The Beach Boys
August 28, 2013
These weren't your father's Beach Boys. The band that played in Charlottesville on August 28 included founding member and lead vocalist Mike Love and Bruce Johnston (who replaced Glen Campbell in the band in 1965). The rest of the band has been touring with Mike Love as The Beach Boys for years and upheld the traditions of the original band quite well.
This was not the usual rock band crowd, either. The fellow in front of me had two hearing aids. The guy next to me had a cane. I'm not so young or spry anymore myself. There were some young people present. At one point I looked around and a twenty-something-ish couple were standing with puzzled grins. I could only guess what they were thinking: “Why are all of these old people jumping around singing ‘Help me, Rhonda. Help, help me Rhonda”?
The band played for over 2 hours, unleashing medley after medley of immediately recognizable riffs, chord progressions and harmonies. Everything was pitch-perfect and the audience reaction and participation was enthusiastic. Everybody, it seemed, knew all of the words to all of the songs. Play beach music and it's hard to keep a bunch of Baby-Boomers, no matter how infirm, from dancing!
It’s totally unfair to any band to compare their performance to Paul McCartney, but, since Sir Paul’s concert in Washington, D.C. was the other show we have seen this summer, I can’t help but do this. This show was Mike Love, Bruce Johnston and a bunch of guys that sounded a lot like The Beach Boys, while the other was Paul McCartney and a bunch of guys that sounded a lot like The Beatles. Certainly both acts displayed a tremendous level of professionalism and musicianship, but Paul McCartney is in a class by himself. The difference really was the music. Both sets included songs 50 years old or older. McCartney’s, however still sounded relevant, innovative and fresh. The Beach Boys provided a classic nostalgia-fest and recreated an era with precision and gusto, but it really was just that – a re-creation of and a testament to a more naïve and simpler time of fast cars, pretty girls and good times at the beach. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that, I had a blast and would go see this group again in a second!