Brian Wilson Live Review @ The Sage (Gateshead) - 12 Jul 2009
Folks, this is only bloody Brian Wilson, ingénue, legend, hero, healed survivor - the man who created the soundtrack to a generation and is now rightly recognized, in this late career crest as The Governor. The bad days are behind him and tonight's band is The Wondermints, so talented they make you sick! Guitars, bass, keyboards, xylophone, drums, percussion, and sax...I counted 11 players on stage - and they all sing like angels. Brian says they're the best he's ever worked with, and to Paul McCartney, they're the best touring band in the world - it's nice that they both agree with me!
The heavenly vocal harmony sound that came from Wilson's vision and creativity opens the show and the familiar, loping rhythm of the eternal, forever-young California Girls clippity-clops into life and we are already in rapture, all just so damned pleased for Brian that the feel-good factor here is so tangible, so strong that it is a physical, shared thing that belongs to everyone in Hall One tonight. A new (to me) song Girl Don't Tell Me kinda reminds me of Jackie de Shannon's Every Time That You Walk In The Room - and there's nothing wrong with that - Brian has always openly acknowledged and celebrated other great talents, as this evening will confirm. And here we go - pure hot, sunny summer romance in 7 minutes with the chiming My Little Girl, and all the Hawaiian shirt wearers (they look like an explosion in a paint factory) are in seventh heaven with Dance, Dance, Dance (Chuck Berry with surf) - tonight we're going to dance like its 1965. Surfer Girl, sweet and cool as the gentle Venice Beach sea breeze: In My Room - how could he create something so beautiful, in both conception and execution, from such terrible experiences? Singing their sandals off, Salt Lake City is rock 'n' roll with hydrogen vocals and honking sax, and a whole shitload of girls and cars anthems include Custom Machine, Desert Drive, Little Deuce Coupe, Fun Fun Fun (you know, the one about her daddy taking the T Bird away). Brian Wilson writes a masterpiece in time I take to make a cup of tea.
This is such a slick, gifted band that keeps the pace moving, classic followed by bigger classic, this was an emotional night, hearing The Man perform...read and be amazed by this heritage...heart-stopping Don't Worry Baby (a work of art); I Get Around (a total rhythmic triumph); Sail on Sailor with a screaming Fender Strat solo; Do It Again (slow build up, drums, then bass...I'm running out of superlatives..); And Then I Kissed Her (Phil Spector makes contact with sax heaven); When I Grow Up To Be A Man (a lasting masterpiece ); All Summer Long (paradoxical that a guy that's had such a crap time brightens so many lives with the words 'fun' and 'summer'); Do You Want To Dance (sheer celebration of youth that pisses all over Cliff's Home Counties boy-next-door version); Sloop John B (the whole house singing and rolling). Friends, you would kill me if I didn't tell you all about... Wouldn't It Be Nice (glorious perfection,a masterclass in everything, Brian conducting, as he did all night, from stage front-centre); God Only Knows (a spiritual in all but name, I'm amazed at what these folks can achieve live on stage - this makes a mockery of the instant pop star, just add ignorance, rubbish that pollutes our media).
Of the more reflective newer material, Going Home ("At 25 I turned out the light cos I couldn't handle the glare in my tired eyes") and Southern California come in shades of grey, melancholy operas for modern times - after all, it does sometimes seem it rains in Southern California. The home stretch gave even more treasures - does it get any better than Good Vibrations (that's a rhetorical question and the answer is a loud - 'no, it doesn't', and 'euphoric' is the only word that comes to my feeble mind), Help Me Rhonda sweeps the room like a Mexican wave and with the crazy call-and-response party that is Barbara Ann, they can hear us singing on the other side of the North Sea in Bergen. Fun Fun Fun, just like The Man says.
The encore has Brian and keyboards only, with Love and Mercy comes from the heart of a man that just wasn't made for these times - God bless you Brian Wilson. You can take me now Lord, after tonight, I'm good to go.
You may be interested in
- Wed 2nd Dec 2015 to Sat 2nd Jul 2016 Billy Elliot the MusicalBuy Tickets
- Wed 2nd Dec 2015 to Fri 1st Jul 2016 Disney Presents the Lion KingBuy Tickets
- Wed 2nd Dec 2015 You Don't Bring Me FlowersINEC - Gleneagle Hotel Killarney (Kerry)Buy Tickets
- Wed 2nd Dec 2015 to Thu 17th Dec 2015 James McCartneyBuy Tickets
- Fri 4th Dec 2015 Go West, Nik Kershaw, T'PauIndigo at the O2 (London)Buy Tickets
- Wed 9th Dec 2015 Tom RobinsonWhelan's (Dublin)Buy Tickets
- Fri 11th Dec 2015 Go West, Nik KershawRobin 2 (Wolverhampton)Buy Tickets
- Sat 12th Dec 2015 The Brighton Beach BoysThe Brunswick (Hove)Buy Tickets
- Thu 17th Dec 2015 Ginger Baker's Airforce: Ginger BakerBorderline (Westminster)Buy Tickets
- Thu 7th Jan 2016 to Sat 12th Mar 2016 Paul CarrackBuy Tickets
- Fri 15th Jan 2016 to Sat 27th Feb 2016 The Classic Rock ShowBuy Tickets
- Tue 2nd Feb 2016 to Sun 7th Feb 2016 Sweet BabooOn SaleWed 2nd Decat 10am
- Sat 6th Feb 2016 and Thu 18th Feb 2016 Judie TzukeBuy Tickets
- Thu 11th Feb 2016 to Fri 20th May 2016 Andy Fairweather LowBuy Tickets
- Fri 18th Mar 2016 Giggs, Ghetts, D Double E, Ironik, Chip: Grime LiveIndigo at the O2 (London)Buy Tickets
- Fri 15th Apr 2016 WingsbannedCavern (Liverpool)Buy Tickets
- Mon 25th Apr 2016 and Tue 26th Apr 2016 The Lovely EggsBuy Tickets
- Tue 10th May 2016 to Sat 14th May 2016 Elvis CostelloBuy Tickets
- Fri 13th May 2016 and Sat 14th May 2016 Gerry McAvoyBuy Tickets
- Thu 26th May 2016 to Thu 2nd Jun 2016 Bonnie RaittBuy Tickets
- Fri 10th Jun 2016 to Sun 26th Jun 2016 Nocturne: Elton JohnBuy Tickets