Thursday, July 21, 2011

On the Beach with the Beach Boys!

After another quite a long break (been out of communications range again...) I am very, very happy to return with a huge mania regarding an old favorite of mine, my favorite band of all times – a favorite that has been with me longer than that one psychedelic power pop band I talk about all the time... Well, I admit being quite illogical in this matter. The truth is that I actually have two #1 favorite bands.

The Beach Boys have been with me since the autumn of 2004. First, I fell in love with the early sound of stuff like I Get Around and Fun, Fun, Fun. Then, I heard Pet Sounds. Since that I haven't been able to say which I enjoy more: the early cheerful rock'n'roll energy or the later orchestrated gorgeousness. These are two worlds quite different from each other, but the four-part harmonies are excellent everywhere. I guess I am just not the kind of person who undermines good-sounding and entertaining stuff just because there is also something more sophisticated available.

I saw the Beach Boys live for the first time in Helsinki in 2006. It was a concert performed by Mike Love, Bruce Johnston and a group of very skilled musicians. Then, I had a similar experience just little over a week ago. Well, it wasn't all that similar, actually. The 2006 concert was arranged at a huge indoor arena in November and this more recent concert on a beach in southwestern Finland by a lake in July. The concert was originally supposed to happen in Yyteri by the sea but was moved to another more outlying place called Eura.

I don't know why this concert wasn't booked to Helsinki. A lot more people would have come... I was a bit worried about the attendance before the concert. But once the band stepped on the stage I couldn't worry anymore. There were lots of people there, dancing like crazy in front of the stage all through the gig.

I soon joined these lovely people and danced through the endless cavalcade of old Beach Boys hits – songs many of which were almost 50 years old but when are we really going to stop needing happy, carefree rock'n'roll songs - and loving especially these ones? The Beach Boys music is still as current as ever because it was written to make people smile and forget about all the bad things at least for a while. Everyone needs to have some fun every now and then... So, why not have fun with one of the most talented rock'n'roll vocal groups that has ever existed?

In the 1960s, and that day, the Beach Boys sung songs about surfing, cool cars (even love songs to cars!), and pretty girls. However, I don't think the songs need to be interpreted literally. Simply said, the Beach Boys music is like a celebration of doing what you enjoy. Enjoying life and all that it can offer! Catching a wave can easily be seen as a symbol of feeling good and mighty in any situation, and succeeding in something you wish to succeed in – to cut a long story short: fulfilling your dreams.

Little things like saying to somebody in music that if I did it then you can do it too, what ever your “do it” might be (Brian Wilson commentary for Friends remastered)

So, the concert was a blast. Mike and Bruce had again very good musicians with them and the four-part harmonies sounded as fresh as ever. I was very impressed by the vocal performances: those guys really seemed to be able to transform into Brian, Carl or Al Jardine! It was a good thing that they had included a few non-hit songs in the set as well (!). I enjoyed everything from Surf City to Getcha Back. Bruce gave a nice performance of God Only Knows. The psychedelic songs (Good Vibrations, Heroes and Villains) sounded really good and also stood out. What a curious feeling to think for yourself (even though you already have listened to it countless times): is this music really from the same band that performed those primitive car songs?! It also became clear that the Beach Boys have recorded many, many great cover versions of popular songs and given them a good Beach Boys treatment. After the concert I got Mike Love's autograph. I bet I don't have an autograph by anyone more famous!

Now, let me tell you about a dream of mine... As you already guessed, I would like to see all living original members of the Beach Boys performing together. In fact, just seeing Brian Wilson would be such a pilgrimage to me. I'd better monitor Brian's tour schedules and if he ever comes to Northern Europe again...

More Beach Boys blabber to come. I'm feeling BB manic.

No comments: