Brian Wilson – Symphony Hall, Birmingham, Tuesday 17/05/2016  



Damian’s thoughts as classic album gets revisited

This event was billed as Brian Wilson presents Pet Sounds. Pet Sounds is The Beach Boys 11th studio album, released in 1966 but more often known as a Brian Wilson solo concept album.

The band weren’t overly enamoured with what was offered by Wilson at the time but as history teaches us, it is one of Rock’s greatest offerings.

The evening commences with the band settling on stage and Brian being led out before ambling to his piano to rapturous applause from the sell out audience. It is no secret that the artist has suffered from depression, drug abuse, mental health issues and manipulation almost bordering on abuse during his lifetime but he’s survived and the love this audience shows him is almost palpable.

The first set comprises of songs mainly culled from the period 1963-65. We are gifted “Our Prayer”, “Heroes and Villains”, the wonderful “California Girls”, “Dance, Dance, Dance”, “I Get Around” and “Little Honda”. Al Jardine, guitarist, singer and founder member of The Beach Boys steps up to sing “Shut Down” and “Little Deuce Coupe”.

“In My Room” and “Surfer Girl” follow before Al’s son Matt Jardine supplies his wonderful vocals on the classic “Don’t Worry Baby” and its as close as you could get to the original Beach Boys being transported on stage, Al takes over for “Wake the World” before the band run through “Add Some Music to Your Day”, “Then I Kissed Her”, “One Kind of Love” and “Do It Again”

Blondie Chaplin, guitarist and singer with the Beach Boys from the seventies rounds off the first set by taking the lead on”  “Wild Honey”, “Funky Pretty” and “Sail On, Sailor”

After a short interval, the band return to the stage and Pet Sounds is played in its entirety, with Mr Wilson naming each song before being played.

Matt Jardine leads on “Wouldn’t It Be Nice”, before he shares vocals with Brian on “You Still Believe in Me” and “That’s Not Me”

The band then runs through “Don’t Talk (Put Your Head on My Shoulder)”, “I’m Waiting for the Day” and “Let’s Go Away for Awhile”. Al Jardine and Brian Wilson share the duties on the Bahaman traditional folk song “Sloop John B “before we have the wonderful “God Only Knows” and the LSD inspired “I Know There’s an Answer”

The set concludes with “Here Today”, “I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times”, “Pet Sounds” and “Caroline, No”. It’s really hard to believe that this album was composed by a twenty two year old, fifty years ago, I cannot imagine what we would have been presented with if the technology we have today, had have been around then. A work of pure genius.

The encore is where the band has some fun and the audience really let themselves go and dance in the aisles. Who cannot be moved by “Good Vibrations”, “All Summer Long”, “Help Me, Rhonda”, “Barbara Ann”, “Surfin’ U.S.A”, “Fun, Fun, Fun” and finally “Love and Mercy”

Tonight was an event to say “I Was There”, at times it was painful to watch the decline of Brian Wilson both physically and vocally but he is a survivor and there was so much love and support for him from this crowd that it was almost tangible.

A mention must be made to the wonderful band members that kept this show so tight and ticking over. Praise indeed to Scott Bennett, Nelson Bragg, Mike D’Amico, Probyn Gregory, Paul Mertens, Darian Sahanaja, Bob Lizik and Nick Walusko. Also to long time friend Al Jardine and his son Matt whose voice is a gift from a supreme being.

This was a night that I really enjoyed and more so reflecting back on it.

To Mr Wilson all I can offer is the reiterate what Abba once said “Thank You For The Music”

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