Sunday, May 13, 2012

Review - The Beach Boys in Concert 5/12/12

Last night I saw the Beach Boys live in concert for their 50th Anniversary tour at Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut. I brought with me my vinyl copy of "Friends" in the hope that they would sign my record. Ultimately, The Beach Boys never signed my record, but I did end up making a friend - which perhaps was even better than meeting the Beach Boys.

When I arrived at casino where the show was being held I went into the elevator with my "Brian Wilson Presents Pet Sounds" T-shirt on, a sharpie and my Friends record and talked to a guy in the elevator who ended up being one of the cameramen for the concert. His name was George. He told me that I had just missed the meet and greet, which was supposed to be at 7:30, but instead was done at 7. Most bands are LATE for things, but the Beach Boys are early. Weird. Anyway, George and I exchanged phone numbers and he said he would try to see if he could introduce me to the band. So I went up to my seat at the very top row of this sold out 10,000 seat arena (which equals over 1 million dollars in ticket sales) and sat down. This is where I recorded the first half of the show.

Some of the people sitting next to me were complaining about vertigo and how they couldn't see anything and some of the others were singing along and having a spectacular time. I tried my best to record the show well, but I was recording on my cellphone so it was very difficult. I apologize for the crappy quality of my videos and pictures, but I did the best I could.

When the band came out on stage the applause was pretty outrageous. Being there with 10,000 other people was very exhilarating. An announcer introduced Bruce Johnston, Al Jardine, David Marks, Mike Love and finally Brian Wilson. The audience reached a fervor when Brian was announced and cheered intensely for him, but he seemed to not notice as he sat down in front of his grand piano. Mike Love did most of the talking the entire show and Brian Wilson actually said NOTHING the entire show. He seemed like kind of a zombie, barely playing any notes on the piano and later on in the show he put a bass guitar on and lazily moved his hands to the right notes, barely accompanying the other bass player. It makes me kind of sad that Brian can't seem to muster the energy to be a real front man. He was there, but he wasn't really THERE. Anyway, the band played through all of their surf and car songs first, sounding extremely spot-on with their vocals and occasionally adding in great A Cappella sections and interesting musical changes (for example the great introduction to Be True To Your School). Later on they started playing songs like Wouldn't It Be Nice, I Just Wasn't Made For These Times and Heroes and Villains. It was great to hear those classic songs and to hear Mike Love giving so many compliments to Brian Wilson. I recoded about 15 songs from this first half of the show.

The band took an intermission after about 90 minutes and Mike Love "recommended" that everyone go to the merch stands and bring home a souvenir. I did not buy anything at the show, because I was still pretty anxious about possibly meeting the guys. When the band started playing again my friend George that I had met in the elevator grabbed me from my seat and took me down to the 5th row and let me sit in an empty seat, which ended up being the very best part of the show. I was about 10 or 15 feet from the stage and I ended up getting some fantastic photos and videos from there. I want to thank George again for letting me sit in a $500 seat without having to pay for it.

During the entire concert the audience was passing around Beach balls which can be seen in a lot of my videos and everyone was dancing too. It was a lot of fun, especially in the front rows. During the song God Only Knows the band paid tribute to Carl Wilson by playing audio of him singing from a concert in the 80s and projecting videos and images of him on the big screen behind the group. Brian Wilson looked at the pictures of his brother during the song for about a minute and then turned away and rubbed his eyes for a while. I think this was the only time during the show that he felt any real emotion. I felt really sad for him at that moment. It was very touching and sad. They also played Forever and did a tribute to Dennis that was equally beautiful. They also played some other songs that I really love but don't hear very often like This Whole World and Please Let Me Wonder.

Towards the end of the concert they played Good Vibrations, California Girls and All Summer Long. I held up my Friends record and Mike Love looked straight at me, pointed at me, made eye contact and then shook his hand as if to say "Ehhhhhh! Friends was an oooooooooooookaay record..." or perhaps to say "Well, we are kkkkkkkkkkkkkkkind of friends..." I was disappointed that they did not play any songs from the friends record or sign my record. The last song they played was Fun, Fun, Fun and then they snuck off stage as fast as they could. Security would not let me see them, so I went home. I think that perhaps its alright that I did not get to meet them, because they probably wouldn't want to see me (after what I said about Mike Love's country album and Al Jardine's Postcards From California) but it would have been nice to have a photo to frame forever. Oh well.

Here are my pictures and videos. They are not in chronological order.

I uploaded a lot more videos, but my internet is being super slow so you can just check them out here. Also, I recorded these all on my cellphone, so don't expect great sound or video. Just enjoy them the best you can.


Ron Jamos said...

You wrote: I think that perhaps its alright that I did not get to meet them, because they probably wouldn't want to see me (after what I said about Mike Love's country album and Al Jardine's Postcards From California) but it would have been nice to have a photo to frame forever. Oh well.

I'm not entirely sure they'd really care. Honestly. They've had their share of criticisms ... from within and from without. Certainly from more notable writers with larger readership.

Congrats on the good seat in the second half, and for being a part of the reunion shows.

Anonymous said...

Wow, sounds like you had a sorta "bittersweet" experience. I'm really sorry you didn't get to meet the fellas, but at least Mike Love acknowledged you, so that was pretty cool.

Not to mention the free upgrade!

The Lexingtons said...

Ron Jamos, you're probably right! But the guys have read the blog (i've been told) and I really like them all, so I would hate for them to personally dislike me.

Anonymous said...

I was at the same show, I thought it was great!!! Some great surpises in the first including Marcella, Sail On Sailor, I just wasn't made for these Time. I still believe the great reaction to little duece coup.

Anonymous said...

Great stuff over here. :)
Please pop in at for more stuff... :)
Cheers! /B

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing the pictures. I happen to be searching for Beach Boys stories and found yours. You are very lucky to meet the cameraman and to see a historic Beach Boys concert. I am going to see them at the Hollywood Bowl on Saturday. I loved them as a kid in the late 70s and will always be a fan. Miss Carl Wilson though. He had an incredible voice.

JP Choudhary said...

The new Album comes out in a month and i think it will do so much better than their last effort, Summer in Paradise.They are on tour at the moment in the USA and tickets are cheap at .. They sound really really good for a band where all the members are around 70 years old.

Stevan Hapgood said...

Eric-thanks for your very apt and thoughful review. The very reason I am not seeing the Beach Boys (aside from the ticket prices) is that I afraid of seeing them..not full of life..mainly Brian. Like he has said "My life, I'm better off alone." I've met him and he was just fine. I've seen him in concert--looking great--obviously under the influcence--and seen him looking oblivious. Somehow the antithesis of The Beach Boys is becoming more evident, or my perception of the new album, combined with your analysis of the show, leaves me feeling kind of sad. What do you think?