Mohegan Sun Area/Montville, CT
added: 13 May 2012
// gig date: 13 May 2012
reviewer: John Reed
I have got to say that, until this year, the thought of a Beach Boys tour (a “real” tour – not the Mike Love led edition that had been touring under the Beach Boys banner for many years) was slim at best. After all the passing away’s of original members (Dennis and Carl Wilson), lawsuits and bad blood between the members (most notably, between Love and Brian Wilson) the shot at a reunion seemed very, very slim.
So the announcement that all the band’s living members (Love, Wilson, Al Jardine, David Marks (Marks had replaced Jardine – who left the band to pursue Dentistry - on the first few Beach Boys records, but then left when Jardine returned), and later member Bruce Johnston) had reconciled for a tour to celebrate the 50 anniversary of their birth, was quite unexpected.
Backed by a crew of first rate musicians (many whom are part of Wilson’s touring band), The Beach Boys, who performed on May 13th at the Mohegan Sun Area in Montville, CT, didn’t skimp and gave a nearly three hour (with a break) performance which included 45 songs of summer memories (“All Summer Long,” “Hawaii,” “Surfer Girl”), car staples (“Fun Fun Fun,”” I Get Around”) tackled Wilson’s more introspective sings (“I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times,” “In My Room”), and even pulled out a new song (the harmony and nostalgic drenched “That's Why God Made the Radio” – which captures the bands signature sound to a tee).
While Wilson and Love were the vocal focus of most of the night, it was great to see that Jardine got more mic time than he usually had on earlier tours. “Help Me Rhonda” was one of the best moments of the night and he did an astonishing job during the bands cover of Leadbelly’s “Cotton Fields.”
The biggest surprise of the night was Marks who tore off several great guitar solo’s and filled in gallantly for the late Carl Wilson (no small feat, as Carl Wilson’s guitar work was outstanding).
Brian Wilson, who used to do the high pitched harmony on original Beach Boy records, is now augmented by onstage by guitarist vocalist Jeffrey Foskett, who replaces Wilson’s original sound and kept the harmonies on track all night. The only mystifying moment came when Foskett sang lead on “Don’t Worry Baby.” Wilson has sung this during his solo concerts over the years, so it was sad to have Wilson not take the lead on such a classic (through, vocally, he just may not have been up for on this night).
The tributes to Dennis and Carl Wilson were also tastefully done. Video and audio clips (with montages) of the actual recorded voices of both were played while the band backed them up live. While this sort of thing does not always work, it was a nice nod to the no-longer with us Wilson brothers (and the closest way we will ever get to hear one of the greatest pop songs ever, “God Only Knows,” performed in concert).
With such a robust setlist, The Beach Boys should silence those who have been poking fun at the band (mostly and unfairly in the press) for this tour. Age is not an issue with great music and we are fortunate that we are still able to see and hear Beach Boys classics live in 2012!
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