The Beach Boys at Farm Bureau Live (Virginia Beach, VA 7/3/12)
Legendary California based band The Beach Boys played a pre-July 4th performance at the Farm Bureau Live Amphitheater in Virginia Beach, VA to commemorate their 50thanniversary – and how appropriate it was on a hot July summer night for their set to contain 50 out of the hundreds of songs that they have recorded for half a century from the hits to the obscure. Original surviving band members, Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine, Bruce Johnston, and David Marks were accompanied by a solid backing of studio musicians that have recorded + toured with the band throughout the years. Also of note – John Cowsill of the legendary 60’s pop group The Cowsills provided the backbeat to the entire evening, along with the majority of Brian Wilson’s touring band.
50 years and 50 songs equated to a night filled with memories and nostalgia. The backdrop featured a collage of photographs that streamed on a screen that simulated an old drive-in movie – sandy beaches, girls, surfboards and vintage Beach Boys poses. Fun in the sun was a recurring theme – throughout the concert a sparing amount of beach balls were tossed out into the audience as the band played “Catch a Wave,” “Surfin’ Safari,” “Surfin’ USA” among others.
The highlight of the show was the presence of all five surviving members and their impressive set of 50 songs that began with “Do it Again” and was followed with a mix of songs from their earlier albums dedicated to cars and surfing. The hits “Surfer Girl,” “Hawaii,” “409,” “Little Deuce Coup” along with a few surprises and humorous quips from Mike Love & Bruce Johnston – they joked about Johnston’s writing of the Barry Manilow’s “I Write the Songs,” but seriously segue way into “Disney Girls” from 1972’s “Surf’s Up” LP. On the theme of Disney, Wilson’s unique style of songwriting often times had a sprinkle of animation, especially one of the touching ballads off of their “Little Deuce Coup” album “Ballad of Ole’ Betsy” about a love for a car, which was sung by guitarist Scott Totten.
After the brief intermission, the second set began with “Pet Sounds” (which featured David Marks taking center stage on lead guitar) and a string of songs that captured the band’s playfulness – “Heroes and Villains” to the nautical theme of “Sloop John B” and “Sail On, Sailor.” A loving tribute similar in the style made famous by Natalie and Nat King Cole’s “Unforgettable” was performed with the Boys’ beautiful backing harmonies and spotlighting Dennis Wilson’s lead on “Forever” and Carl Wilson’s via “God Only Knows.” The night would not have been complete without a few samples from the band’s latest hit album – That’s Why God Made the Radio that included two songs, the title track and “Isn’t it Time.” Listening to each of these songs live raises the hairs off one’s back – pure timeless Beach Boys soon-to-be classics!
Before the second set ended, the band treated the audience with hit after hit that had the entire venue dancing and singing to their favorite Beach Boys songs – from “Good Vibrations,” “California Girls,” to “Do You Wanna Dance.” The band briefly departed from the stage to close out the evening with an encore that ended with the trademark of all summer’s past and present “Fun, Fun, Fun” – that fittingly was accompanied by fireworks. And to add to that sentiment, as long as the songs keep churning after the band has stopped performing, there will always be an endless summer through their music – 50 years and onward.
The Beach Boys “Isn’t Time” (Live – Farm Bureau Live – Virginia Beach, VA 07.03.12)