Brian Wilson Newcastle City Hall 6th March 2004
I didn’t think I would ever get to see Brian Wilson in concert. I’d seen the Beach Boys twice in the early 1970s, but on both occasions Brian was not in the band. At one of the concerts, at Wembley Stadium, Brian was there backstage and I think he may have come on stage to say “hello” to the crowd. But he had not actually played with the band for some years.
Then in the late 1990s the impossible happened. Brian Wilson put a band together and starting to play concerts. Those who saw him, reviewers and fans alike, were ecstatic and unanimous in praise for the man and his music. It is easy to use the word “genius”; we probably do so too often, but in the case of Brian Wilson, the term is true and well-deserved.
I got my first chance to see Brian Wilson when he came to Newcastle City Hall in March 2004. We (me, Marie, David and Laura) went along. We all wanted to see this. It was the “Smile” tour and consisted of a Beach Boys greatest hits set, followed by the legendary “Smile” album played in its entirety.
Brian Wilson had assembled a large band of first class musicians and vocalists to help him recreate the Beach Boys music and their lush harmonies. And they did so, faultlessly. This was a long show, but the pace and the pure class of the music and the performance didn’t let up for a moment. It was great to see Brian on stage, a few feet in front of us, looking and sounding great. Most of the Smile album was unfamiliar to me, but that didn’t matter. An amazing concert, and the first of a few visits by Brian to the UK. And during the encore, they played my favourite songs: “Do It Again” and “I Get Around”. It really doesn’t get much better 🙂
First Set: And Your Dream Comes True; In My Room; Hawaii; Please Let Me Wonder; All Summer Long; Good Timin’; You’re Welcome; Sloop John B; God Only Knows; Time to Get Alone; Soul Searchin’; California Girls; Dance, Dance, Dance; Darlin’; City Blues; Marcella
Brian Wilson Presents SMILE: Our Prayer/Gee; Heroes and Villains; Roll Plymouth Rock; Barnyard; Old Master Painter / You Are My Sunshine; Cabinessence; Wonderful; Look (Song for Children); Child Is Father of the Man; Surf’s Up; I’m in Great Shape / I Wanna Be Around / Workshop; Vega-Tables; On a Holiday; Wind Chimes; Mrs. O’Leary’s Cow; In Blue Hawaii; Good Vibrations
Encore: Do It Again; I Get Around; Help Me, Rhonda; Barbara Ann; Surfin’ U.S.A.; Fun, Fun, Fun
Encore 2: Love and Mercy
Archive for the ‘Brian Wilson’ Category
Brian Wilson Newcastle City Hall 6th March 2004
Brian Wilson The Sage Gateshead 10 September 2011
We’d been hesitating for some time as to whether to go to see Brian Wilson on this tour. Although we’d all gone as a family to his last couple of shows at the City Hall and the Sage, we hadn’t fancied the “Brian Wilson reimagines Gershwin” concept. However, as the evening of the show arrived I decided that I couldn’t pass up on another chance of seeing the genuis who gave us all those great Beach Boys songs. Laura was in two minds whether to come with me, but in the end decided not to bother. I’d seen that there were still tickets available so I went along to the Sage and bought myself a ticket near the back of the hall. I arrived just in time for the start of the show. The first half of the concert was, as promised, the entire new album: “Brian Wilson reimagines Gershwin”; and it was pretty good actually. Imagine those great Gershwin songs with Beach Boys harmonies, a rock n roll beat, and strings. Quite enjoyable and just about the right lenght; not too long so that I got bored with it. Brian’s band of around eight players is, as always, excellent, and tonight they were accompanied by a local four piece string section.
Although I first thought that the Gershwin idea was pretty odd, I know think its a great idea, and the treatment of the songs is much, much better than I ever expected.
After a short interval, Brian and the band returned to delight the crowd with all those great hits. Brian seemed more talkative than on previous tours, and his voice also seemed a little stronger. He took lead vocals on most of the songs, with a couple of other members of the band doing the honours on a few of the songs.
God only knows, Good vibrations, and Wouldn’t it be nice are all landmark songs; but my favourite is Do it Again, which seems to bring back happy teenage memories for me. By the end of the evening, everyone was on their feet, with lots of dancing going on.
A great evening. Glad I decided to go after all.
First Set: Rhapsody In Blue (Intro); The Like In I Love You; Summertime; I Loves You, Porgy; I Got Plenty O’ Nuttin’; It Ain’t Necessarily So; ‘S Wonderful; They Can’t Take That Away From Me; Love Is Here To Stay; I’ve Got a Crush on You; I Got Rhythm; Someone To Watch Over Me; Nothing But Love
Second Set: California Girls; Dance Dance Dance; Catch A Wave; Surfer Girl; Please Let Me Wonder; “Mary Had A Little Lamb”; You’re So Good To Me; The Little Girl I Once Knew; Salt Lake City; Don’t Worry Baby; Do You Wanna Dance?; Do It Again; Darlin’; I Get Around; Sail On Sailor; Pet Sounds; Sloop John B; Wouldn’t it Be Nice; God Only Knows; Heroes and Villains; Good Vibrations
First Encore: Johnny B Goode; Help Me Rhonda; Barbara Ann; Surfin’ USA; Fun Fun Fun
Second Encore: All Summer Long Encore
Brain Wilson website
Brian Wilson Sage Gateshead July 12th 2009
Review by Laura
The “Beach Boys” were one of the bands I was raised on, I particularly remember listening to “Good Vibrations” and “Surfing USA” on a sixties compilation cd we had in the car and their Christmas album remains a family festive favourite. It wasn’t however until I was 13 when I began to learn a little more about the band’s history and after watching a documentary on television, I became particularly fascinated with Brian Wilson’s own story. I loved the fact that he’d been through so many hard times and yet was the last remaining Wilson brother to tell the tail. For a while I was slightly obsessed with the man, I bought his albums, DVD’s and watched any television programme he appeared on.
I saw Brian for the first time on the “Smile” tour at the City Hall a couple of years ago and was absolutely mesmerised by him. As well as him performing better than I’d expected I was also a little in awe of his very presence. To be honest, he could have just walked on stage and clapped his hands a couple of times, that would have been enough; just the fact that he was there, despite his troubled past was certainly something.
When dad told me he was to play the Sage, I jumped at the chance to see him again. So last Sunday David, dad, mam and I drove to Gateshead. There was just enough time for me to buy a t-shirt and for dad to purchase a programme (which included a signed single) before we took our seats up in the gods of the auditorium.
We didn’t have long to wait before Brian and his band took to the stage. They began with “Our Prayer”, an intricate accapello number which immediately demonstrated the band’s precision. The crowd began clapping and singing along when the band burst seamlessly into “California Girls” and after this the hits kept coming. Occasionally Brian invited one of the band to sing a number, most notably “Don’t Worry Baby” a personal favourite of mine which was sung very well by some chap called Jeff.
I think that Brian was singing and playing perhaps even better than last time I saw him, his backing band were wonderful as always and Brian also appeared more talkative than usual. He kept thanking the audience for coming and telling us stories about the songs he performed. He and his musicians seemed to be really enjoying themselves which rubbed off on the crowd.
After a performance of “DO it Again” there was a short interval in which we all got ice creams; (incidentally the Sage do very tasty ice-creams indeed, I’d recommend the double ginger flavour.) Once fed, we all retook our seats and the second set began. Once again Brian and the band played their way through a long list of old favourites, pausing between numbers to chat to the crowd. The highlights of this half included “When I grow up”, “Wouldn’t it be Nice” and “God Only Knows”. The set finished with a version of “Good Vibrations” and it was nice to hear Brian singing the lyrics from the single as aposed to the words sung on the “Smile” version which he has favoured in past performances.
The band returned for two sets of encores which included two more personal favourites “Fun Fun Fun” and “Help me Rhonda” which got a great reception. We all agreed it had been a great night.
I was rather disappointed when the following day I heard a caller to BBC 6 Music state that he’d seen Brian Wilson recently and he was little more than a bumbling incapable shell of his past self. I’d strongly disagree with this claim. Although it is evident that the impressive group of singers and musicians behind Brian somewhat carry him through the show, his own singing is still strong, he seems to really love the songs he performs and after all you are seeing a musical legend in the flesh. I couldn’t recommend this concert more highly.
Girl Don’t Tell Me
Dance Dance Dance
Happy Birthday Sue (Levinson)
In My Room
Salt Lake City
Don’t Worry Baby
Row Your Boat
I Get Around
Sail On Sailor
Do You Wanna Dance
Do It Again
You Keep A Knockin’
Then I Kissed Her
Add Some Music To Your Day
When I Grow Up
All Summer Long
Little Deuce Coupe
The Little Girl I Once Knew
Sloop John B
Wouldn’t It Be Nice
God Only Knows
Midnight’s Another Day
That Lucky Old Sun
You Keep A Knockin’ (again, because Brian likes it!)
Johnny B Goode
Help Me Rhonda
Fun Fun Fun
Love and Mercy