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
- Sun 25th Jan 2015 to Wed 15th Jul 2015 Disney Presents the Lion KingBuy Tickets
- Mon 26th Jan 2015 to Wed 15th Jul 2015 Billy Elliot the MusicalBuy Tickets
- Wed 28th Jan 2015 to Sun 29th Mar 2015 Paul CarrackBuy Tickets
- Wed 28th Jan 2015 to Sat 21st Feb 2015 The Classic Rock Show: Top 20 Greatest Guitar Riffs of All Time - Live!Buy Tickets
- Fri 30th Jan 2015 The Yardbirds100 Club (Westminster)Buy Tickets
- Mon 2nd Feb 2015 Curtis StigersLyric Theatre - Shaftesbury Avenue (London)Buy Tickets
- Thu 5th Feb 2015 to Thu 28th May 2015 10ccBuy Tickets
- Fri 13th Feb 2015 to Fri 19th Jun 2015 Andy Fairweather LowBuy Tickets
- Wed 18th Feb 2015 Doyle Bramhall IIO2 Shepherds Bush Empire (Shepherds Bush)Buy Tickets
- Thu 19th Feb 2015 to Fri 6th Mar 2015 Ryan AdamsBuy Tickets
- Thu 26th Feb 2015 21st Birthday: Fierce Panda, The HostsBorderline (Westminster)Buy Tickets
- Tue 3rd Mar 2015 Albert LeeColston Hall/ Lantern (Bristol)Buy Tickets
- Thu 19th Mar 2015 to Fri 8th May 2015 The Lovely EggsBuy Tickets
- Fri 20th Mar 2015 Duncan LamontWakefield Sports Club (Wakefield)Buy Tickets
- Wed 15th Apr 2015 to Thu 30th Apr 2015 Gerry McAvoy: Band of FriendsBuy Tickets
- Wed 6th May 2015 and Sat 16th May 2015 Albert Lee and Hogan's HeroesBuy Tickets
- Fri 8th May 2015 and Fri 5th Jun 2015 The Neil Diamond StoryBuy Tickets
- Thu 14th May 2015 to Sat 23rd May 2015 Eric ClaptonBuy Tickets
- Wed 27th May 2015 to Thu 4th Jun 2015 The Beach BoysBuy Tickets
- Sat 30th May 2015 to Thu 25th Jun 2015 Elvis CostelloBuy Tickets
- Sun 31st May 2015 to Sat 20th Jun 2015 Elton JohnBuy Tickets
- Tue 16th Jun 2015 and Wed 17th Jun 2015 Eden Sessions, Elton JohnBuy Tickets
- Thu 25th Jun 2015 to Sat 4th Jul 2015 Gladys KnightBuy Tickets
- Sat 27th Jun 2015 Ginger BakerJazz Cafe (Camden)Buy Tickets
- Tue 30th Jun 2015 to Tue 14th Jul 2015 Neil DiamondBuy Tickets
- Sat 4th Jul 2015 Let's Rock Exeter, ABC, Bananarama, Billy Ocean, Dr and the ...Powderham Castle (Exeter)Buy Tickets
- Sat 11th Jul 2015 Let's Rock Southampton, Jimmy Somerville, Hot Chocolate, Mid...Southampton Common (Southampton)Buy Tickets