[Editor's note: Thanks to my dad's obsession with '50s and '60s music, I was raised to a soundtrack of the Beach Boys. So when I heard the band was coming through New York City on their 50th anniversary tour, complete with missing link Brian Wilson, I invited my dad to fly out from Seattle to see the Boys in action. He came. We went. Here's what my dad thought of the show...]
This review is by William Goodman–not the William Goodman that edits and writes for this website, but his 65-year-old dad!
I graduated from high school in 1964 and consider myself a well-versed fan of the 1950s and '60s era of music. The Beach Boys, “America’s Band,” led the music craze on the left side of the Atlantic in the mid-'60s and they gained a worldwide acclaim that rivaled the Beatles. Fifty years after it all began, all this great music (45 songs in total) was presented Wednesday night in a three-hour concert at the beautiful Beacon Theatre in New York, and it brought forth a wave of very enjoyable reminiscing for all us grey-headed audience members. This was an active and informal concert with plenty audience participation, including dancing and singing along (from both my son and I, too).
Surfing may not have been available to those who grew up inland, like myself in Montana, but hot rods certainly were! The Boys' back-to-back presentation of “Little Honda,” “Little Deuce Coupe,” “409” and “Shut Down” with their lively beat and blue-collar lyrics got the youthful juices flowing. “I Get Around” completed this package (as well as the first set) leaving everyone up-tempo for the intermission.
The Beach Boys' rendition of the Mamas & the Papas' classic "California Dreamin’" was a definite highlight, as was “Sloop John B,” “California Girls” and, surprisingly, their brand new single "That’s Why God Made the Radio” (listen below).
In 1984 our son was less than one year old and still in a walker, but he'd rock in our Rec Room to the Beach Boys' “Help me, Rhonda”–a nice family memory. The track was also a favorite during Wednesday night's set.
With those new Fender Jaguar guitars, the well-rehearsed band, which included as many as 15 musicians, proved that their vocal talents were aged in oak. Paired with their tight surf guitar riffs, the Beach Boys produced a sound like no other. They're true originals. Songs like “Do You Wanna Dance?” had the crowd on their toes.
The encore brought the audience an exceptional performance of “Good Vibrations,” their best song. It's very difficult to play (as a guitarist, I know), but it proved to be a masterpiece of harmony. “Fun, Fun, Fun” ended the concert and really described the experience in its entirety. Fun!
So if you ever get a call from your son or daughter, inviting you to the Beach Boys' 50th anniversary tour, my suggestion is that you do all you can to attend. I did and it was more than worth it.
–William L. Goodman, Billy's dad
Beach Boys, “That’s Why God Made the Radio” (Live in Texas)