Live Review: The Beach Boys - Allphones Arena (30.08.12)

the beach boys

Most bands only dream about having a lifetime career in music. When you're young and first start a band you hope that you could be playing music forever. For most, that dream fades with time, age and responsibility. Then there's The Beach Boys, who have done this for fifty years and are still playing shows, making records and having as much fun now as they did when they were 19. Whether you like their music or not, the one thing that you must admire is the fact that they are still doing it after fifty years and as tonight proved, they do it well.

I'll admit I wasn't sure what to expect. I didn't quite believe that they would really play for three hours. I won't lie, I was worried I might end up witnessing one of them have a heart attack on stage! In my opinion it was either going to be a train wreck or utter brilliance. Three large plasma screens surrounded the stage so the people up in the nosebleeds could still see. I was also surprised at how diverse the crowd was. Sure, the average age was around 55 but there were a lot of young people, kids, parents, grand parents and great grand parents! There were some hipsters and a couple who would looked more at place at Soundwave then here at The Beach Boys.

The full line up ambled out on stage including Brian Wilson, which erupted a great applause from the crowd. The innovators of sugar coated, surf pop/rock launched into a set list that spanned all parts of their 50 year career. The guys looked lively and spirtely and didn't waste time with on stage banter and just played classic Beach Boys tracks like 'Surfin' Safari', 'Surfer Girl', 'Then I Kissed Her', 'Why Do Fools Fall In Love' and 'Wendy'. They are the masters of three, four, five and six part harmonies and it was all on show tonight. The doo wop harmonies, the pop hooks and that classic good time vibe flowed from the stage and out to the 20,000 strong crowd.

We were treated to a couple of cuts from the new record 'Isn't It Time' and single 'That's Why God Made The Radio'. They also paid tribute to past members who are no longer with us. They even had Carl perform a song via old video footage with the band playing live. The band backing the guys were all given tracks to sing and everyone was incorporated into the show. I did feel a little bit sorry for their drummer who played behind a Perspex shield but it was definitely a sight when you take into account there were 5 guitarists, a bassist, couple of keyboardists, a percussionist and Brian sat behind a baby grand the entire performance.

The guys played all the hits in the second part of the show including 'Disney Girls' ("this is a song about women in uniform.....cheerleadering uniforms") 'Wouldn't It Be Nice', 'Sloop John B', 'Good Vibrations', 'California Girls', 'Barbara Ann', 'Help Me Rhonda', 'Surfin' USA' and off course 'Kokomo'. Even as the show pushed toward the three hour mark, the guys were still going strong. Brian Wilson, who for most part looked like he didn't want to be there, became more animated and even got up and played bass for a track in the encore.

The Beach Boys were simply awesome. Three hours of hits, tracks that I even forgot I knew or knew that they were Beach Boys songs. It was fun and I don't think anyone would be at all disappointed in the show. They simply showed why they have lasted fifty years and I reckon they could go for another ten and still be just fine.