Pet Sounds: 40 Years Later

brian wilson, 1.27.07, long beach, ca

dsc00196Many of you have heard me go on and on about Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys.  I used to listen to my parents’ old 8 track of Endless Summer when I was little and have been a fan ever since.  Luckily, I had the opportunity to see Brian Wilson in concert last night at the Long Beach Convention Center’s Terrace Theater.  Also joining him on this tour was Al Jardine, one of the original Beach Boys.  The tour began at the end of 2006 in order to support the 40th anniversary of the release of Pet Sounds.  The show consists of Brian doing a full set of hits, taking a break, and then coming back to perform a complete Pet Sounds.

It was an amazing experience and Brian has assembled what may be the best band ever.  For the past few years he has been touring with a group that includes Jeff Foskett, Taylor Mills, and The Wondermints (not to be confused with Supermint, for those who remember them).  Below is a picture of the band during a different show.  It is impressive that a live band can recreate Pet Sounds, but they have done it well.  Brian created so many vocal layers with the album, but the band can handle it, sounding almost exactly like the original studio recordings.  It looked like there were as many as 10 members contributing to the vocals and as many as 13 band members on stage at one time.

picture-91For those of you who aren’t familiar with Brian Wilson’s story (other than what you can gather from the Barenaked Ladies), I highly recommend a new biography on Brian called Catch A Wave by Peter Ames Carlin.  It is definitely an interesting story, covering the early years, Pet Sounds, the abandoned SMiLE sessions, Dr. Landy, and Brian’s return to music and touring (he stopped touring with The Beach Boys in 1964 and recorded most of the subsequent albums with studio musicians while the others were on tour – they would add vocals when they returned to LA).

Below is last night’s setlist.  It is hard to believe that anyone could have so many hits to draw from.  It was great to hear Pet Sounds, since it is by far my favorite album, but look at the rest of the show.  Then think about the hits that didn’t even make the show.

So if you ever get the chance to see Brian live, do it while you can.  Although Al’s voice still sounds great, you can definitely hear what Brian has gone through over the years in his voice and I don’t know how many more times we will have the opportunity to see him perform like this.  And for those of you who should have been listening to Pet Sounds recently, I would love to hear your thoughts on it.  I think last night I realized why I like it so much – it is an album that you have to actively listen to in order to appreciate it.  Unfortunately, so many people listen to music passively and don’t get the entire experience.

  • Surfer Girl
  • Hawaii
  • Add Some Music to Your Day
  • Please Let Me Wonder
  • Drive-In

Al Jardine joins for rest of show

  • Then I Kissed Her
  • Breakaway
  • Dance, Dance, Dance
  • The Little Girl I Once Knew
  • Do It Again
  • In My Room
  • California Saga
  • Do You Wanna Dance?
  • When I Grow Up
  • I Get Around
  • California Girls
  • Sail on, Sailor
  • Marcella
  • Good Vibrations

Pet Sounds, which includes:

  • Wouldn’t It Be Nice
  • You Still Believe In Me
  • That’s Not Me
  • Don’t Talk (Put Your Head On My Shoulder)
  • I’m Waiting For The Day
  • Let’s Go Away For A While
  • Sloop John B
  • God Only Knows
  • I Know There’s An Answer
  • Here Today
  • I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times
  • Pet Sounds
  • Caroline No

First encore:

  • Johnny B. Goode
  • Help Me Rhonda
  • Barbara Ann
  • Surfin’ U.S.A.
  • Fun, Fun, Fun

Final encore:

  • Love and Mercy


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