The Beach Boys Live at Chicago Theater May 22, 2012


by Anthony Kuzminski

.
This was the concert tour that was never supposed to happen. More importantly, this should have been the final nail in the coffin of the Beach Boys. Four of the five members will be seventy by September of this year and a valid argument can be made that their best days are behind them and by getting together for a reunion tour could do nothing but tarnish their legacy. However, the person making said argument would be doing so without having seen their 50th Anniversary tour currently making its way through the US. In case you haven't heard, there are a few things that differentiate this tour from their many in the previous decades. This is the first full fledged tour in more than thirty years to include Brian Wilson as a major contributor. Further, the set list consisted of forty-three songs. Let me repeat that; forty-three songs. I have never seen an artist perform this many songs over the course of one evening in all of the concerts I have witnessed. Knowing they cynics would be out in full force, the band set out to blow all expectations out of the water. As Paul McCartney and Bruce Springsteen have previously proven, even when you have an off night, it can be overshadowed by the sheer endurance of a performance. Go above and beyond and all can be forgiven. Fortunately for Chicago, the Beach Boys were compelling from the first note to the last note nearly three hours later. Their 50th Anniversary tour is not to be missed and truly a one-in-a-lifetime experience where one can see more than forty songs over nearly three hours.

The five remaining Beach Boys took to the stage complimented by ten additional musicians who dialed up the time machine for a trip to the past where the band breathtakingly delivered six songs in a mere thirteen minutes to open their second Chicago show. Opening with "Do it Again" the band performed "Little Honda", "Catch A Wave", "Hawaii", "Don't Back Down" and "Surfin' Safari" before they took a pause. At center stage was vocalist Mike Love, who did the most interacting with the crowd, told the story about the first song Brian Wilson wrote on his own before the band performed a lush rendition of "Surfer Girl", Wilson's first solo vocal performance of the evening. While each of the members had their fair share of time in the spotlight, whenever Wilson sang, the crowd directed their eyes to him with unblinking concentration. Each of the Beach Boys added something invaluable to their career and their legacy, but as time has progressed, Brian Wilson's genius has cemented itself into the history of music with not just Pet Sounds but with the recently released SMiLE which sat in the vaults for the better part of forty-plus years. His addition to the band for this tour gives the Beach Boys an added cache of respect. Further, the ten backing musicians revealed dimensions forgotten about. The meticulous song reproductions were more than magnificent, they were magical and yet the show never once felt perfunctory.

While Mike Love and Brian Wilson handled lead vocal duties for most of the songs, each of the members had their moment in the sun. Bruce Johnston had his solo spotlight with the wistful "Disney Girls". Guitarist Jeff Foskett provided some fine guitar work but more notably, his backing harmonies connected memories to the present day. He captures the spirit of Carl Wilson's vocals and melodies without coming off as a replacement. On "Don't Worry Baby" the crowd gave him a well deserved standing ovation for his wonderful lead vocal that was good enough to crawl under the surface of our skin. A pleasant surprise is the divergent set lists at every show. The show was sprinkled with a strong selection of covers performed with adroitness one may not have expected. "Cotton Fields" and "The I Kissed Her" found Al Jardine hitting the audience's sweet spots with his boyish vocal performance. "Rock and Roll Music", "Do You Wanna Dance" and "Why Do Fools Fall In Love?" were more than audience pleasers. It's hard to imagine it, but fifty years ago the five men on the stage were exuberant teenagers who lived out their dreams in front of a mirror and for the first time in a long time, especially Mike Love who once again put his fan boy hat on.

While the Beach Boys have been a concert juggernaut for decades, this tour stands apart for the band's willingness to perform not just their biggest hits, but many deep album cuts that many have not heard in years. Rare songs such as "Marcella", "It's OK", "All This Is That" and "This Whole World" were performed with the same magnificence of their classics. "World" felt like something out of a dream as Wilson poignantly sung his heart out. The band even sung a new song, "That's Why God Made the Radio" from their forthcoming record of the same name (due to be released on June 5th). The song is culled from their 60's DNA and feels irrefutable and with a few more listens has the potential to be a modern classic. The second set opened up with "Add Some Music To Your Day" sung by Brian Wilson. He was surrounded by his four band mates around his white baby grand piano. It was a moment most people didn't feel would ever occur again and despite the fact that Carl and Dennis were not there, you couldn't help but become emotional over seeing these five men who are grandparents sing and perform in the same fashion they did more than fifty years back. Then there were the hits-"When I Grow Up (to Be a Man)", "Be True to Your School", "Little Deuce Coupe", "I Get Around", "Sloop John B", "Wouldn't It Be Nice", "Sail on, Sailor", "Heroes and Villains", "California Girls", "Help Me, Rhonda", "Good Vibrations" and "Surfin' USA". Do I need to even explain the wonder and splendor these performances induced? Even "Kokomo" was splendid. For the evening's final two songs, "Barbara Ann" and "Fun, Fun, Fun", Brian Wilson even came out to the front of the stage with a bass wrapped around him. The pacing and performances were so strong-willed and sentimental; you couldn't help but have an out-of-body experience. You literally could feel the sun beams radiate your skin under a perfect blue sky next to the ocean. I don't believe any set list by any artist could completely satisfy everyone, the Beach Boys came dangerously close. The music evoked sights and sound of malt shops, blue skies, surf shops and a time when gas guzzlers were dreamy. The music takes me to a place and time I never knew and that's as powerful as music can be.

As my time on this Earth grows shorter, there will be two songs I will forever remember from this show. Carl and Dennis Wilson made an appearance no one could forget. They were represented by pre-recorded vocals which were complimented by a fifteen piece backing band. This top-tier band brought the moving ballad "Forever" (sung by Dennis) and the epic hymn "God Only Knows" (sung by Carl) to life in ways no one could have expected. Done by almost any other act it would come off as a cheap trick, but there was a deep moving resonance to the back-to-back songs from the departed Wilson brothers. If the music wasn't enough to move you, then watching their older brother Brian was. We're all confronted with death in our life but it doesn't make it any easier. For Brian Wilson, his triumph over illness and adversity is one of rock n' roll's greatest rebirths, but as I watch him gave upon the screen at the back of the stage upon his younger brothers, I saw a gentle soul who misses his brothers in a way that can never be expressed. Whenever I hear "God Only Knows", a flurry of emotions floats to the surface; I think of loved ones that have left this Earth. I also think about those I am closest to and how I want them to know how vital they have been to my existence. I think about a close high school friend whose young son is fighting cancer and how I want so badly for him to be cured. Hearing Carl Wilson's voice on top of the lush arrangements of the surviving Beach Boys provides one with lenses to see life with greater clarity, allowing us to not just appreciate life's simplicities but to love better. These songs are dotted lines to our past that connect all of us. Family, friends and lovers bonded over this music in the past and more importantly, they find a relation to it today. The Beach Boys 50th Anniversary tour isn't about escapism, it's about reconnecting with that inner child you once had. Their music is as powerful now than it ever has been because it continues to set our minds free and while nostalgia should never be denied, the Beach Boys are reminding us that rock n' roll isn't defined by age, instruments or even songs, it's a mindset. As I looked around the crowd, I saw audience members from the age of three to eighty-three and they all had one very distinctive physical trait- irrefutable and infectious smiles.


Anthony Kuzminski is a Chicago based writer and Special Features Editor for the antiMusic Network. His daily writings can be read at The Screen Door. He can be contacted at thescreendoor AT gmail DOT com and can be followed on Twitter

The Beach Boys Live at Chicago Theater May 22, 2012

Share this article
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google+ Pin it Share on Reddit email this article

More articles for this artist .



advertisement

advertisement

News Reports
Day in Rock:
The Smashing Pumpkins Announce Reunion Tour- Corey Taylor Reveals Timeline For New Slipknot Album- Metallica To Receive Polar Music Prize- Muse Release 'Thought Contagion'- more

Recap: Guns N' Roses Star To Play Appetite Album In Full On Tour- Mr. Big's Pat Torpey Dead At 64- Prince's Family Denied Investigative Death Data By Authorities- Robert Plant- more

Led Zeppelin To Release 'Different' Archival Recordings- Photo Of Metallica's James Hetfield As Cop In Ted Bundy Movie- Iron Maiden Take Action Against Counterfeiters- more

Judas Priest Legend Battling Parkinson's Disease- Metallica's James Hetfield Lands Key Role In Ted Bundy Movie- Ozzy Osbourne Wants To Make New Album After Final Tour- more

Day in Pop:
Ed Sheeran and Eminem Release 'River' Video- Kanye West Returns To Instagram With Special Message- Kodak Black Releases R&B Album 'Heartbreak Kodak'- Remy Ma- more

Page Too Rewind: Fergie Addresses Quentin Tarantino Biting Incident- Taylor Swift And Ed Sheeran Release 'Endgame' Behind-the-Scenes Video- Drake Guests On BlocBoy JB's New Track- more

Ed Sheeran and Eminem Release 'River' Video- Kanye West Returns To Instagram With Special Message- Kodak Black Releases R&B Album 'Heartbreak Kodak'- Remy Ma- more

Elton John Making New 'Lion King' Music With Beyonce- Willie Nelson Fighting Back After Battling Flu- Victoria Beckham Addresses Spice Girls Reunion Speculation- more

advertisement


Reviews

Billion Dollar Babies - First Ever Live Show - Flint 1977

TBT: Phil Vassar The New Piano Man

Dolly Spartans - Time Sides With No One

Saxon - Thunderbolt

Channel Dark - El Wire Pacifier

Straw Family - Family Matters

Junkyardfieldtrip - Self-titled

Joe Perry - Sweetzerland Manifesto

Ten Ton Man - Dangerous Women & A Desperate Man

Cindy Wilson - Change

Luca Bash - Keys of Mine

Terror Universal - Make Them Bleed

Road Trip: Springfield, MO's Route 66 Car Museum

Travel News, Trips and Tips: Spotlight on Branson, MO

Duran Duran - Girls on Film 1979 Demo

Arthur Fowler - Here I Am Again

MorleyView: Micki Free

Psychocide - Alcohol & Bad Decisions

John 5 and the Creatures - It's Alive!

iHeartRadio Jingle Ball Tour 2017

Dave Koz And Friends Bring Christmas Show To Arizona's Mesa Arts Center

Black Sabbath - The End (5 Stars)

Jethro Tull - Songs from the Wood: The Country Set more

Rock News Stories
Guns N' Roses Star To Play Appetite Album In Full On Tour (top story)

Mr. Big's Pat Torpey Dead At 64 (top story)

Prince's Family Denied Investigative Death Data By Authorities (top story)

Blink-182's Travis Barker Teams With Limp Bizkit's Wes Borland (top story)

Robert Plant Celebrates Tour With New Live Video (top story)

Singled Out: State of Illusion's Blind (top story)

Foghat's Craig MacGregor Dead At The Age Of 68 (top story)

Metallica Release Live 'Seek & Destroy' Video (top story)

Styx's Dennis DeYoung Announces The Grand Illusion Anniversary Tour (top story)

Black Country Communion Release 'The Cove' Video (top story)

Frank Zappa Hologram Tour Musician Lineup Revealed (top story)

Alice In Chains' New Album Reportedly Done (top story)

Unusual Bob Dylan Period Explored In New Documentary (top story)

Vampire Weekend Star, James Corden Team For 'Pete Rabbit' Track (top story)

Blacktop Mojo Release 'Underneath' Video (top story)

Jay Leno Teaches Johnny Rotten How to Drive (top story)

Metallica's James Hetfield Lands Key Role In New Ted Bundy Movie (top story)

Judas Priest Legend Battling Parkinson's Disease (top story)

Metallica's James Hetfield Lands Key Role In Ted Bundy Movie (top story)

Ozzy Osbourne Wants To Make New Album Following Final Tour (top story)

Rush's Alex Lifeson Records Epic Track With Fu Manchu (top story)

D'arcy Wretzky Speaks Out About Smashing Pumpkins Reunion (top story)

Steve Miller Band Announce 50th Anniversary Tour With Peter Frampton (top story)

The Doors Release Video Of Classic Song Performance (top story)

Brian Setzer Announces Rockabilly Riot Summer Tour (top story)

Black Stone Cherry Stream Song From Forthcoming Album (top story)

Chris Cornell Featured On Forthcoming Johnny Cash Album (top story)

Jack White Shares His Hope For Rock's Future (top story)

The National Soundtracking A New Theater Play (top story)

Rapper Anderson Paak Reveals Radiohead Influence (top story)

Buckethead Explains His Paul Gilbert Connection (top story)

Singled Out: Sleepwar's Thousand Different Faces (top story)

more

B-Side Stories
Elton John Making New 'Lion King' Music With Beyonce (top story)

Willie Nelson Fighting Back After Battling Flu (top story)

Victoria Beckham Addresses Spice Girls Reunion Speculation (top story)

Demi Lovato Says Arena Tour Will be 'Up Close and Personal' (top story)

Kendrick Lamar Bans Photography At His Concerts (top story)

Cardi B And Offset On Chris Jeday's 'Ahora Dice' Remix (top story)

Taylor Swift Shares Selfie from 'Repu-hearsals' (top story)

Alice Merton Reveals U.S. Tour Dates With Vance Joy (top story)

Rita Ora Cast With Ryan Reynolds In 'Pokcmon' Movie (top story)

Kelsea Ballerini Does A Moon Bounce With Husband Morgan Evans (top story)

Chance the Rapper's New Basketball Documentary Trailer Released (top story)

Meek Mill Gets Support From Olympic Snowboarder (top story)

Mary J. Blige Added To Cast Of Gerard Way's 'The Umbrella Academy' (top story)

Britney Spears To Receive Vanguard Award (top story)

Kendrick Lamar Accused Of Artwork Theft (top story)

Bruno Mars And Cardi B Announce '24K Magic' Tour Dates (top story)

Camila Cabello Previews 'Never Be The Same' Video (top story)

Jason Aldean Releases Three-Part 'You Make It Easy' Video (top story)

Niall Horan Releases Animated 'On The Loose' Lyric Video (top story)

Shawn Mendes Promises New Album Coming 'Soon' (top story)

Kelly Clarkson Goes Behind The Scenes Of Next Song (top story)

Vance Joy Announces North American Tour (top story)

Travis Scott Given Key To His Texas Hometown (top story)

Marshmello Releases 'Spotlight' Video Tribute To Lil Peep (top story)

Chris Stapleton's 'Tennessee Whiskey' Given Unexpected Makeover (top story)

Fergie Addresses Quentin Tarantino Biting Incident (top story)

Taylor Swift And Ed Sheeran Release 'Endgame' Behind-the-Scenes Video (top story)

Drake Guests On BlocBoy JB's New Track and Video (top story)

Justin Timberlake Surprises Super Bowl 'Selfie Kid' (top story)

Kelsea Ballerini Shares Romantic Honeymoon Video (top story)

Billy Currington Announces Tour Dates (top story)

Diddy Explains 'Diddy Crop' that Deleted French Montana, Fabolous (top story)

Cam Takes On Cheaters With New 'Diane' Video (top story)

Paris Hilton Planning Valentine's Day Song 'I Need You' (top story)

Lin-Manuel Miranda Releases 'Almost Like Praying' (top story)

more



Follow Us:

Contact Us - Privacy - antiMusic Email - Why we are antiMusic

Copyright© 1998 - 2016 Iconoclast Entertainment Group All rights reserved.

Please click here for legal restrictions and terms of use applicable to this site. Use of this site signifies your agreement to the terms of use.