Not too many bands can say they celebrated their 50th Anniversary together, never mind go on tour to celebrate it. The Beach Boys have been touring for the last decade with only some of the original members, but what makes this tour extra special is that all the surviving original members of The Beach Boys are together onstage.
The first of two sold-out shows at the Mohegan Sun Arena definitely had quite a bit of nostalgia in the air. As each member of The Beach Boys was introduced, Brian Wilson received the biggest applause. Maybe it was because he hasn’t toured with the band since the late-seventies, or maybe because he was the mastermind behind many of The Beach Boys classic songs. But, as Wilson took a seat at his white piano, the 10-piece backing band kicked in with “Do It Again.” While original members Mike Love and Brian Wilson took most of the lead vocals throughout the night, Al Jardine (“Cotton fields”) and Bruce Johnston (“Disney Girls”) each made their presence known with leads of their own.
The 23-song first set was filled with many of the band’s early classics like “Surfin’ Safari,” “Surfer Girl” and “Don’t Worry Baby.” The audience made it known what school they rooted for, as flashes of the UConn logo drew big applause during “Be True To Your School.” The Beach Boys had the older crowd on their feet and dancing during their medley of songs “Little Deuce Coupe,” “409,” “Shut Down” and “I Get Around.”
After a 10-minute intermission, the second set began with The Beach Boys surrounding Brian Wilson’s piano for the heartfelt, doo-wop of “Add Some Music To Your Day.” It seemed that the later half of the show contained the more mature, psychedelic song-writing of Brian Wilson as the band performed songs from Wilson’s masterpiece “Pet Sounds” and the newly release “Smile.” The night also included performances from past members Dennis Wilson (“Forever”) and Carl Wilson (“God Only Knows”) via video screens. Another treat that evening was the inclusion of their brand-new single “That’s Why God Made The Radio” which fit in perfectly with the evenings other songs.
The over two hour performance finished with the entire arena on their feet, singing the chorus to “Help Me Rhonda” and dancing to “Surfin’ U.S.A.” As the audience waited patiently for more, they were greeted with a mellow, low-key version of “Kokomo,” before picking the tempo back up with “Good Vibrations” and “Fun, Fun, Fun.”
While each person in that arena reminisced about the first time they heard those songs, The Beach Boys gave the audience another wonderful memory of hearing their timeless music.
Setlist: Do It Again, Catch A Wave, Hawaii, Don't Back Down, Surfin' Safari, Surfer Girl, Please Let Me Wonder, You're So Good To Me, Dance Dance Dance, Kiss Me Baby, Then I Kissed Her, Why Do Fools Fall In Love, When I Grow Up (To Be A Man), Cotton Fields, Marcella, Be True To Your School, Disney Girls, Don't Worry Baby, Little Honda, Little Deuce Coupe, 409, Shut Down, I Get Around
Add Some Music To Your Day, California Dreamin', Sloop John B, Wouldn't It Be Nice, I Just Wasn't Made For These Times, Forever, Sail On Sailor, Heroes And Villains, In My Room, All This Is That, God Only Knows, That's Why God Made The Radio, California Girls, All Summer Long, Help Me Rhonda, Rock And Roll Music, Do You Wanna Dance?, Barbara Ann, Surfin' U.S.A.
Kokomo, Good Vibrations, Fun Fun Fun