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Author Topic: Brian in the late '70s -early '80s.  (Read 4827 times)
petsite
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« on: June 15, 2016, 10:58:51 PM »

I came across an OLD thread about Brian playing with the group after the 76 comeback. I would love to hear from some others their experiences with seeing them during this period. I saw them every year from 1978 to 1984. Some days were great, most were not. I still remember one highlight was when they added Hawaii into the rotation in 1979 and Brian did a great falsetto on it. That was so cool.
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« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2016, 06:19:35 AM »

My father saw The Beach Boys in Maryland in 1981, and he said Brian just sat at his piano and really didn't participate in the show. 
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« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2016, 06:46:12 AM »

The evolution of Brian's "comeback" on stage in 1976 is intriguing. It always bugs me when articles suggest Brian never regularly toured with the band prior to C50 after 1965. He was a more or less regular touring member for a six-year stretch from 1976 to 1982.

After starting out a bit pensive and withdrawn (understandably), some of his late 1976 and 1977 shows actually had Brian in a weirdly hyped-up mode. It almost seemed a bit manic at times. You can see little clips of Brian playing bass in 1977 (and into 1978; though not so much in Australia) where he's super energetic.

There's this infamous clip:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j1EPXBQV3yM

I don't know if Brian was coked up or something around that time or what, but he had energy if nothing else.

It was later into 1978 and more starting in 1979 when Brian was much more withdrawn at shows. He stopped playing much if any bass, and just stayed off to the side of the stage at his piano. His lead vocal turns decreased as well, with a lot of the 15BO and "Love You" material dropped from the setlist.

In 1979 and 1980, the main Brian bits you were likely to see hear would be the opening lines to "Sloop John B", the bridge on "Surfer Girl", and co-lead vocal on WIBN with Al. Not much else. His mood also usually seemed to be rather blank. But with the rest of the band putting on generally tight, professional shows, Brian didn't need to do too much.

When Carl left in early 1981, they tossed several of Carl's leads into Brian's lap. He didn't seem to be in a different mood compared to 1980, so his 1981 and 1982 performances were perhaps among the weirdest. He was apparently hitting a wall in terms of substance abuse at this time too, which obviously didn't help. The rest of the band didn't help either during this time frame, clearly not rehearsing enough and apparently lacking a musical director to tell them that having Brian sing "Don't Worry Baby" in the original key was a bad idea. On a good day in 1981 and 82, Brian actually could sound pretty okay singing "God Only Knows" or even "Good Vibrations."

1982 was when Brian (and Dennis) started missing more shows. With Carl gone, this on a few occasions led to the first ever "Wilson-less" shows in the band's history.
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« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2016, 01:04:11 PM »

Regarding the "Wilsonless" shows in '82, did you witness this yourself or is this verified in John and Ian's book?
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« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2016, 01:08:50 PM »

Regarding the "Wilsonless" shows in '82, did you witness this yourself or is this verified in John and Ian's book?

It's verified in the Rusten/Stebbins book I believe (not 100% sure), and also on Eric's setlist archive. There was at least one, and possibly several shows in early 1982, while Carl was still gone, that Dennis and Brian both missed, leaving just Mike, Al, and Bruce.
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« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2016, 04:44:11 PM »

Saw Brian once - 1978 at the Providence Civic Center.

At one point Brian, on an electric piano of some type, started playing a different song. Dennis came down from the drum riser and pulled the plug on Brian where upon Brian charged at Dennis. Roadies came out and separated Brian and Dennis.

This was all midsong and the band kept playing during the cracks.

I don't recall if Brian played any bass at this show.
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« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2016, 05:27:11 PM »

Saw them in 1978 at Giants Stadium in New Jersey.  He wasn't disruptive as described in another post, but his contributions vocally were limited. 
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Ian
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« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2016, 06:03:30 PM »

I'd have to look at my own book to recall if there were any shows with no wilsons but I recall that on the June 1982 tour both Brian and Dennis were absent
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« Reply #8 on: June 16, 2016, 06:52:02 PM »

This was a sad time, Brian being dragged out on tour so he could "feel the love from the audience". He wasn't there when I saw the band in Seattle, 1978, but I've seen plenty of video footage of the band in this time frame to know that the most you could typically expect from Brian was a couple small lead vocal bits, and seeing him sit behind a grand piano, which was probably not in the mix most of the time. The first time I  saw Brian with the group, 1983 at the Kingdome, he didn't do much singing, although I remember he attempted WIBN until his voice or his nerves gave out, and Al had to take over. The one moment that stood out was when he got up from the piano to sing Runaway with Al - he was dancing! Looked much slimmer than he had in a long time. It was really encouraging, even that one moment, made me feel that he was getting better. Dennis, on the other hand, was quickly going down hill. Sad to see. He didn't even attempt to sing during that show.
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« Reply #9 on: June 16, 2016, 06:56:01 PM »

I've seen this on YouTube, really fun performance!
http://youtu.be/EbLx5Y5zRww
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« Reply #10 on: June 16, 2016, 07:10:15 PM »

I saw Brian many times with the Boys between '76 and '82 and I found nothing sad about it at all. I loved seeing Brian and couldn't believe it when he began to tour regularly with the group after having been out of the public eye for so long. I didn't care if he only sat at the piano and smoked.I would have gladly paid the price of a ticket just for that.
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« Reply #11 on: June 16, 2016, 10:56:01 PM »

Ian, I saw them on March 17th 1982 at the Summit here in Houston. Brian was not on stage that night, so it was down to Dennis to hold up the Wilson end. He was pretty drunk. I have posted this before, so sorry if you have heard it. When Mike got ready to do Be My Baby from his LP, he said that they had not rehearsed it much, so "If you have to take a piss, now would be the time".

Brian was wild on April 14th, 1978 at the Summit (this was right after that wonderful tour of Australia. It was also my first BB concert ever. I was so bummed out. When I went to my internship the next day at KILT here in Houston, I talked with a DJ who had dinner with the group the night before. He said after they ate, Brian ordered 5 white russians (cuz they tasted like milk shakes). When they arrived, he downed them 1-2-3-4-5 (within 2 minutes). Then he got up and headed out to the limo. So that may have had something to do with how he acted.

Mike and Brian in Houston, 1978.


Brian in Houston, Feb 1981. The year he broke my heart because he was SO out of it before the concert when I met him.
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« Reply #12 on: June 17, 2016, 02:00:11 AM »

There's a very short clip with great quality from around -78 I guess where Brian does some crazy moves with bass on stage. It's in the Endless Harmony DVD. I've never seen anything like that from him. It would be great if they released a full live concert from that period (when Brian played bass in the late 70s). Somebody should do a GIF with that Endless Harmony clip  Cheesy
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« Reply #13 on: June 17, 2016, 03:56:53 AM »

Unfortunately, I never got to see them live prior to 85 but a friend of mine who is older than me was working a show in 81 (no Carl) and he said that Brian wasn't in great shape for it but his most vivid memory is Dennis.  Apparently they had a case of beer (long neck bottles) set up by the drums and he would pound one and then throw the bottle hard off stage to make sure it would break.  He said Dennis seemed to be getting a kick out of it but by the end of the show he was blasted.
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« Reply #14 on: June 17, 2016, 08:08:39 AM »

There's a very short clip with great quality from around -78 I guess where Brian does some crazy moves with bass on stage. It's in the Endless Harmony DVD. I've never seen anything like that from him. It would be great if they released a full live concert from that period (when Brian played bass in the late 70s). Somebody should do a GIF with that Endless Harmony clip  Cheesy

There's this clip posted above from around the same time where Brian is doing the weird sort of hula hoop/thrusting thing:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j1EPXBQV3yM

The short clip from "Endless Harmony" is somewhat similar; he was sometimes pretty jacked on stage through whatever means.

I want to say that that 1978 clip with the jacked Brian from "Endless Harmony" is from Houston in 1978 right after the Australian tour; we could check his clothing against the pic posted above. Whatever show it is, it's one of few that was captured pro-shot for the venue's jumbo screens.
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« Reply #15 on: June 17, 2016, 08:14:47 AM »

This was a sad time, Brian being dragged out on tour so he could "feel the love from the audience". He wasn't there when I saw the band in Seattle, 1978, but I've seen plenty of video footage of the band in this time frame to know that the most you could typically expect from Brian was a couple small lead vocal bits, and seeing him sit behind a grand piano, which was probably not in the mix most of the time. The first time I  saw Brian with the group, 1983 at the Kingdome, he didn't do much singing, although I remember he attempted WIBN until his voice or his nerves gave out, and Al had to take over. The one moment that stood out was when he got up from the piano to sing Runaway with Al - he was dancing! Looked much slimmer than he had in a long time. It was really encouraging, even that one moment, made me feel that he was getting better. Dennis, on the other hand, was quickly going down hill. Sad to see. He didn't even attempt to sing during that show.

Just in case you weren't familiar with it, the full (more or less) pro-shot video of that 1983 Kingdome show (May 22 I recall) is circulating out there, and is probably on YouTube. Pretty shoddy sound (very thin-sounding, like listening to AM radio or something), but certainly interesting to see all six BBs on stage in the middle of 1983.
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« Reply #16 on: June 17, 2016, 08:25:06 AM »

When Brian played bass in the late 70's was he THE bassist for the band? (No backing member playing the actual bass parts while Brian more or less mimes--- C50)
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« Reply #17 on: June 17, 2016, 08:31:01 AM »

When Brian played bass in the late 70's was he THE bassist for the band? (No backing member playing the actual bass parts while Brian more or less mimes--- C50)

I believe some if not most of the times he played bass in the late 70s, he wasn't being doubled. I can't check at the moment, but I believe unless you see Ed Carter also playing bass at the same time at those shows, it's Brian doing the bass work. I recall his bass is definitely audible, for instance, during the extant Australia 1978 footage.
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« Reply #18 on: June 17, 2016, 10:32:15 AM »

I'd have to look at my own book to recall if there were any shows with no wilsons but I recall that on the June 1982 tour both Brian and Dennis were absent

Couldn't find any Wilsonless shows in 1981-82 in your splendid book, Ian. Nothing in Eric's indispensable setlist archive either...
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« Reply #19 on: June 17, 2016, 01:25:59 PM »

This was a sad time, Brian being dragged out on tour so he could "feel the love from the audience". He wasn't there when I saw the band in Seattle, 1978, but I've seen plenty of video footage of the band in this time frame to know that the most you could typically expect from Brian was a couple small lead vocal bits, and seeing him sit behind a grand piano, which was probably not in the mix most of the time. The first time I  saw Brian with the group, 1983 at the Kingdome, he didn't do much singing, although I remember he attempted WIBN until his voice or his nerves gave out, and Al had to take over. The one moment that stood out was when he got up from the piano to sing Runaway with Al - he was dancing! Looked much slimmer than he had in a long time. It was really encouraging, even that one moment, made me feel that he was getting better. Dennis, on the other hand, was quickly going down hill. Sad to see. He didn't even attempt to sing during that show.

Just in case you weren't familiar with it, the full (more or less) pro-shot video of that 1983 Kingdome show (May 22 I recall) is circulating out there, and is probably on YouTube. Pretty shoddy sound (very thin-sounding, like listening to AM radio or something), but certainly interesting to see all six BBs on stage in the middle of 1983.
Yes, watched that many times. The concert was much more exciting than the game - Gaylord Perry made one of his last starts for the Mariners, and got shelled versus the Brewers. In fact, the concert drew the biggest crowd of the M's 1983 season. Surprised they didn't bring them back the next year.
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« Reply #20 on: June 17, 2016, 02:48:32 PM »

Ian, I saw them on March 17th 1982 at the Summit here in Houston. Brian was not on stage that night, so it was down to Dennis to hold up the Wilson end. He was pretty drunk. I have posted this before, so sorry if you have heard it. When Mike got ready to do Be My Baby from his LP, he said that they had not rehearsed it much, so "If you have to take a piss, now would be the time".

Brian was wild on April 14th, 1978 at the Summit (this was right after that wonderful tour of Australia. It was also my first BB concert ever. I was so bummed out. When I went to my internship the next day at KILT here in Houston, I talked with a DJ who had dinner with the group the night before. He said after they ate, Brian ordered 5 white russians (cuz they tasted like milk shakes). When they arrived, he downed them 1-2-3-4-5 (within 2 minutes). Then he got up and headed out to the limo. So that may have had something to do with how he acted.

Mike and Brian in Houston, 1978.


Brian in Houston, Feb 1981. The year he broke my heart because he was SO out of it before the concert when I met him.


The 4-14-78 concert at the Summit was my first BB concert too! Before the concert we hung out behind the stage around the corridor leading to the backstage area. Brian came out before the show with a towel around his neck and signed a few autographs for some folks hanging around the rails like us. My buddy had a camera with no flash so most of his pics didn't turn out too good. One of them did turn out when he happened to snap a picture just as someone across the way took a flash photo. He captured Dennis strolling through the corridor and Al getting a kiss from some girl.

I don't remember a lot of details from the show, just that it was a huge thrill to finally see them perform live. Some of the footage from the show can be seen in the American Band doc - Brian playing bass, wearing sweat pants, and Dennis singing YASB at the end. Bought my first BB t-shirt after the show (which I still have  Grin). The one taken from the MIU rear cover photo.

I also saw them at the Summit in March 1982. I was so disappointed that Brian and Carl were not there. I wasn't even sure if I remembered Dennis being there but apparently he was.

I saw them several times during this period in Houston, Austin and San Antonio. I remember at a 1979 concert in San Antonio, Brian started singing the lead on WIBN and I could not believe how good he sounded. His voice was strong and pure, sounding like his 1966 self, but more mature. Then he suddenly stopped. Carl looked over at him and then jumped to the mic and started singing the lead. During another song that Brian sang lead on he sang the words "forgot the words". When Carl took a moment, as he always did, to thank Brian for writing all of this beautiful music for everyone to enjoy and as the crowd erupted in applause and cheers - Brian sat there twirling his extended index finger in the air as if to say, "Whoopee."
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Ian
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« Reply #21 on: June 17, 2016, 05:31:15 PM »

I have reviews for the majority of shows during that time but didn't have room for all of them in the book. I'll take a look in my files and see if there actually were any completely wilsonless shows pre 1984
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Ian
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« Reply #22 on: June 17, 2016, 05:42:59 PM »

There definitely were wilsonless shows in the later years. Carl didn't do the 1990 tour of Spain for example
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« Reply #23 on: June 17, 2016, 05:50:51 PM »

I guess this was posted in hopes that some of us would comment who were there at the time.  Possibly Brian was told that he had to tour to pay the bills?  I'll leave it to the experts to answer this.
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« Reply #24 on: June 18, 2016, 04:42:28 AM »

The '77 concert in Largo had some tense scenes captured on film from Brian and Mike. The arguments were wild!  LOL




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