Beach Boys dazzle at Chateau Ste. Michelle concert
Together again on their 50th anniversary, the Beach Boys pulled off a magnificently crafted show at Chateau Ste. Michelle in Woodinville Friday night, regaling concertgoers with signatures songs about sun, fun, girls and cars.
Seattle Times jazz critic
Concert Review |
In what will likely stand as the summer's signature concert, the Beach Boys celebrated the band's 50th anniversary Friday at Chateau Ste. Michelle with a magnificently crafted marathon of a show.
Over three hours, the band delivered an astonishing 46 songs, regaling the sound track of a generation. From catchy baubles like "Surfin' Safari" and "Little Deuce Coupe" to marvels of pop ingenuity like "God Only Knows" and "Good Vibrations," the Beach Boys transcended what looked at the start like an implausible, even pathetic enterprise — seven old men singing in falsetto voices about teenage fantasies of sun, fun, girls and cars.
But somehow, by the end, like the lightning storm that had drenched the area earlier in the day, the years magically washed away.
The current touring incarnation of the fabled SoCal chorale — which has a comeback hit album on its hands, "That's Why God Made the Radio" — lined up seven-strong across the Château's wide stage, left to right: Brian Wilson, white baby grand piano; Jeffrey Foskett and David Marks, guitar; Mike Love, lead vocals and host; Al Jardine and Scott Totten, guitar; and Bruce Johnston, keyboards. Behind them, on an elevated tier, stood seven more instrumentalists.
Curious eyes focused on formerly feuding kingpins Wilson and Love, who have not toured together in decades. They were true to type, Love the undisputed and affable alpha male, Wilson hovering introvertedly over the keyboard — though with far more animation than many reports have suggested. He stood up to play bass on the infectious "Barbara Ann.")
The band carefully built its show with two emotional arcs, building to an early-hits, first-set climax on the anthem "Be True to Your School," creating a nostalgic class reunion vibe reinforced by yearbook-style projections on a screen.
The second half took a left turn into the later albums "Pet Sounds" ("Wouldn't It Be Nice," "I Just Wasn't Made For These Times") and "Smiley Smile" ("Heroes and Villains"), then doubled back for the knockout punch, "Help Me, Rhonda," which wrenched the crowd to its feet as if it had been plugged into a socket.
The show's overwhelming success was all the more remarkable given its often uneven execution. Love's squirrely voice was rarely attractive, and Wilson often sounded distant and strained. The overstuffed band slalomed erratically between in-the-pocket grooves and choppy sludge.
But when those voices suddenly gathered into dense harmonic clouds, the effect was heavenly. All was well in the universe.
Paul de Barros: 206-464-3247 or firstname.lastname@example.org