brian wilson pet sounds tour
Brian Wilson Pet Sounds Tour Review at Sacramento Community Center
Ordinarily I would not read another review before posting my own Brian Wilson Pet Sounds Tour Review about the 50th Anniversary Tour for Pet Sounds, which came this last weekend to Sacramento Community Center. The main reason is I don’t want anybody else’s words floating around in my brain when I am writing. No undue influences, regardless of how subliminal. But during the show on Saturday, I had mixed feelings. Was Brian Wilson on stage because he wanted to be there or did his family and staff stuff his clothes with straw, stick a broom up his butt and plant this guy on a piano bench, like a set decoration against his will, just to make a buck? Did they use a cattle prod to make his lips move to pre-recorded audio?
Or, was the enormously talented Brian Wilson so fiercely determined to perform instead that he would overcome all odds to do it? I expect it’s a little of both and, by the end of the night, it was all right. This Brian Wilson Pet Sounds Tour Review is more about the experience for fans, those of us who grew up in the ’60s, dancing to surf-and-car songs. And now, here we are, in our 60s, dancing to surf-and-car songs.
As you can see, we are not sitting in the front row. It wasn’t bad seats, though, we were within 6 or 7 rows of the stage, and it was center, so I am not complaining. My husband bought these tickets because I had a conflict the day they went on sale. Probably taking a listing in Sacramento, since I was otherwise engaged at 10 AM in the morning, and I can’t think of anything else I could possibly be doing that would prevent my nimble fingers from trying to snatch front-row seats at a concert I really wanted to attend.
Plus, I know how much my husband appreciates the break-through album Pet Sounds, even though he was still a baby when that album was released. When I asked him if he was excited to see the show, his response was he does not really care for nostalgia tours. Yet he dragged me to see Dr. John, so go figure. OK, maybe not the same thing. Let’s just say as a guy from Chicago, he has his eyeball glued to the Cubs at the moment. Every show, criminy.
The show opened with a bunch of Beach Boy hits like California Girls, I Get Around, Dance Dance Dance, Surfer Girl. Al Jardine’s son Matt sang much to the crowd’s delight in a perfect falsetto pitch, like Brian Wilson reincarnated right before your very eyes, and scored big-time performing those high notes on Surfer Girl. After a dozen or so Beach Boy songs, the show paused for a 20-minute intermission. I hit my husband up for $10 bucks and headed into the lobby.
Whoa. Extremely long lines toward the restrooms and, in the other direction, the bar. Twenty minutes wasn’t much time. I might have to choose between the restroom and the bar. That was a tough decision. Grab a drink or go pee. What to do? I did not want to miss any of the performance. The sound coming from that stage, generated by 11 (and with Blondie Chaplin 12) musicians, that huge volume of sound generated by the enormous variety of instruments selected by a creative genius required a person to be there in her seat. Not standing in line in the lobby.
I didn’t get to where I am in life by indecision. Priorities have always come easily to me. That’s it, and I was off to the bar. See, I could always take my drink into the women’s room, but you can’t order a drink from a toilet seat. At least not yet in today’s world. Besides, bartenders know everything, and I asked where to find a restroom without a long line. Upstairs. Not only that, but there are more restrooms in the building next door. Future reference.
There couldn’t be two more opposite ends of the rainbow than Brian Wilson behind the piano, looking like he’s consumed by dark, depressing melancholy thoughts and Blondie Chaplin doing his one-man-talent show. Like Chaplin has been locked up with the Rolling Stones in a very small cage for years and just recently released alone into civilization. He was a showy peacock on meth, a shiny shooter marble amidst fellow cat eyes. I wondered if he had not performed with the Beach Boys in the 1970s whether he would be on stage with the band now.
The second part of the show, and yes, I made it back to my seat prior to its commencement, was the reason for this Brian Wilson Pet Sounds Tour Review as the band performed the 50th anniversary of Pet Sounds in its entirety. The sadness, the longing, the excited thrills of all-consuming love, our silly fantasies that seemed so real and important and raw, it was all there. Still poignant. Meaningful. An album that wasn’t just one of the best rock albums of all time but a huge influence on other musicians and the world of music as we know it today. It’s not just nostalgia.
As long as I didn’t think about Brian Wilson reading the teleprompter and every so often asking the audience in a dead-zone zombie tone to “please sit down,” I was OK. Every 74-year-old icon is not as high energy as say, Paul McCartney at Golden 1 Center earlier this month, or even Mark Lindsay, whom I personally witnessed fold himself in two standing up during the Happy Together Tour a few years back. Some 74-year-olds are lucky to be alive and still doing what they love.
I was more than OK, especially dancing to Help me, Rhonda. Bar-bar-bar-Bar-Barbara Ann, Surfin’ USA, Fun Fun Fun, and then, well, Love and Mercy rounded it out and ended the show. Brian Wilson seems to be doing the best that he can, and his best was actually good enough for this fan. It was a marvelous show.
I am also hopeful that this week the Sacramento City Council will approve the $200 million proposed expansion and remodeling plans for the Sacramento Community Center and the Sacramento Convention Center. Let’s return the end of K Street mall to its glory and become part of the resurgence and energy happening in Sacramento today.