Friday, July 18, 2008

Brian Wilson @ Seaside Park, Brighton Beach

Brian Wilson sits calmly behind a keyboard, never really playing it - more protected by it. He is presiding over his creations and sometimes waves his arms like a conductor. The band is large - three guitarists, two drummers, a reedsman, a second keyboardist, another on mallots, a theremin even emerges for ‘Good Vibrations’ - and almost everyone contributes to the intricate and gorgeous vocal harmonies, falsettos reaching high and swooping. The band is dutiful, clean and strong; this is Brian’s orchestra.

Its an odd mix of Coney Island Riff Raff, oldies nuts (headed by Brooklyn pres Marty Markowitz), and the odd hipster out to pay homage. He’s playing some of his most timeless hits - Surfer Girl, California Girl, Wouldn’t It Be Nice, When I Grow Up - and although they are easy crowd pleasers I get the feeling Brian is choosing the ones he’s proud of. It hits me when “I Get Around” starts moving that this is not just a hook but a fugue. All the parts lock in, themes repeat and interlock and the reaction is no different than listening to Bach with all the voices moving separately, building a euphoric experience.

The Pet Sounds and Smile material was some of the strongest of the night. ‘Heroes and Villains’
‘Good Vibrations’
‘God Only Knows’ , was absolutely gorgeous and was introduced by guitarist Jeff Foskett as his favorite.

A new song from Wilson’s upcoming album, “That Lucky Old Sun” titled ‘Going Home’ started with a churning blues but broke into surprising and complimentary vocal interludes.

Overall, the band was wonderful, fleshing out all the intricacies of Brian’s visionary music in great detail. He paid respect to some of his influences covering Chuck Berry, the Crystals (Spector), Frankie Lymon (Too Young) and covered a wide range of his material - pleasing the crowd but also revealing a musical autobiography that was fascinating to see in person.

I didn’t shoot the show, I was enjoying from the grass with my lovely girlfriend Leslie. We rode the Cyclone and had Nathan’s hot dogs before we headed home.

Good job, Brian and thanks!

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous4:34 PM

    Cool review. I love the photo!!