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So...……Anyone care to share your experience with this (still new) tour?  I realize only a few shows have occurred, but it sure would be good to spread a little positive news around.  Been a hard year for Brian and Band ( [frown] ), so ANY back-to-the-music discussions are surely welcomed here.

Seems like such a great idea to team up with The Zombies (and watch Darian ALL night).  The music seems complementary, two great Beach Boys LPs are featured, and a shorter(?) show seems wise for Brian.  Yet haven't heard much so far.

Anyone? 
-Doug

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Reply with quote  #2 
Doug, thanks. I had been meaning to do this, needed your gentle nudge. We were at the Hard Rock Las Vegas show August 31, a freezing 109 or 110 degree day. Excellent concert, different from the Greek Theater show last night from what I read a little while ago.

We had 5 Zombies, and Darian did not perform with them. They did a "mini suite" of 4 songs from Odessey and Oracle (based on a review I saw, it appears they had a larger group last night, with Darian I think, and did the entire Odessey album). The 13 song set we saw was terrific, a bit over an hour. 

The BW Band was in fine form, with Brian, Al, Matt, Blondie and Darian doing leads. They played 29 songs straight through with no band intro. It was great to hear songs from Friends and Surf's up that were debuted by the BW Band or they had not done for many years. Without posting the entire setlist....I was hoping to hear Diamond Head live, and it was awesome.

All in all, this was a long and very satisfying concert. We are looking forward to the New York City concert and, perhaps, all of Odessey and Oracle.

Also....if you stay on the LV Strip in the summer, stay on the East side. Shady in the morning. We were able to walk outdoors, never crossed the street. 
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Excellent, Paul - I do appreciate this.  Good for the 'vibrations' around here.  Interesting about the shortened Odyssey & Oracle set - wondering if it was advertised like it has been elsewhere (its entirety).  Maybe shorter due to the casino's requirements to get people back at the tables asap [wink].  Really looking forward to the whole LP though, as it's one of my favorites. 

Nice writeup - how many people go to the trouble of advising side-of-street hotels!?!  Certainly would be useful to me in another time, as my wife and I are thinking about a trip there next year - though in the winter.  And good for you for hitting the New York show - you're getting quite the airline miles following this great group of musicians.

I really admire this band - I'm sure it's been hard for them.  At the same time, it's the best medicine I suppose.

OK, if no one else chimes in, the next one's on me - we're going to the concert tonight at the Fox in Oakland.

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Larry Franz

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Reply with quote  #4 
A very good review in the LA Times yesterday:

https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/music/story/2019-09-13/brian-wilson-greek-theatre-friends-68
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Friday the 13th, Full (Harvest) Moon, Oakland CA

The Zombies

Brian Wilson

 

My wife and I are SO glad we attended this show.  I don’t know what my expectations were – mild excitement at seeing The Zombies for the first time (with one of my favorite all-time vocalists, Colin Blunstone), yet wondering how they’d sound.  Anxious for Brian and the band, after a horribly painful summer for them, I’m sure.  Brian’s tour postponement for health reasons, Nicky’s sad, sad, early death.  And we all know Brian’s been subjected to too many (on-line forum) criticisms lately – when all the guy really wants to do is share his music with the world, stay busy and be as happy as practical.  Would he sing much?  Would he ‘talk-sing’?  Would he play the piano?  Would he lose concentration or enthusiasm?  After all, this was his second show in as many nights, after a 400-mile drive.

So with tempered expectations, my wife and I took our seats at the (very beautiful art deco) Fox Theater in Oakland five minutes before The Zombies took the stage.  As Paul said, above, The Zombies started off with a five-man band to play a handful of songs from their early (1960s) career – and at least one song that’s about two weeks old.  But since this was a full show, the similarities ended there. 

Semi-Spoiler Alert – The Zombies

They started with ‘Tell Her No’, ending the first part of their set a bit later with ‘She’s Not There’ before they broke to introduce ‘Odessey & Oracle’.  Talked about recreating the sound for the tour, which would require additional instruments (John Lennon’s Mellotron) and musicians (Colin’s wife and Darian…among a couple others…with the ‘original’ five Zombies). 

I love Odessey & Oracle – it truly is worthy of it’s ranking among the best LPs of the 60s.  And Colin’s voice is still strong.  The band’s enthusiasm was obvious and they delivered a very solid performance.  Sad, however, that their sound did not come across clear – not because of our location, because Brian’s set sound was spot on.  Talked with a couple of other folks at various locations after the night and they had similar reactions.  Their sound wasn’t real bad, just not crisp at all…to the point of wishing they’d turn it down a bit in hopes of hitting a sweeter spot.  I’d blame it on the age of the instruments (I mean, how good could a 50-year old mellotron come across?!?), but who knows.  Still…enjoyable show, great energy, and an appreciative (but mellow) audience (could be that certain something in the air once they introduced O&O).

Spoiler Alert – Brian

It was obvious this was a better version of Brian Wilson than last year (or even parts of 2016/17).  Even though he’s still limited by mobility, he was truly engaged last night.  I was a bit concerned when the band started the night (CA Girls) without him, but he used his walker to get to his chair just in time to sing ”Well East Coast girls are hip…”).  Perfect timing, as he didn’t miss a beat!  The real joy was his enthusiasm and vocals though – NO talk singing.  Keeping his arms moving to the beat several times.  Good intros (“Here’s the directions to my house”).  After a fairly typical set of 7 or 8 songs, he kicked off 7 ‘Friends’ songs with ‘Meant for You’.  And what a joy to hear ‘Friends’ itself – hard song to play, I’m guessing.  Well done.  One of the surprises for me was ‘Little Bird’ – came across really strong in concert.  And Paul is right – ‘Diamond Head’ was fabulous. My wife felt as if she was in the Tiki Room in Disneyland, while I held my hand out half-expecting to feel rain.

Before they broke into 5 songs from ‘Surf’s Up’, we got to hear Darian singing ‘I Can Hear Music’ – what a talented singer, musician, supporter, friend that man is.  Blondie was fine on his three songs, yet ‘Long Promised Road’ seems to call for a bit sweeter voice…just my thought.

Biggest spoiler alert (IMO) – I was nearly shocked to hear ‘Till I Die’…with Brian singing most of that powerful song.  Had a few in the seats yelling out their own shock at the start and at end of the song (maybe me, too).  Moving.  And to follow that up with ‘Surf’s Up’ was almost too much for me – and maybe too much for Brian.  Valiant effort, but such a hard song to sing.  Matt picked up the highest notes brilliantly of course.

Before the encore, Al did a nice version of ‘Lookin’ at Tomorrow’, which the band followed up with 'Heroes and Villains.'

Quite a set.  Quite a night. 

My advice?  Don’t miss this (brief) tour.  It was something great, all right!

 

-Doug 


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Al Forsyth

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Reply with quote  #6 
Thanks Doug.  We see it in two weeks' time.  This is a fabulous review.  
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One of the best Brian Wilson concerts I've been to, AL...so you have much to look forward to.  I think his back (and mind) are truly doing better now.  The nearly-continuous Pet Sounds tour must've been hard on him, but that 'will' of his!

Funny, I didn't read Larry's link to the LA Times Greek Theatre review until yesterday - in which that 'sweeter voice' I desired for Long Promised Road was present there...in Zooey Deschanel!  And Billy Idol's sneer - glad Brian got a kick out of that.

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Reply with quote  #8 
As they say, long time visitor, first time poster. 

I have seen Brian at least 20 times by now, and the Beach Boys at least as many or more, going back to the ice cream suits from 1968.  I was at the 9/12/19 Greek Theater show, 6th row, dead center, with a perfect line of sight to Brian.  So here's my take on the show.

First, I am not that much of a Zombies fan, only being familiar with their radio hits from the 1960's, so I'm not going to dwell too long on them.  They had an interesting set, beginning with the current members, then performing their Odyssey and Oracle album in its entirety with the surviving original members of the band.  They also had some help from Darian on backing vocals and playing the Mellotron.  An interesting approach, quite enjoyable, but I am not familiar with that album so I really can't comment.

The start of Brian's set was something different.  I see in the review of the Oakland show the poster noted Brian used a walker to get to his spot at the piano.  At the Greek, the curtains were closed and when they opened everyone was in place on stage and ready to go.  I know Brian has back problems, I can't say if he was bothered that night or if he just chose not not to use a walker on stage.  This was repeated at the close, there was no encore, they finished the set with the expected songs, closed the curtains and turned on the lights.  That was it.

One aspect that has become more noticeable in the past few shows I have seen is how little Brian sings these days.  Matt Jardine and Darian carried most of the vocals, with three songs from Blondie and a couple from Al.  Quite frequently Brian didn't even participate in background vocals, he sat at the piano.  I also noticed he stared at the sky a few times, rolling his eyes, and also frequently rubbed his face and nose.  I couldn't help but to get the feeling he is almost becoming his own tribute band.
 
Other notes, Zooey Deschanel and Billy Idol joined BW on stage, with Idol joining in on Surfin' USA as part of the finale.  Also, Colin Blunstone and Rod Argent returned to the stage for God Only Knows. but I must admit he and Brian had some difficulty staying in sync.

All and all an enjoyable evening, although at times a bit quirky.  I am always amazed at mix age mix in the crowds, being the expected aging Baby Boomers like me sitting next to assorted millennials who are young enough to be my grandchildren. I guess some things are just timeless.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by My3kGT
As they say, long time visitor, first time poster. 

I have seen Brian at least 20 times by now, and the Beach Boys at least as many or more, going back to the ice cream suits from 1968.  I was at the 9/12/19 Greek Theater show, 6th row, dead center, with a perfect line of sight to Brian.  So here's my take on the show.....
...
One aspect that has become more noticeable in the past few shows I have seen is how little Brian sings these days.  Matt Jardine and Darian carried most of the vocals, with three songs from Blondie and a couple from Al.  Quite frequently Brian didn't even participate in background vocals, he sat at the piano.  I also noticed he stared at the sky a few times, rolling his eyes, and also frequently rubbed his face and nose.  I couldn't help but to get the feeling he is almost becoming his own tribute band.

Nice to see a new poster here, so thanks for sharing GT.  You've seen Brian quite a few times, so I'm wondering when you last saw him before the Sep 12 Greek show.  I'm guessing it's been a few years(?).  I bring this up because Brian's been 'this way' for several years now - and actually his recent performances show an improvement.  His 'back problems' include three surgeries in as many years.  Add a bad episode of his mental health issues in June...and the death of one of his long-time band members (and his friend) in August, and then you may look at the 77-year old Brian Wilson on stage in a different light. Instead of looking at it as if he's his own tribute band, I see a man who'd rather be with his bandmates, sing and play when he wants, and present his music to new and old audiences - instead of sitting at home, focusing on his pain(s).

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Originally Posted by My3kGT
All and all an enjoyable evening, although at times a bit quirky.  I am always amazed at mix age mix in the crowds, being the expected aging Baby Boomers like me sitting next to assorted millennials who are young enough to be my grandchildren. I guess some things are just timeless.
Well said here - I've seen this for awhile, but more so after "Love & Mercy" caught the attention of the younger crowd some.  VERY enjoyable to watch them during the show - especially when they're allowed to dance along the walls.

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Deb#1

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Thank you to all who have posted here for Brian’s Something Great from 68 Tour.

I was in Denver last Friday for Brian’s concert with the Zombies.  It was so far out it was “outasight”.
IMG_0001 (2) (540x640).jpg
The love and enjoyment of the exuberant mile high Denver crowd for this show was infectious.  It was a good mix of fans, too.  Although some of the Zombies fans left after the first set and some of the audience didn’t show until almost intermission, far more came for the whole show. There was far more of a crossover in fan base than for the Jeff Beck shows of 2013.They didn’t hesitate to sing, dance, and just let the music wash over them.  Old folks were reliving the great from music from 68 and new ones were just discovering it.
Zombie originals Colin Blunstone and Rod Argent, with touring group members Steve Rodford, Tom Toomey and Søren Koch came on first for the Zombies.
IMG_0014 (640x352).jpg
They did a few Zombie songs starting with “Tell Her No”.  It was something to hear that whole audience just go to town singing along on the ”No No No, No No No No No, No No, No No No No No No Nos” and then resolve into the “Don’t hurt me now…”.  It was totally powerful fun.  Colin Blunstone’s potent vocal, especially the last “She’s Not There” makes you just feel the sadness, astonishment and anguish of realizing that, really, she’s not there.
Zombie originals Chris White and Hugh Grundy joined the group for the full Odessey and Oracle album.  So did Darian.
IMG_0017 (640x338).jpg 
Hugh Grundy is hidden in the back.
IMG_0018 (2) (640x636).jpg 
 Probyn joined in to lend trumpet support for part of the album but he was behind Colin and I couldn't get a photo.
Odessey and Oracle is a charming yet odd album. It is so pretty in spots yet the lyrics make you pause at times. After all, it starts off with a song from a guy waiting for his girl to get out of prison but set to the most cheery arraignment.  And nothing says quirky like Rod Argent pumping his way through "Butcher's Tale" on a Victorian pump organ.
Argent on Pump Organ (479x563).jpg 
Brian continues to lift and melt my heart every time I see a concert.
IMG_0025 (3) (640x532).jpg
I’m not about to engage in a back on forth on if Brian is enjoying himself or whether he should retire or whether his singing is up to par.  I fully agree with the reviewer Chris Willia of Variety who wrote:
“So if your goal is to remember him exactly as he was in 1965, it’s good that you stay home and save the seat for someone with less stupid goals. If you’re there to celebrate someone who’s been dealt some tough hands in life but still has the urge to bring it — and who’s the most lovable, respectable and fragile contributor to the otherwise superhuman philharmonic assembled in his name — then this really was the place for you.”
I can tell you that there is a world of difference between the concerts last December and those this year.  Brian started off slowly in Denver. But with that infectious crowd he really got into it.  Singing, playing, swaying and hand pumping to the music.  Loud, clear vocal at times. No chopping.  Sometimes out of breath, yes. Sometimes forgot the words, yes.  But still hit some great notes.  He sang in a lower register at times, but I think that is cool. He still has an impressive tone.  I think cutting out the early meet and greets and sound checks was a good idea.  He’s got more energy for the show.  I think he particularly stood out on GOK, Surfs Up and Heroes and Villains.  There is a video of Brian singing GOK in Denver up on his Facebook.
The band is as sharp as ever.
IMG_0026 (640x351).jpg
This is not the full setlist but it shows what a rich trove of material was covered in addition to the greatest hits and Beach Boy classics:
  You’re So Good To Me                                                                                         
  Darlin
  Meant for You
  Friends
  Wake the World
  Busy Doin' Nothin'
  Little Bird
  Long Promised Road
  Feel Flows,
  I Can Hear Music
  Sail On Sailor
  Diamond Head
  Passing By
  'Til I Die
  Surf's Up
  Lookin' at Tomorrow (A Welfare Song)
  Heroes and Villains

Brian closed the concert with everyone around the piano singing "Love and Mercy"
Piano L&M (640x388).jpg 

I can't think of many other nights that were so rich with music.  It definitely was an experience to remember.





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SO good to read one of your reviews again, Deb - and this one was one of your classics! [thumb] Thanks for sharing Chris Willman's quote - just about perfect!

Isn't this tour just...well, you said it...outasight !?!

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Deb#1

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Right on, right on.
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RockaBilly

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Reply with quote  #13 
My wife and I saw the performance in Royal Oak last night and came away with the same feeling of sadness for Brian. He has always been a reluctant performer in our estimation - a tragic, tortured genius who through great talent and determination has persevered and entertained us over a dozen concerts in the last 14 years. We hadn't seen Brian since the Pet Sounds show at the Fox Theatre in Detroit in 2016 (although we had tickets for the cancelled Pet Sounds concert in Aurora this summer), and the change over the last 3 years is remarkable. He is no longer engaged with the performance, the audience, or the band. He sits slumped at the piano barely singing, eyes wandering to the ceiling or staring off. It is apparent to us that his loved ones need to have the conversation with him that he is no longer able to deliver a performance of a Brian Wilson caliber. The terrific and multi talented band, who over the years has supported and propped him up now seemingly uses Brian as a prop. I'm reminded of the last years of Stan Lee, who had those close to him go to comic convention after comic convention selling Stan's autograph and photo ops while "The Man" could barely keep his head up. Mr. Lee's handlers were subjected to accusations of "elder abuse" during that time. I'm not going that far, because I don't know the people or circumstances of Brian's life now. I do believe that it is time for Brian's family, friends, and coworkers to give that gentle tap on his shoulder and say "Time to say goodbye" until such a time (if ever) he is able to resume working the level one would expect from his talent.

I never thought I would be able to see Brian once in my life, and I had the privilege to see him a dozen times. I feel so bad for Brian for last night and sadly, won't be attending any more of his concerts.
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relafountain

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Reply with quote  #14 
With all respect to RockaBilly and his/her post, that wasn't the show that my girlfriend and I saw last night in Royal Oak.  But, as Tommy DeVito says in Jersey Boys, "you ask four guys the same question and you get four different answers."  So with respect to RockaBilly's opinion, I should like to present ours.

The show was moved from the Masonic in Detroit to the Royal Oak venue late last week.  Frankly, I'm glad they moved as I believe the bands enjoyed the cozy confines of the Royal Oak. (as a side, the Royal Oak make swapping Masonic tickets for Royal Oak tickets very easy, and we had equally excellent seats.  Thank you for that.)

The Zombies were welcomed warmly and set out to present an excellent set of their hits, new music, and their Odyssey and Oracle album with assists from Darian and Probyn.  These cats deserve their inclusion in the R&R Hall of Fame.

I'll be brief as it relates to Brian's set.  Yes, the band were out of this world.  Yes, the harmonies were spot on.  Yes, it was great to hear cuts from Friends and Surf's up.  And how wonderful it was to see Al and Blondie!  I think we and RockaBilly agree on these points.

But, the Brian Wilson that WE saw was very much engaged in the proceedings.  He sang (not spoke) very often, KILLED it on God Only Knows, and was playing his keys and gesturing with his hands throughout the show.  Hell, he even gave the "HEY" shout out before the last chorus of Love and Mercy.  Recent videos show him missing cues, and letting others sing his parts but that was not the case Tuesday evening. 

We had heard earlier from one of Brian's band that he was very tired that evening.  You wouldn't have known that at all. 

One cute note, during the show, Brian ran out of water.  He tried to get Al's attention to get his water.  First, off-mic, but when Al didn't hear him, Brian yells into the mic "Alan---water!"  Al smiled and swapped his full bottle for Brian's empty.

Like all posters, regardless of our opinions and viewpoints, we all recognize that we are in the presence of greatness when we watch Brian perform.  And we are grateful for every opportunity. 

One final note:  Before Blondie sang Long Promised Road, he made mention of the movie of that title.  Hoping a release is imminent. 

Roy & Amber





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Quote:
Originally Posted by RockaBilly
My wife and I saw the performance in Royal Oak last night and came away with the same feeling of sadness for Brian. He has always been a reluctant performer in our estimation - a tragic, tortured genius who through great talent and determination has persevered and entertained us over a dozen concerts in the last 14 years. We hadn't seen Brian since the Pet Sounds show at the Fox Theatre in Detroit in 2016 (although we had tickets for the cancelled Pet Sounds concert in Aurora this summer), and the change over the last 3 years is remarkable. He is no longer engaged with the performance, the audience, or the band. He sits slumped at the piano barely singing, eyes wandering to the ceiling or staring off. It is apparent to us that his loved ones need to have the conversation with him that he is no longer able to deliver a performance of a Brian Wilson caliber. The terrific and multi talented band, who over the years has supported and propped him up now seemingly uses Brian as a prop. I'm reminded of the last years of Stan Lee, who had those close to him go to comic convention after comic convention selling Stan's autograph and photo ops while "The Man" could barely keep his head up. Mr. Lee's handlers were subjected to accusations of "elder abuse" during that time. I'm not going that far, because I don't know the people or circumstances of Brian's life now. I do believe that it is time for Brian's family, friends, and coworkers to give that gentle tap on his shoulder and say "Time to say goodbye" until such a time (if ever) he is able to resume working the level one would expect from his talent.

I never thought I would be able to see Brian once in my life, and I had the privilege to see him a dozen times. I feel so bad for Brian for last night and sadly, won't be attending any more of his concerts.

Hmmm...if you're NOT going so far as to accuse those around Brian of elder abuse, why do you bring it up?!?  And not only bring it up, but offer an example of abuse of...another man entirely!  On Brian's own site no less.*  

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and the poster 'relafountain' sees it.  I see it.  Deb sees it.  Thousands see it.  And to expand upon Deb's reference to Chris Willman's review of the September 12 show, he sees it:

"As for the man himself? Reports that he had turned into more of a ghost of himself on stage turn out to have been greatly exaggerated — or maybe he really is spending more time taking the lead vocals on this tour. (He gets about an equal amount of lead singing duty as Sahanaja, Chaplin and the two Jardines do, which is very much in the Beach Boys’ tradition, even if he sometimes trades parts on songs that once would have been his province alone.) Objectively speaking, there were moments when he was vocally right on, some where he was less than pitch perfect. So if your goal is to remember him exactly as he was in 1965, it’s good that you stay home and save the seat for someone with less stupid goals. If you’re there to celebrate someone who’s been dealt some tough hands in life but still has the urge to bring it — and who’s the most lovable, respectable and fragile contributor to the otherwise superhuman philharmonic assembled in his name — then this really was the place for you."

Sounds like you're just embarrassed.  If we all felt the same and stayed home, Brian would have to do the same.  Does that make it better, if he really wants to continue to tour?  I think we owe more respect.  Speaking as someone who does know a person or two in Brian's life, I can say that his desire to continue touring is very, very real.  And I'll be there - as I can look past the slumping, knowing he's lived through multiple back surgeries (not to mention a bunch of other crap).. 


*To be clear, this is why I'm responding to you.  The rest is just...because I was bored.

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