After the success of our familial visit to Nostalgia – not far from Arthralgia, a bit north of Myopia – we did it again, early this year.
This time, to an even earlier era: that of the Beach Boys….
I didn’t even know some of them were still alive, let alone performing – yet here they were, about to come and give a series of South African concerts before going on to Australia, to genuinely follow the surf circuit that Mike Love apparently still enjoys.
But -and it was a big but – after we booked, we heard that it was going to be the Beach Boy rather than Boys, as ONLY Mike Love was going to come! And the Beach Boys were essentially a franchise operation, with several different assemblages touring at different times.
I think the wave of dissatisfaction that emanated from our shores must have had an effect, because the band that eventually arrived had Mike Love and Bruce Johnston – himself a fill-in in the 1960s for Brian Wilson – and Mike’s son Christian, as well as a really polished backup crew.
And they were brilliant.
I mean, the two main men are in their late sixties minimum (hell, the band’s first release was in 1961!); they’re singing songs that are aimed at teenage boys and girls – and it worked! They kicked things off with a medley that just segued effortlessly from classic to classic, starting with “Do it Again” – which has to be the best version I have ever heard.
One forgets how complicated some of their stuff was, musically: try and work out the harmonies sometime, and then watch a big band doing things like “Good Vibrations” live…sublime!
OK, the audience average age was in the fifties (including all the children); this was a serious grey power event – and most folk stood most of the time, and shook themselves silly. Even during the middle bit, which got a bit whiney, what with a little too much dalliance with their more forgettable numbers – like “Be True to Your School”! And then they would redeem themselves, with “Little Deuce Coupe”, “Wouldn’t it be Nice”…and then building to an amazing finish, with “Good Vibrations”, “California Girls”, and “Kokomo”.