoking the idea of Love being the binding element of our spirituality.

I think that comparing Smile 67 to the completed work is unfair to both pieces of work. Records are records, but live performance is irreplaceable. It is how humans have expressed their music throughout time, and always will be. Brian now writes for live performance. That is probably how he will create for the rest of his creative life. His recorded work in the studio from the 60s is a different  type of creative process, and in my opinion, needs to be regarded as such.



Great call, Peter. Strongly reminds me of what Sergiu Celibidache thought about a ‘performance’ as a one-off musical event, never to be repeated, but to be approached (perhaps improved upon) in a next attempt.
Makes me reminisce about the first time I heard ‘Ms. O’Leary’s Cow’, live in London, February 2004. A once-in-a-lifetime experience. I had scrupulously avoided hearing anything of it beforehand (I was at the 3rd show at the RFH). The chorus, now that was something… it’s still reverberating in my head, so to speak.
I shudder to imaging having heard it at a listening post in some anonymous record store instead, for the first time I mean.
BTW: Celibidache (‘Celi’ for his loyalists) was bootlegged many, many times by fans. Surely reminds me of someone…
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« Reply #29 on: January 10, 2011, 11:19:25 AM »

I am certain that Smile would never have been completed with BB involvement. Brian simply needed to do it with new people. He had excellent support from Darian, who balanced past work and present possibilities when it was in process. It is, like Rhapsody in Blue, a tone poem created for live performance. Smile in the 60s was a record.

Smile`s premier in 2004 was an incredibly moving experience. One I could never get from a record. Records are sonic reproductions of a performance. Music is first and foremost a live art. The thrill of making it is for me in live performance. Brian used his 60s work as a starting point for the finished Smile. It is timeless music, at times haunting in its beauty.

Darian helped VDP by using his knowledge of past Smile to help facilitate Smile as Brian and VDP completed it for live work. The beauty of Smile live is imcoparable to any record--60s or from the 04 sessions. The first movement is deeply disturbing and saddening as it reviews the movement of the Europeans across the North American continent to Hawaii, destroying Native American culture. The second movement to me is my favorite, reflecting as it does from life`s beginning to old age and beyond. There is a profund scope of emotions within. Movement 3 mixes humor and pathos as it runs through several vignettes of human consciousness. Good Vibrations follows a closing reprise of Prayer, invoking the idea of Love being the binding element of our spirituality.

I think that comparing Smile 67 to the completed work is unfair to both pieces of work. Records are records, but live performance is irreplaceable. It is how humans have expressed their music throughout time, and always will be. Brian now writes for live performance. That is probably how he will create for the rest of his creative life. His recorded work in the studio from the 60s is a different  type of creative process, and in my opinion, needs to be regarded as such.



Great call, Peter. Strongly reminds me of what Sergiu Celibidache thought about a ‘performance’ as a one-off musical event, never to be repeated, but to be approached (perhaps improved upon) in a next attempt.
Makes me reminisce about the first time I heard ‘Ms. O’Leary’s Cow’, live in London, February 2004. A once-in-a-lifetime experience. I had scrupulously avoided hearing anything of it beforehand (I was at the 3rd show at the RFH). The chorus, now that was something… it’s still reverberating in my head, so to speak.
I shudder to imaging having heard it at a listening post in some anonymous record store instead, for the first time I mean.
BTW: Celibidache (‘Celi’ for his loyalists) was bootlegged many, many times by fans. Surely reminds me of someone…


At the peril of opening up a can of worms, I think a lot of what is being said here, is a complete insult to the intelligence of Beach Boys fans who purchased and wore out the grooves of the Smiley Smile album in 1967.  To interject a little humor, I would play the 2004 CD while driving my then 15 year old to school and remind him that I was just 15 when it was released and waited those 37 years for the project to be "completed."  He would do a little "neighing" of his own to the Barnyard song...

The tracks of the 1967 have been rearranged and renamed.  There are tracks which appeared in the Good Vibrations Box Set and a French edition of Smiley (with a 1964 or so photo on the front, so it is not even a Smile era photo) and with the exception of the staged "Fire" scene, which was a pseudo pyrotechnics approach following the catastrophic Great White fire calamity in Rhode Island, USA, when, I, too saw SMiLE live.  Surf's Up, which Brian sang on a Leonard Bernstein young composer series, in 1967 is also included on the 2004 version, although the title track to its own LP, released later in time. 

It is not new music.  In my opinion it is "revisited and re-arranged."  And for those who have listened to this fine crystalline work, since 1967, and compare the music with the tracks, for example "I Love to Say Dada" is "Roll Plymouth Rock" and others use sections of Smiley, which is not a "perfect overlay" but I find the structure is essentially there. 

Was an audience ready to receive a performed Smiley Smile in 1967? No way.  Were they in 2004, after this "living legend" work which had been written on, studied about, and theorized about "took on a life of its own" and perhaps it might have been a vision, which is entirely possible of Brian, that this opus, would be performed without the distractions of "Help Me, Rhonda" or "Wendy" but in that time, at the height of the Vietnam War, and raging race riots in the US, it probably would not have been possible. 

And the whole "colonialism" issues were revisited in "The Trader" on Holland subsequent to this. I think Al Jardine has done a  nice job with his Postcard release, but the sparkling aspect of this work, for me,  is that there are Beach Boys, singing the tracks.  Not unlike Flaubert's Madame Bovary, where he worked 5 years looking for "le mot juste" Al is said to have worked an identical 5 years and it shows.  I am glad I did not get it right off the bat, so I could listen to it later, and decide for myself as to its merit.  Excellent.

It was very cool to see Brian, perform live, mixing both his Beach Boys classic material with his "body of work" material as he did for  his Pet Sounds tour in 2000, which I also saw.  It is what we "lifers" do.  We see these guys, in any format, because the music is of such quality.  But, this whole "revisionist history" concept is vexing to those of us, who, under one umbrella or another have managed to have a fairly close "assembly"  of Smiley and bonus tracks (plus or minus a couple) to line up and compare them.   Is it an exact match?  No. But it is pretty darned close. 

The other aspect of this time lapse is that those who did not have the attention span or the appreciation to have sat for the entire work, in 1967, now have the attention span and the dough.  And the format was not practical in all likelihood to perform this work as a solo performance, given the then-existing format for rock concerts in 1967.   

The "record" was the means of getting the work out to the people, to the furthest reaches of this planet, who have never seen the Boys live, nor will they ever see them.  The Smile legend took on "a life of its own," and for many it was pure curiosity, in my view, which drew them to the newer version of the original work, which many did not really know.  We all love a story with a happy ending.  We rejoice for Brian's return to perform for us.  Lots of grown ups, in their 60's, in tears to see Brian for the first time.  There is a lot of love out there for Brian.   

What worked and was marketable to baby boomers who had the money to pay for a theater seat, a DVD, CD and a beer, were largely teens or college students in the late 1960's. "No money, honey!" was the motto of the late 1960's.  The video link in a thread below provides interviews and work, which is in the musicians own words...Brian's telling why the project was shelved...no one put any words in his mouth...

And, I struggle with the notion of the "superiority of the 04 work" without the voice of Carl Wilson and the other Beach Boys vocals with the allegations of a lack of completion under one umbrella or another.  And, suggest that people line up the 1967 Smiley plus whatever released tracks alongside the newer version and decide for themselves.  If you have listened to this work for 40+ years, I think you're qualified! (in my book)    Wink               
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« Reply #30 on: January 10, 2011, 11:28:35 AM »

Funny thing to see opinions shifting since the initial blasts of BWPS fever, I remember getting into a few heated debates on the old Smile board when I said a similar thing about the 66-67 Smile never being designed as nor considered for a full-blown live performance but rather as the studio creation as it was unfolding at that time from session to session. Remember the only song that was performed live both in 1966 and 2004 needed to have a special instrument *custom designed and created by Bob Moog* just to pull off a competent stripped-down live performance in 1966.

Can you elaborate?

Sure! When the Beach Boys and Brian realized they'd need to tour behind Good Vibrations they needed a Theremin. They asked Dr. Paul Tanner who was the musician on all the sessions and a busy guy in Hollywood to tour with them for that one song. Tanner could not do it. Then they sought out Bob Moog, since he was (and still is) one of the only people making and selling authentic Theremins on the market. They found Moog's associate Walter Sear (current owner of Sear Sound, one of the finest studios in the world for vintage gear). Sear showed them the real Theremin but no one could play it or keep it in tune.

Sear then took the problem to his boss Bob Moog, and Moog came up with the ribbon controller idea, which had the same control basically as Paul Tanner's custom "Tannerin" as heard on the records but which was less complex and easier to play and carry around on tour. That Moog Ribbon Controller is what Mike used on tour from then on, including the Ed Sullivan show which featured closeups of him playing it, and Moog himself incorporated that controller into some of his earliest modular Moog instruments.

That same ribbon controller is what The Beatles used on Abbey Road for all the sweeps and glissando effects. It originated with a request from The Beach Boys to have a touring version of a Theremin that could be played easier than a real one.

Good Vibrations is the only tune played live both in 66 and 40 years later on the various concert tours. They needed a custom instrument built for that *one song* to be done live in a convincing albeit stripped-down way for audiences. Imagine not having Kurzweil, and triggering, and sampling, and a full horn section and trying to do a good, full live version of Smile in 67.

I submit Smile in its origins was never intended to be reproduced live, and some other fans and Smile researchers disagreed a few years ago.
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« Reply #31 on: January 10, 2011, 12:28:44 PM »

Great call, Peter. Strongly reminds me of what Sergiu Celibidache thought about a ‘performance’ as a one-off musical event, never to be repeated, but to be approached (perhaps improved upon) in a next attempt.
Makes me reminisce about the first time I heard ‘Ms. O’Leary’s Cow’, live in London, February 2004. A once-in-a-lifetime experience. I had scrupulously avoided hearing anything of it beforehand (I was at the 3rd show at the RFH). The chorus, now that was something… it’s still reverberating in my head, so to speak.
I shudder to imaging having heard it at a listening post in some anonymous record store instead, for the first time I mean.
BTW: Celibidache (‘Celi’ for his loyalists) was bootlegged many, many times by fans. Surely reminds me of someone…


BWPS is not a finishing of Smile. It's a re-recording and completion of fragments  belonging to the Smile sessions. There is no way to assert that what came out is the Smile album as was conceived and left unfinished in 66-67. In fact, there's no way to show that Brian had a full album concept at the time. Nor is it possible to prove that Smile was going to consist only of the tracks that appeard on BWPS, which is almost like saying that it was going to consist of the tracks BW had recorded until  he quit . In the end, what we got is a nice edit and finishing of the tracks that were doing the fanboy rounds for decades.
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« Reply #32 on: January 10, 2011, 02:59:12 PM »

I like to think people who complain about BWPS are just secretly jealous of Darian being to able to consult Brian about his own Smile mix  Grin
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« Reply #33 on: January 10, 2011, 04:06:58 PM »

Smile is as finished and unfinished as anyone wants it to be. The original sessions, those original months of creativity, were never _resolved_ per se. They dribbled out and were transmuted into something else. They will never -- can never -- be finished. No one can do it, and the Brian of the 60s is gone.

But I think Smile is finished if you mean the mythical project that really started tormenting Brian in the 80s. The Smile that he _remembered_ and tried to re-create in songs like Rio Grande and Happy Days, the Smile that he had to answer questions about in interviews. When he and Darian and Van Dyke sat down and tackled that material, and put it into a final form for performance, that was finishing _something_. And it's also difficult to deny, as Adam said, that the final, finished running order makes the piece work in a really cool way.

It was an end for Brian. He did his part. But it's not an end for us, or for those original recordings. I fear that the economics of the record business make it increasingly unlikely, but a Smile sessions set has been a no-brainer for years. It would allow the general public to experience both visions of the material -- and I don't think either suffers for the comparison.
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« Reply #34 on: January 10, 2011, 04:41:03 PM »

But I think Smile is finished if you mean the mythical project that really started tormenting Brian in the 80s.

I might agree, with you, by why do you say that it started tormenting him in the '80s. You think he was somewhat "over it" from like '67 to the end of the '70s? I think I might agree with you on that actually. I mean, I'm sure it wasn't his favorite issue, but I think he accepted what happened with the songs, like "Surf's Up" being the title-track of the '71 album, "Cool Cool Water," etc. I think the constant questions probably did annoy him, if only because he is an artist, and many artists are into having to revisit their old material, no matter how good that material is. On the concert stage is one thing, but having to go into the studio and try to get in the mindset of where you were, especially if you don't want to, probably isn't something many artists wanna do. I think Brian resolved SMiLE with Smiley Smile and (with the help of Carl and Reilly) the release of "Surf's Up".

Just my opinion. I think this may become "the thread", but maybe not.
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« Reply #35 on: January 10, 2011, 04:56:48 PM »

I just mean that Smile doesn't seem to have acquired its current status until the 80s -- when boots began to spread far and wide and folks like Dom P. started writing about it in the present tense. This is just a feeling or intuition. But the Brian of Sunflower or Love You or even coked-out 80-83 doesn't seem to really talk about or even be bothered by the project _as much_. He even helped reassemble Surf's Up. So something changed -- probably his near-death experience and second Landy treatment, the publicity around that and nostalgia for the 60s -- and Smile became something much more pressing. It became a symbol of lost promise. And you get to BW88, and Brian -- someone who is not known for doing a lot of self-conscious looking back -- allows himself to be persuaded to do a full-on Smile homage. An odd time.
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« Reply #36 on: January 10, 2011, 05:27:07 PM »

Aw crap here we go again......



Why don't they just run some old archived SMiLE Shop posts?Huh??
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« Reply #37 on: January 10, 2011, 05:39:41 PM »

Smile is as finished and unfinished as anyone wants it to be.

Exactly.  Very well said and an excellent post.
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« Reply #38 on: January 10, 2011, 05:50:59 PM »

Smile is as finished and unfinished as anyone wants it to be. The original sessions, those original months of creativity, were never _resolved_ per se. They dribbled out and were transmuted into something else. They will never -- can never -- be finished. No one can do it, and the Brian of the 60s is gone.

But I think Smile is finished if you mean the mythical project that really started tormenting Brian in the 80s. The Smile that he _remembered_ and tried to re-create in songs like Rio Grande and Happy Days, the Smile that he had to answer questions about in interviews. When he and Darian and Van Dyke sat down and tackled that material, and put it into a final form for performance, that was finishing _something_. And it's also difficult to deny, as Adam said, that the final, finished running order makes the piece work in a really cool way.

OK, so it's putting unwanted memories behind. But not finishing an album. Smiley
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« Reply #39 on: January 10, 2011, 07:40:44 PM »

It is happy that BWPS is a great accomplishment for Brian but it is sad that the other Boys haven't been given closure with SMiLE.
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« Reply #40 on: January 10, 2011, 07:54:01 PM »


OK, so it's putting unwanted memories behind. But not finishing an album. Smiley
Actually it is. Because it is an album that was finished and released. So while it isn't finishing what would have been the album, and may not be finishing what you wish had been the album, it most certainly is finishing an album.
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« Reply #41 on: January 10, 2011, 08:10:44 PM »


OK, so it's putting unwanted memories behind. But not finishing an album. Smiley
Actually it is. Because it is an album that was finished and released. So while it isn't finishing what would have been the album, and may not be finishing what you wish had been the album, it most certainly is finishing an album.

Exactly!
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« Reply #42 on: January 10, 2011, 08:21:53 PM »

I have to kinda wonder if it really gave Brian a lot of peace of mind that he finished it. I mean, lets look at the facts. Pre-boxset, he had already released "Heroes & Villains", "Vegetables", "Fall Breaks...", "She's Goin' Bald", "With Me Tonight", "Wind Chimes", "Wonderful", "Whistle In", "Mama Says', "Little Bird", "Our Prayer", "Cabinessence", "Cool Cool Water", and "Surf's Up". That gives quite a lot of insight to the fact, besides "Cabinessence" and "Our Prayer", which apparently were finished without him, he used either SMiLE era ideas in other songs like "Little Bird" and "Cool Cool Water" or outright used the song in a different situation like "Wonderful", "Surf's Up", etc. I think maybe he made peace somewhat with SMiLE after the "Surf's Up" situation in '71, and was content to move his music forward in whatever way he wanted after that. I do agree that until the late-ish '80's he just seemed like he would talk about SMiLE, but kinda with the attitude that it was something that didn't quite work out. After the rumors of the release of it in the late '80's and throughout the '90s and into the 2000's, he seemed a bit more weird about it.
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« Reply #43 on: January 10, 2011, 08:29:18 PM »

It is happy that BWPS is a great accomplishment for Brian but it is sad that the other Boys haven't been given closure with SMiLE.

Closure for Brian was BWPS. I don't think the remaining living members care much with exception to royalty checks from a formal SMiLE release.
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« Reply #44 on: January 10, 2011, 10:27:54 PM »

Whether it was closure or not, I do think that the public adulation and very positive reviews it received was good for his ego, which put him on the road to being more productive.
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« Reply #45 on: January 11, 2011, 12:20:19 AM »

Smile is as finished and unfinished as anyone wants it to be.

Exactly.  Very well said and an excellent post.

Seconded. I can't see a can of worms having been opened here. Filledeplage (see above) is entirely entitled to her own experience of the whole enterprise (hmmm, alliteration galore). I described how I felt, in February 2004, a musical sensation that towers above everything else I ever was witness to. Of course I know that many folks haven't been as lucky as I was... getting tickets, traveling to London on a shoestring budget, meeting wonderful people in the process, and so on.

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« Reply #46 on: January 11, 2011, 02:45:35 AM »


OK, so it's putting unwanted memories behind. But not finishing an album. Smiley
Actually it is. Because it is an album that was finished and released. So while it isn't finishing what would have been the album, and may not be finishing what you wish had been the album, it most certainly is finishing an album.

you're right. What was started in 2003/4 was finished and released. What was started in 66-67 was re-recorded, released, but not finished.  Smiley
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« Reply #47 on: January 11, 2011, 02:54:26 AM »


OK, so it's putting unwanted memories behind. But not finishing an album. Smiley
Actually it is. Because it is an album that was finished and released. So while it isn't finishing what would have been the album, and may not be finishing what you wish had been the album, it most certainly is finishing an album.

you're right. What was started in 2003/4 was finished and released. What was started in 66-67 was re-recorded, released, but not finished.  Smiley

How long did the finishing of BWPS take, actually? I seem to recall that it was an amazingly brief period...
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« Reply #48 on: January 11, 2011, 04:58:44 AM »

It is happy that BWPS is a great accomplishment for Brian but it is sad that the other Boys haven't been given closure with SMiLE.

Closure for Brian was BWPS. I don't think the remaining living members care much with exception to royalty checks from a formal SMiLE release.

Maybe but I don't think so, it seems to me like something the rest of the Boys always wanted to return to, to "finish" but it just didn't happen.
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« Reply #49 on: January 11, 2011, 05:55:16 AM »

Smile is as finished and unfinished as anyone wants it to be.

Exactly.  Very well said and an excellent post.

Seconded. I can't see a can of worms having been opened here. Filledeplage (see above) is entirely entitled to her own experience of the whole enterprise (hmmm, alliteration galore). I described how I felt, in February 2004, a musical sensation that towers above everything else I ever was witness to. Of course I know that many folks haven't been as lucky as I was... getting tickets, traveling to London on a shoestring budget, meeting wonderful people in the process, and so on.


Thanks, Don.  The SMiLE performance was spectacular and not to have been missed (by me.)  I agree wholeheartedly.  [One of my favorite members in his band is Nelson Bragg who is just fabulous.]  But the actual "tracks" which were not on the original Smiley - such as the "Cantina" version of Heroes and Villains, among others, slowly finding their places on subsequent works or in the context of bonus tracks, appear to have been "reconfigured" for what would work in the performance context. 

Sometimes, as you must know academically, I suspect, one might work on a paper or dissertation and, in the interest of improvement, there is a constant "tweaking" to such an extent that you lose the overall global perspective, to make all the sections "mesh."  And you have to "put is aside" for the sake of your perspective and to live. Brian says this on the video in the thread below.

How many artists (painters and sculptors, etc.) have "trashed or shelved" works/ canvasses considered "masterpieces" by everyone else, because it did not  fit the original vision of the finished product?   

The "performance" can be a "distractor" here.  My perception, which may not be shared, is that a gifted pair (certainly Darien is giften and his young eyes are fresh) and it is said that Van Dyke (whose work on the Popeye movie with the arrangements, was a delight for my kids) worked on this as well.  Not the issue. For me, what I look at is whether the music sections were essentially the same as those recorded by "the Brothers et al" in 1966-7. 

Was the performance sort of a "full circle" thing for Brian?  I hope so. 

First - Was there a marked difference in what "the critics" (persons hired for their opinions, often which established biases) had to say as between the 1967 and 2004 versions?  You bet.  Did it affect the sales and promotion?  Ya.

Second - Were the critics kinder and more enthusiastic, given the time-lapse, to Brian's return to live performance (with the support and advocacy of his wife) and loss of his entire family?  Ya, I think so.  The public was overjoyed to see him in person.

Third - Did these critics bother to "examine thoroughly" the music itself (with the lyric changes,) the tracking sequence and the vocal work done by the Band in the earlier version?  I don't think so, to a larger measure.  Most did not know the difference or distinguish as between the two versions.             

What Brian wrote, to a greater extent was ahead of his time.  This is not unlike the construction of Eiffel Tower, with which almost everyone is familiar.  It was criticized as monstrous, ugly and was to have been taken down after the World's Fair in Paris of 1889, and a petition of protest, was sent to the government to promote its removal after the Fair. Alexandre Dumas was a signatory.  Public opinion does change over time.  People were given the opportunity and took a "second look" at both of these works, and they both became "monuments" of a sort...

We try to teach school kids to think critically and examine carefully and this work is no different.  I hope people carefully examine both works and decide for themselves.     Wink   
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