Story & Photographs by Diane Fleischman
The State Theatre welcomed the return of Brian Wilson Sunday night as he performed to a sold out crowd. Wrapping up the tour of The Beach Boys 50th anniversary of the release of their highly acclaimed album, ‘Pet Sounds’, Wilson stated this would be the final tour of this album in its entirety. Coincidently, Wilson shared with the audience, “this tour started at the State Theatre, and I think we’ve got it down now.”
Filling the stage, Wilson was accompanied by a twelve piece all star band which included long time Beach Boys member, Al Jardine. While The Beach Boys fans spans several generations, the same applies to band members, such as Matthew Jardine, Al Jardine’s son on acoustic guitar, who spent years learning to sing The Beach Boys style.
Blondie Chapman, lead guitarist, has previously toured with The Beach Boys, as well as The Rolling Stones, covered the stage as he highlighted his expertise.
Warming up the audience with handclaps, the first half of the performance was strictly Beach Boys hit songs, as the band opened with “California Girls” and included “I Get Around”, “Little Deuce Coupe”, “In My Room”, and the first song Brian Wilson wrote, “Surfer Girl”. The first standing ovation came with the song, “Don’t Worry Baby”.
Back in the sixties, The Beach Boys set themselves apart with what was known as the California sound, or surfer music. With two Beach Boys present, the band filled in the harmonies beautifully, as the rich vocals swirled back to yesteryear.
Continuing with the set, the band also performed, “ Salt Lake City”, with a blue spotlight set on Wilson, and a clarinet solo, “Darlin’”, which was upbeat full of handclaps, and offered strong pulsating drum lines. “Wild Honey”, which Wilson described as slow rock song. Surely, he was joking. The set closed with “Sail on Sailor”.
After a brief intermission, it was time to get down to business. ‘Pet Sounds’ kicked off with “Wouldn’t it be Nice”, “You Still Believe in Me”, “That’s Not Me”, and two favorites of this reporter, “Sloop John B” which included a flute intro, and “God Only Knows”, which brought the audience to their feet for a second standing ovation.
At the close of ‘Pet Sounds’, one would think that would be the end of the show. Wilson and the band returned to perform an amazing six song encore that included the classic Beach Boys fan favorites. “Good Vibrations”, brought the audience to their feet for a third standing ovation, and the audience remained standing, and danced through the remaining songs, “Help Me, Rhonda”, “Barbara Ann”, “Surfing USA”, “Fun, Fun, Fun” and “Love and Mercy.”
What made this an extraordinary performance was Brian Wilson himself. Now in his mid seventies, Wilson rallies with today’s contemporary artists by performing for over two and a half hours, a 36 song set list, with his vocals still smooth as silk.