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Author Topic: Brian Wilson - 2018 Tour Thread  (Read 229175 times)
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« Reply #900 on: November 16, 2018, 05:44:55 AM »

Out of my love for Brian, I have never expressed this, but by the end of my little analysis, you'll understand why.

In my opinion, since C50 Brian's voice has really declined year by year. Not only his pitch, but his timing. He began to voice things differently. (I don't mean to sound like a heartless bastard, I know a lot of this is due to health, I'm simply analyzing from a musical perspective, and I'll reiterate that I have nothing but love for Brian)

This all climaxed when I saw him in person in my hometown of Milwaukee in April 2017. He was doing so much "talk-singing" and phrasing the lyrics in an out of time way, that it really broke my heart and made me feel hopeless about Brian's condition and future of touring. Watch this video of Here Today to know what I mean; sad stuff  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M-8fBAFDgRI

I have more or less accepted that Brian's singing has declined and wouldn't recover. Until today.

Today I watched the videos on Youtube of his current tour, like this  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RpbSNUbnsis,  the singing isn't perfect, but his voice is stronger and for the most part, his pitch is really good. He's doing a little bit of the odd phrasing, but much less than when I saw him in 2017.

I know Brian's voice and interest can change day by day, so I might be over analyzing my experience or these videos, but I'm curious to see if anyone else has noticed this too?

At the end of the day, I'm just so happy that Brian is still touring. Seeing Mike's Beach Boys, Dean Torrence, David Marks, etc. make me smile. Seeing Brian brings me to tears. Of joy of course. 
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« Reply #901 on: November 16, 2018, 10:44:05 AM »

Having Al there is invaluable based on recent clips
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« Reply #902 on: November 16, 2018, 11:01:46 AM »

Those are some really good questions and comments, HJ.

From band member conversations, I can say that yeah, he's just really tired of Pet Sounds. As far back as the first show of his I saw in 2000, he often would tear into hit songs or other up tempo material with more enthusiasm than the tricker PS songs.

I do think having him rest up offstage during the seven-song span from "Don't Worry Baby" to "Sail on Sailor" wouldn't be a bad idea, and you could add an instrumental like Pet Sounds in there. It would be one thing if Brian was playing and singing enthusiastic backgrounds, like he was on the C50 shows. While he does play keys now and then, I noticed that he wasn't single any backing vocals at all last night.

As for the Christmas album shows ... I think we should all stay tuned. They could be miraculous or the opposite.

Here's my take as someone who was at the show (who can't travel, but my wonderful guest from out-of-town has attended several on this tour), Brian is getting better and better both physically and vocally and I was impressed with how he performed. I didn't even notice his lack of interaction with the audience and I forget how important that is to people, since I'm used to his moods (as someone who was there during his worst time 78-81, other than the Landy period).  Maybe that impacted my leaving the show feeling good about it - actually great in a certain sense.  I think the physical therapist and his loving assistants, on top of the music and his amazing band, are quite healing for him.  My guest commented that he's consistently improved in health and voice on this tour. I found it quite enjoyable after seeing many shows beginning in 1964.

Brian's a strong fighter in addition to his talents, and has endured so much in life that might have taken many of us out of this world, so if this is what he wants now, it's fine with me. I feel this way particularly since the audience was so joyous, and my own back injury was helped by the music (I needed help out of the venue myself, but lasting that long was something of a miracle for me), so I suspect it works for him, too.  However he wishes to continue with his career, I respect. People always have the choice to buy tickets or not. The audience was really enthused and happy, so I trust his judgment when it comes to these things. I understand the loving fans' concerns about him, and it's up to him.

I obviously noticed that he wasn't particularly interested in singing the encores, but he did walk on and off for them (with assistance) - and then he killed it on Love & Mercy for the finale - friends and I have never seen him neglect that song, so maybe that was his plan.

Thx, Clay for noting that it's his choice to tour. He's not being "forced" to do so in any way. I'm afraid I expressed a lot of anger in the past here toward a few people insisting on that idea (insulting my friends and Brian in the process), when I knew they were being fed crap propaganda from people with an agenda. One person claimed privately to me that they knew "too many to mention" in Brian's management for info (Um, that would be Brian, Melinda and Jean Sievers, who didn't speak with this person, so...) In any case, as long as Brian is happy and the fans enjoy the shows, it works for me. I'll bite my tongue this time if one of those "in the know" people with "contacts" posts again. I've become much better at ignoring them, since no one around Brian gives a damn anymore about what they say, nor do I.

If someone can remind me how, I'll try to post some nice photos. They're already up on www.BrianWilson.com's tour comments page and Ang Jones's FB page "Brian Wilson Tour," so someone better at downloading them and posting them here would probably do a better job, or I'd be happy to send the JPEGs. You have permission. Just let me know.

My guess would be that since Brian is not only improving in health and voice, and he loves the Christmas songs, those of you going should get a treat.

 
Such a great post, Deb. Thanks for sharing your incredible insight. You are a treasure!

Thx so much, Billy and OSD - lotsa love on this board and it's great.
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thelonelysea
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« Reply #903 on: November 16, 2018, 12:22:36 PM »

I know Brian's voice and interest can change day by day, so I might be over analyzing my experience or these videos, but I'm curious to see if anyone else has noticed this too?

I agree! I think if he's feeling a bit winded, he might hand off a couple of verses to Al or Rob, so that he can hit the next song even stronger. It seems like he's got good air support and prioritizes that for most of the songs. When I saw him in Richmond, the only talk-singing I noticed was during "Don't Talk," which is such a different style of singing than he does now that it makes sense to mix it up a bit. Smiley
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« Reply #904 on: November 16, 2018, 03:00:01 PM »

Thanks Debbie, good to hear BW is recovering well.
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« Reply #905 on: November 16, 2018, 05:30:12 PM »

Has anyone attended a recent meet and greet?  How is Brian appearing at these?  Does he sign autographs at all anymore?
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« Reply #906 on: November 16, 2018, 09:02:17 PM »

Just saw the Louisville show!

Brian was in pretty good voice, he seemed more excited to sing on the faster songs like I Get Around. Although he sounded less interested on some of the songs where Rob Bonfiglio sang most of the lead, I think he was overall he was pretty good!

I'm not totally familiar with all the arrangements they've been using on this tour, so maybe this was normal, but nobody did any vocals over the tag in I'm Waiting for the Day.

Blondie was wonderfully energetic every time he appeared on stage. I think he actually changed outfits in between when he first appeared and when he came back. I didn't know that Feel Flows was in their setlist now, so that was a pretty cool surprise. Also Ė does anybody know why Blondie isn't out for the full show? He appeared about nine songs in for the two he sang lead on, left, appeared during Sloop John B, left again, showed up during Pet Sounds, and then left until the encore. But every time he was stage though, he was great! Before he started Feel Flows he talked about how good it makes him feel to tour with Brian.

Also, I really dug Al on Here Today.
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« Reply #907 on: November 16, 2018, 09:53:11 PM »

^ Thanks for the review, and welcome to the board!
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« Reply #908 on: November 17, 2018, 03:32:27 PM »

Thanks! I actually created an account a year or two ago and didn't realized I'd never posted here, haha.

Also, there was an album of instrumental orchestrated arrangements of Beach Boys songs playing before the show began. I can't confirm it because I don't have copies on-hand, but I'm pretty sure it was the two Hollyridge Strings Play The Beach Boys albums.
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« Reply #909 on: November 17, 2018, 03:39:01 PM »

Thanks! I actually created an account a year or two ago and didn't realized I'd never posted here, haha.

Also, there was an album of instrumental orchestrated arrangements of Beach Boys songs playing before the show began. I can't confirm it because I don't have copies on-hand, but I'm pretty sure it was the two Hollyridge Strings Play The Beach Boys albums.

That is correct. Also playing at The Kennedy Center...I believe it was used on the 2016 PS dates too?
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« Reply #910 on: November 21, 2018, 10:01:38 PM »

Just saw Brian in Toronto. I've gone to see him every time he's come here since C50, so I know what to expect. Still, it seemed today even more than usual that he's really sick of singing these songs, maybe even of touring in general. The oddly phrased almost talk singing thing worked for some songs better than others (it was okay, for example on Good Vibrations, but Don't Talk was absolutely terrible). He can still sing when he wants to--there were several moments throughout the night where he actually put in the effort and delivered some good vocals, which made his performance everywhere else just seem bizarre. He did a really great job singing Love and Mercy, and God Only Knows was also all right. All that said, the man is 76 and has been doing this exact tour for like over a year now. If I were in his shoes, I'd be sick of it too. He definitely gave a better performance the last time he was here, but really, we don't go to his shows for the performance anyway, right? And especially with the Facebook post calling this the last time he'd come to Toronto, I didn't want to risk missing it.

On to the other stuff. Al Jardine is finally sounding a bit older, but he still put on a great show. I'm always happy to see him. Blondie was amazing is always, really lively and really taking over the stage whenever he came on. Definitely the highlight of the show. And I was blown away to hear Feel Flows! Darian also killed it singing Darlin'. The only thing I wasn't a fan of was the new singer--I think Brian said it's his son in law? He just didn't do it for me. I miss Matt Jardine, and I REALLY miss Foskett. Oh well.

At the end of the day, I enjoyed the show and I'm glad I went. I find Brian's lack of interest funny (not in a mocking way, but more in the same way we laugh at all the Brianisms throughout the years) rather than offensive (you got to love how he sings two lines of Fun, Fun, Fun and then just gives up and leaves Al to do the rest), and as I said, I do sympathize with how tired he must be from all these performances, especially at his age and with his back problems. And if he does wind up coming back to do another show, I'll definitely go see him again--every chance I get. He's probably my favourite human being on the planet.
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« Reply #911 on: November 21, 2018, 11:16:29 PM »

^ Great review and I feel the same way you do in regards to that final paragraph. I havenít seen him since 2015 and I canít personally vouch for the quality of his performances but I would see him regardless time and money permitting. I do think though it is was past time to retire Pet Sounds though, and the videos and descriptions do make it seem that he feels the same way but Iím not even going to venture a guess on that one. Again, I canít say either way because I donít know. What I do know is him touring may be the best thing for him because heís staying active ... this is probably the best physical activity for him, and he probably realizes that (speculation). I am looking forward to seeing what happens with the Christmas shows the most though.
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« Reply #912 on: November 22, 2018, 06:07:45 AM »

I agree it is time to retire the Pet Sounds Tour. I got to see it in 2016 and I very much enjoyed it. But it is time to tour under a different set list at least to keep Brian interested. PS was one of the greatest albums of all time, but anyone would find it to get a bit stale to sing for 2 years....
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« Reply #913 on: November 22, 2018, 07:14:23 AM »

I went last night.  Posted this on the other forum also, though I note Ninten has slightly difference opinion on one or two points:

The first portion of the show was excellent.  Brian very strong on opening number California Girls and sang well and on pitch for most of the show though there was some of the odd slurring and phrasing during Pet Sounds.  But really my head was swimming during that first portion and it is quite unbelievable to say that.  12 years since my first BW gig.

Darian so good on Darlin'.  Rob very very impressive I thought.  Blondie's voice has aged so well and he is just a boss as he knows.  Al as good as always.  The band's harmonies were tight and beautiful.

Oh and great sound and a great venue.
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« Reply #914 on: November 22, 2018, 09:21:23 AM »

I agree it is time to retire the Pet Sounds Tour. I got to see it in 2016 and I very much enjoyed it. But it is time to tour under a different set list at least to keep Brian interested. PS was one of the greatest albums of all time, but anyone would find it to get a bit stale to sing for 2 years....
Now that Jeff Foskett is gone, maybe we can finally get some of the Love You material in the setlist.

I'm probably going to get some flak for this, but the new guy replacing Matt sucks.
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« Reply #915 on: November 22, 2018, 03:49:33 PM »

I agree it is time to retire the Pet Sounds Tour. I got to see it in 2016 and I very much enjoyed it. But it is time to tour under a different set list at least to keep Brian interested. PS was one of the greatest albums of all time, but anyone would find it to get a bit stale to sing for 2 years....
Now that Jeff Foskett is gone, maybe we can finally get some of the Love You material in the setlist.

I'm probably going to get some flak for this, but the new guy replacing Matt sucks.

I think that's a bit harsh however, I agree that he is a downgrade from Matt Jardine.
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« Reply #916 on: November 23, 2018, 04:24:15 AM »

I didn't think Rob was bad, just is not match for Matt Jardine....who was practically perfection. Hard to equal Matt, much less top him. Tuf shoes to fill.
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« Reply #917 on: November 23, 2018, 10:50:26 AM »

After the recent radio debacle it looks like Al has taken over publicity (as suggested by some here).

http://www.thesuburban.com/arts_and_entertainment/entertainment/beach-man-al-jardine-looks-back-at-a-life-spent/article_ae151a25-80d9-5656-9fe3-e62e1698a4a1.html

https://montrealgazette.com/entertainment/music/brian-wilsons-music-was-made-for-these-times-and-all-time

Of concern though...

Asked whether the chief Beach Boy still actually enjoys performing, Jardine expressed optimism.

ďI think so,Ē he said. ďI hope so. My hope is as much as anybody elseís. We share the stage together, but heís in a different universe.Ē
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« Reply #918 on: November 23, 2018, 02:46:20 PM »

After the recent radio debacle it looks like Al has taken over publicity (as suggested by some here).

http://www.thesuburban.com/arts_and_entertainment/entertainment/beach-man-al-jardine-looks-back-at-a-life-spent/article_ae151a25-80d9-5656-9fe3-e62e1698a4a1.html

https://montrealgazette.com/entertainment/music/brian-wilsons-music-was-made-for-these-times-and-all-time

Of concern though...

Asked whether the chief Beach Boy still actually enjoys performing, Jardine expressed optimism.

ďI think so,Ē he said. ďI hope so. My hope is as much as anybody elseís. We share the stage together, but heís in a different universe.Ē

Thanks for sharing these articles. I really enjoy Al's wise perspective. He's such a fine person and really loves Brian, along with Blondie and the rest of his band. It's also wise of Al not to predict what Brian will do at any given time. Anyone who knows him wouldn't.
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« Reply #919 on: November 23, 2018, 03:04:29 PM »

After the recent radio debacle it looks like Al has taken over publicity (as suggested by some here).

http://www.thesuburban.com/arts_and_entertainment/entertainment/beach-man-al-jardine-looks-back-at-a-life-spent/article_ae151a25-80d9-5656-9fe3-e62e1698a4a1.html

https://montrealgazette.com/entertainment/music/brian-wilsons-music-was-made-for-these-times-and-all-time

Of concern though...

Asked whether the chief Beach Boy still actually enjoys performing, Jardine expressed optimism.

“I think so,” he said. “I hope so. My hope is as much as anybody else’s. We share the stage together, but he’s in a different universe.”

Thanks for sharing these articles. I really enjoy Al's wise perspective. He's such a fine person and really loves Brian, along with Blondie and the rest of his band. It's also wise of Al not to predict what Brian will do at any given time. Anyone who knows him wouldn't.


Al's warmth definitely shows...I can personally vouch for that! In addition, he seems to be a wonderful man and was very friendly towards my family when we met him after a show 3 years ago.
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« Reply #920 on: November 23, 2018, 09:08:32 PM »

This recent performance of "Wake The World" (together in the clip with "Add Some Music") shows how great it is to have Al there, singing the whole lead on this song, while Brian seems content to pound out the piano part and just sing a line in each chorus:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G-785JTd4pM

And, this little nugget popped up...flashback ten years to the "Lucky Old Sun" tour:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2VlB9LNlO4Y
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« Reply #921 on: November 23, 2018, 09:48:57 PM »

I saw the band last night in Montreal (greatest hits live) and tonight in Ottawa (PS).  I was really looking forward to the Greatest Hits shows because of what people have been saying about Brian seeming bored by the PS songs.  I was a bit nervous about the PS show also because it was the fourth night in a row for them and in my experience Brian is usually more into things on the day after a break.  Anyway, I was kind of wrong on all fronts.  

Greatest Hits (Montreal, November 22):  the band sounded great, as always, but they didnít seem to be having as much fun as I know they can have.  The little set of deep cuts (Salt Lake City, Wake the World/Add Some Music To Your Day) with Wild Honey, Sail on Sailor and Do it Again sounded great.  After that, Brian said ďnow weíre going to play Pet SoundsĒ and everyone looked quite caught off guard.  Al smoothed it over and they went on, but it just seemed like everyone was having a slightly off night.  Not that they didnít sound good - they sounded amazing, as always, but there was just a little something missing.  Al covered for a lot of Brianís singing, but there were some moments where there were little hiccups, like at the beginning of Surfin USA, where Brian just didnít sing, and Al had to come in halfway through the second line.  Things like that.  Not a big deal, but they had definitely had better nights.  The fact that the crowd was really, really lame didnít help (and is also very unusual for Montreal audiences, which are usually pretty lively).  

Pet Sounds (Ottawa, November 23):  As much as I was annoyed by the lame Montreal audience, I was pleasantly surprised by the Ottawa audience, which was uncharacteristically colourful.  The band seemed to be in a better mood.  They knocked all the PS songs out of the park.  Al continued to do a lot of covering for Brian - actually, I have to say, Al is carrying a hell of a lot of these shows.  His voice sounded a little raspier than it had the last time I saw them (about 14 months ago) but he still sounds and looks amazing.  Overall the energy was great and the vibe was really fun.  When Alís wife and the opening band are dancing at the side of the stage, you know itís a good night!  

Some other observations:  

Rob Bonfiglio:  I know some on here are not fans, but I actually really liked him.  He does sometimes stuggle to hit the very high falsetto, but I very much appreciate the fact that he just sings his parts nice and straight, rather than embellishing them or singing in an affected way.  He sounded better tonight than last night, I thought.  But yeah, I have very little to complain about with him.  Heís a solid singer and seems to fit in well with the band.  

Blondie:  he clearly really enjoys the spotlight and is having a lot of fun up there.  Itís easy to get distracted by his colourful stage presence or funny mannerisms but at the end of the day, Iím going to say it in caps because I feel that strongly about it, BLONDIE IS AN ABSOLUTELY UNBELIEVABLE SINGER.  His voice is clearly a gift from God, and his phrasing knocks me out every time I hear him.  I know heís had a succesful career as a sideman but how he never became truly famous as a singer is something I donít understand.  

Darian:  I have loved Darian from the first time I saw Brianís band and heard him sing Darliní.  Anyone who has the inspiration to play Rhapsody in Blue over the ending of Fun, Fun, Fun is a musical genius in my books.  

And the big guy.  I feel very sad for Brian because heís obviously got very limited mobility these days.  He walked out with help, but he was really hobbling at some points and was very slow on a small set of stairs to the stage.  He also seems very tired.  Of course, he has every right to be; Iím sure if I had had back surgery six months ago and then went on tour Iíd be tired too.  Having said all that, when he wants to sing, he can sing well.  His voice was VERY strong tonight, and as many others have noted, he sings Love and Mercy super-well.  I suspect it takes a lot out of him to sing like that, though, and he canít sustain it for an hour and a half.  I had the feeling he was in pain.  By the end of the show he was shifting in his chair and didnít seem too comfortable.  I can recall times in my life when I was in a lot of physical pain and at times like that, even talking normally can seem like an effort.  So I kind of wonder if thatís a factor with Brian.  I will say that to my eyes, he didnít actually seem bored during the PS songs.  He sang them with a strong voice and good pitch, just struggling a bit with the higher notes in God Only Knows.  As much as it makes me sad to see him struggling with health issues, I have endless respect for him.  Under ideal circumstances, touring must be very taxing, and Brian definitely is not working with ideal circumstances.  I know itís been said before, but he must be tough as hell.  As long as he wants to be out touring, I will go see him and feel lucky that Iím able to do so.  
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« Reply #922 on: November 23, 2018, 09:59:48 PM »

Totally anticipating the Xmas shows, I've been seeing Brian since 08 and he's killed it every time I've seen him. I'm concerned though with the ticket sales for the Dec. 5th show I'm going to in my area. Lots of empty seats with only a week and a half till the show. This venue usually has most play in "half stage" which holds fewer seats, easier to fill. This time, the venue will be in full stage with a larger amount of seats to fill up. I just hate thinking about Brian looking at the crowd and there's a bunch of empty rows.

Also hoping these new setlists will bring happy energy to Brian, I can't wait to hear the Xmas songs live, I'm reallly tired of PS and the hits.
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« Reply #923 on: November 24, 2018, 01:25:42 AM »

After hearing that clip I think I know whatís up. 1) heís bored with Pet Sounds and /or 2) Heís tired by that portion. Think about it. Iíd imagine heís on something prescribed for the pain and if he isnít he must be in excruciating pain. Cause he sounds pretty damn good on Add Some Music and heís very audible on keys on Wake the World and doing well. So yeah by the end of the show heís gonna be worn out a bit considering heís a 76 year old man coming off of back surgery.
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« Reply #924 on: November 27, 2018, 01:54:51 PM »

The band has apparently been rehearsing XMas stuff at recent soundchecks. I'm hearing that Blondie was taking a stab at "O Holy Night", so it does sound like they're going to dig into non-'64 album stuff.
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