- 27 Jul 17
The genius of Brian Wilson will be celebrated as long as humans have ears, but its personal cost is also evident this evening. A stunning first section delightfully mixes hits like ‘California Girls’ and ‘I Get Around’ with lesser-known tunes such as ‘I’d Love Just Once To See You’ and ‘Aren’t You Glad’. For good measure, there are spine-tingling versions of ‘In My Room’, ‘Little Surfer Girl’, and ‘Don’t Worry Baby’. Wilson nerds, like myself, are in heaven.
There’s an interlude, the busy ice cream stand reminding us this isn’t a Motörhead gig, before the main event. Kudos to the band, for their recreation of Wilson’s masterpiece is near flawless, from the car horn in ‘Still Believe In Me’, to the bass harmonica in ‘I Know There’s An Answer’, and the massive Spector drum sound throughout. The vocal backing is a stunningly perfect facsimile, especially Matt Jardine, who handles all the high-pitched heavy lifting. His father Al’s voice has weathered well, as his lead on ‘Here Today’ attests, even if he does resemble the local golf pro.
Sadly, Wilson himself is a spectral presence. Sat at a piano he never touches, he looks genuinely lost on several occasions. His singing is strained at best, although the room wills him on, offering him a standing ovation just for turning up. That said, his cracked vocal adds an extra layer of pathos to a beautiful ‘God Only Knows’, surely one of the records that God listens to on his day off.