Concert Review: The Beach Boys 50th Anniversary Tour (Jones Beach Theater, New York)

I went into this concert very skeptical & almost attempted to sell off the tickets. I wasn't sure if the Beach Boys could pull it off & was afraid it would be a show of backing musicians covering for the originals. Boy was I wrong..............

A beautiful cool evening on the shores of theJones Beach Theater, made for a perfect setting for the Beach Boys 50th Anniversary Tour. Last time I saw the band was at Live Aid & at this same venue way back in 1984.

This current show blew me away, it was an incredidible celebration of a fantastic musical library the Beach Boys posses. The surf songs, the party songs, the love songs, the psychaeldic songs, the car songs & the timeless summer sixties music we all have grown up on. Of course how can you mention the Beach Boys without talking about their incredible harmonies. Those harmonies were so good they even inspired the Beatles & tonight they were right on cue.

The music was great as a nine piece band backed the original four surviving members. I did not expect this show to be so good, even more so it was great. It can be safe to say that the Beach Boys have provided us with an incredible soundtrack to beach & summer memories throughout our lives, tonight was just another dose of just that added in.

The Beach Boys 50th anniversary Tour band consisted of its original surviving members: Mike Love who's vocals are still fantastic, he has a good stage presence as he slowly moves about the stage giving the band most of its movement. Love is a cousin of the Wilson's and sang lead on a majority of the bands hits. Love was one of the first rock musicians to get involved with meditation & he accompained the Beatles to India in 1968 to study meditation under the Maharishi. Love continued to tour with the Beach Boys doing most of the lead vocals as Carl Wilson took charge of the musical arrangements, After his passing Love kept touring by leasing the Beach Boys name & using mostly backing band members.

My man, little Al Jardine (the only original non relative Beach Boy) may have stole the show with his fantastic lead vocal on Help Me Rhonda. It was a major highlight, as he got the fans dancing & singing real loud. The multi instramentalist brings good life on stage playing his guitar & having a good old time, doing it. He & Bruce Johnston's enthusiasm just rolls off into the crowd.

Bruce Johnston joined the band in 1965 (after the departure of Glen Campbell) he was very livley on stage behind his keyboards, always smiling while leading the crowd in sing along & hand clapping. He looked to be having a great time as well. Mike Love joked about Johnston being the author of the sappy Barry Manilow tune, I Write the Songs. Johnston cracked back something like "yea & Kokomo is any better".....

And of course Brian Wilson, the creative writing genius of the band who's advanced visions of music in the sixties may have actually led to his downfall. Brian has suffered from mental illness, drug, alchohol & weight problems. In the sixties he stopped touring with the band to create more of their music. His master piece was the Pet Sounds, album inspired by the Beatles Rubber Soul. In 1966 The incredible ground breaking song Good Vibrations took months & $50,000 to record.

But it hit number one on the charts & is considered one of the greatest po/rock songs of all time. It & Pet Sounds inspired Paul McCartney during the Sgt. Pepper period. When Brian heard A Day In The Life, he was devestated telling himself he could never top that. His work on his next masterpiece SMiLE was abandon & would not get completed until 2004. Recently with his problems behind him, he has had a sucessful solo album & tours.

Brain Wilson's presence is apparanet on the stage, he is to be respected & respected. But it seemed at first he is just sitting there. Is he actually playing the piano at all? Often I saw his hands hanging by his side. He doesnt talk much or look at the crowd.  Is he involved at all. With my binoculars I kep trying to figure him out. But Then all of a sudden he will sing an incredible harmony or backing vocal. In the second set after the instrumental, Love, Jardine Johnston all huddle around the piano backing Brian as he leads them on an incredible version of Add Some Music To Your Day. Then Brian continues to be masterful on my favorite Beach Boy songs Sloop John B. & Good Vibrations. Other Wilson highlights were Heroes & Villans & Sail on Sailor. The only time he got up was during the encores Kokomo.

The Beach Boys had a nine piece band backing them up, they were great but kept their place as a backing band in the back ground. Actor / sometime Beach Boy John Stamos came out to play the drums on a few tunes for an added treat. David Marx played bass & sang, he was was a young teen when he first joined the Beach Boys in the early sixties. David lived across the street from the Wilsons according to what Mike Love said on the intro's. He left the band in 1965 then returned a decade ago.

There were two touching tributes to the two other Wilson Brothers who have since passed on, Dennis & Carl. There were two seperate video clips of the two singing lead vocals (Dennis on Forever & Carl on God Only Knows) with the band on stage playing behind them as a back up. This was also an incredible addition to the show celebrating the bands history, a real touching tearful tribiute.There were also photos through the years added in the video montage.

Dennis Wilson the only real surfer in the band was the bands drummer & also a rhaspy backing vocalist. He was the wildest of the Wilson Brothes who was actually friends with Charles Manson & the Family until he realized what they were all about. Luckily he broke free from the bunch just in time. Dennis drowned in 1983 at age 39.

Carl Wilson was the youngest brother, a fine guitar player who also played a variety of instruments as well as produced. His vocal work on Good Vibrations, God Only Knows & I Can Hear Music are among his vocal highlights. Carl helped keep the band together in the days of Brians departure. The very spiritual Carl Wilson passed away after a battle with cancer in 1998 at age 51.

1st Set:
Do It Again
Little Honda
Catch A Wave
Don't Back Down
Surfin' Safari
Surfer Girl
Please Let Me Wonder
Then I Kissed Her
Kiss Me, Baby
Getcha Back
Why Do Fools Fall in Love
When I Grow Up (to Be a Man)
Disney Girls
Isn't It Time
California Saga
Cotton Fields Be True to Your School
Don't Worry Baby
Little Deuce Coupe
Shut Down
I Get Around

2nd Set:
Pet Sounds (Instrumental)
Add Some Music to Your Day
Our Prayer
Heroes and Villains
Sloop John B
Wouldn't It Be Nice
I Just Wasn't Made for These Times
Sail on, Sailor
All This Is That
That's Why God Made the Radio
In My Room
God Only Knows
Good Vibrations
California Girls
Help Me, Rhonda
Rock and Roll Music
Do You Wanna Dance?
Surfin' U.S.A.

Barbara Ann
Fun, Fun, Fun


I saw this show in Camden, NJ on June 16th, and I agree with you, it was great. (I had previously seen the Beach Boys in 1975 and 2000.)

John Stamos wasn't on hand for the show I attended.

Correction: The 5th Beach Boy is David Marks (Richard Marx is a different musician.) Marks played on the band's first 4 albums, then left soon after Al Jardine returned to the band.
Allan Stuart said…
Read your review of the show the other night. Saw them in May at The
Beacon in Manhattan (see attached pic). My first BB's show was 1972 at Carnegie Hall.

Just to correct your review: It's David Marks (not Richard Marx who
was another musician from the 80's). Anyway, David was on the first 4 Beach Boys albums for Capital records. Plenty of hits he played on:

Catch a Wave, Surfin Safari, 409, Little Deuce Coupe, Surfin USA, etc.

He was a neighbor of the Wilsons and was playing music with them
before Al Jardine. When Al returned late 1963 both he and David were with the band. Davids parents had a financial disagreement with Murry
Wilson, who was Manager of the BB's which caused David to leave the

So it's certainly credible that he be on the 50th reunion tour.

Thanks for posting a review. Where was Newsday??
Surfer\Safari said…
What a great show!! Great review as well!
Gerard Sanzi said…
I saw the Beach Boys for the first time in the summer of 1983. They were all there including Dennis. Brian wasn't there. I saw them again in August of that year. They were sensational. I saw them again in June of 2012 at Bethel Woods the original Woodstock festival grounds. I was apprehensive at first. Even thought about selling my tickets. Thankfully I didn't. It was the best night ever. The weather was perfect and the harmonies and instrumentals were great. I felt like I was transported back to the 60s and tooling around in my 60 corvette. It literally was the best concert I ever went to. They played 45 of their biggest hits and had the everyone rocking. I hope they do it again in 2013.

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