Words like “icon” and “inspirational” are bandied around a lot these days, but having just got back from watching Brian Wilson on his ‘Pet Sounds’ tour – a celebration of the album’s 50th birthday – I don’t think I can use them enough. I encountered a few raised eyebrows – and, dare I say it, the odd smirk – earlier this week, when telling people that I had tickets for this concert – presumably because they think of the Beach Boys as has-beens or no longer fashionable.
Well, I don’t subscribe to that school of thought. Good music is good music – and talented musicians don’t lose their talent just because they’re past the age of 35. True, there was an element of sadness to the concert. Clearly not a picture of health, once he’s on stage Brian remains virtually immobile behind his keyboards and says very little between songs – most of the energy comes from the other, brilliant, musicians on stage with him, including Al Jardine and Blondie Chaplin. And his voice is not as strong as it once was. That doesn’t stop this from being once of the best concerts I’ve ever been to, though – three hours of sheer delight.
The songs remain as pure and beautiful as ever and watching them performed by musicians at the very top of their game, having an absolute blast, made this such a joyful occasion that I didn’t want the evening to end. If you don’t already own a copy of ‘Pet Sounds’, please go out and buy one immediately. There’s a reason why Paul McCartney states that ‘God only Knows’ is his favourite song of all time.