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Brian Wilson's "Smile" tour

Billy K.

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Saw Brian's concert last night, in Seattle. Something I've wanted to see happen for years....

and it is interesting to see it right after the "other" most anticipated tour.

As expected, Brian had his moments of not singing in tune. But certainly a lot better than when he was on the "Imagination" tour a few years ago.

First half of the show was Beach Boys material from various eras. A few surprises here and there.

"At The Drive In" was an early 60s "glory years" tune that somehow been absent from live performances by the Beach Boys.

"God Only Knows" was perhaps the "worst" song of the set. OK but not as cohesive as it should have been.

"Marcella", the closer of the first half, was excellent!! Have not heard this song live since I saw them in '73.

The second half of the show was dedicated to the "Smile" album.....I thought, if anything the material from "Smile" would be in the FIRST half of the show.

Most people who are not big Beach Boys fans would have no clue what this is all about. But there are parts of "Smile" that are instantly recognizable to the casual fan, such as "Good Vibrations" and "Heroes and Villains".

And if you are into classical, or other "serious" types of music, you can really appreciate what "Smile" is all about.

Brian had his regular band, the Wondermints, as well as other players. So, besides Brian, a drummer,a bassist, a percussionist, Jeff Foskett, another guitarist, Taylor Mills on backup vocals,

Darian on keyboards, another keyboard player(who doubled up on percussion), a five-piece horn section(one sax player also doubled up on harmonica), plus a string section(violins/cellos) from Sweden.

Brian often would sing Carl's or Mike's part on many of his songs, while Foskett did the falsetto.

And in the middle of the "Smile" set, he snuck in a verse of Tony Bennett's "I Want to Be Around".

Mix was really good and clean, although personally, I would have turned the volume of the bass guitar up slightly.

They did not play the tapes mentioned by other board members from previous concerts, but rather,

just an "easy-listening" version of Beach Boys songs(Hollyridge strings, perhaps??)

Interesting crowd of people.....surfer dudes, punks, tech geeks, corporate types, etc.....

One comment from a few rows behind me, before the show....."I'd like to go see Eric Carmen in concert, but he never tours....."

Unfortunatly, I wasn't able to find out who it was-----otherwise I'd tell him the news.

Also saw a first.....someone wearing a Dennis Wilson t-shirt!

Show t-shirts were horrendously expensive....$33 for a regular shirt, and $47 for one of those baseball-type shirts with the colored sleeves.

(And I first balked at the price in buying a Raspberries t-shirt, before finally getting one!)

"California Girls" got a standing ovation,in the middle of the first set. On the second encore, they did a gospel song, before going into "Love and Mercy".

What can I say? Great assemblance of musicans and great songs!

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Thanks for the report, Billy.

Glad to hear Brian continues to play and please and work in the odd surprise.

I saw him about six years ago or so, right when he was heading back out on the road. He was actually living in St. Charles, IL west of Chicago at the time -- weird.

It was my oldest son's first concert -- he was about 11 or so. He got the weirdest look on his face when the band started playing songs live that he'd only heard on record. He loved it!

As for me ... I'm Waiting for the Day that the Wondermints hit the road on their own. Might be a while. Pretty good gig they got goin'.


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Keith, yes it is weird about Brian living near Chicago. But you've got to consider that the music scene in L.A. burns people out mentally--

which is the last thing that Brian needed.

Eric's comments, in the "Marathon Man" book, alludes to this......and essentially explains why he moved back to Cleveland. Same rationale.

I didn't get the lowdown on how the Wondermints started getting involved. But, by some strange fluke, I get Taylor Mills in my line and ended up checking her in, and chatted with her for few minutes. She did mention that she is from Chicago.

How the Swedes got involved in this.....Brian did say at one time, in an interview, that some of his family originally came from Sweden, and wanted to go over there. So, he may done that trip and connected with the local musicians.

I think one of the Swedish string players died in Thailand, during the tsunami, while taking a vacation. He and his wife were reported as missing persons, but I didn't hear any updates.

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I didn't get the lowdown on how the Wondermints started getting involved.

in 1995 the Wondermints got invloved because Rodney Bingenheimer mentioned to Brian that there was a new band in LA who were huge fans & made great Beach Boys-influnced pop records... Ex-Dramarama bassist Chris Carter began managing the band around this time & was hosting a short-lived syndicated radio show called Brave New Radio.

Somehow, the powers that be aligned: Brian appeared on the show to perform & needed a backup band. At this time Chris was still in the working phases of putting together the Bingenheimer-bio film/documentary "Mayor Of The Sunset Strip."

(Rodney was responsible for breaking Dramarama on the LA market on KROQ where their song "Anything Anything" became an alternative rock staple.)

A call was made to Rodney to ask Brian if he was into doing it w/ The Wondermints. Brian said, "yes," and the rest was history... sort of...

On the show they performed "Darlin," "God Only Knows," "California Girls" and "Do It Again." Drummer Mike D'Amico was absent & was replaced by Blondie/Dramarama drummer Clem Burke... Very all in the family...

It was around this time that Brian was quoted as saying, "If Wondermints were around in the '60s I would've took 'Pet SOunds' on the road..."

Needless to say, a seed was planted & as time progressed, the 'Mints got to know Brian better & landed the life-altering gig....

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