Thursday, January 25, 2007

Brian Wilson concert preview/appreciation day

Brian Wilson's show tomorrow night at the 4th and B, which will include "Pet Sounds" in its entirety, is more than a concert; it's the latest step in his mission to regain control of his legacy.

At the Bridge School benefit concert last year, Wilson introduced a number of songs by saying "This is from an album I made called 'Pet Sounds.'" Maybe he wasn't lurking around blogland to see how many listed "Smile" in their top albums of 2005, and maybe he didn't see Pitchfork name "God Only Knows" the best song of the 60s, but he seems to realize that he is as inspiring and as cool as ever. That scene in "Almost Famous" where Cameron Crowe gets the albums from under the bed and he gazes at "Pet Sounds," that's happening to some elementary/high school/college kid this very moment.

Wilson wants to make sure the younger generation knows he, and not Mike Love and other touring Beach Boys, was the brains behind their new favorite music. He put the realistic, adult complexity into "God Only Knows," by starting one of the best pop songs ever with the line "I may not always love you." He's the reason the album both instantly grabs you AND slowly reveals itself over multiple listens.

But can "Pet Sounds" the concert be as timeless as "Pet Sounds" the record? Will the songs sound as good to the younger fans without the nostalgia that comes from being alive when the album came out? Without the studio wizardry and with 40 years of stress on Wilson's voice, will the performance lack a certain spark? Or will the live version add yet another dimension to one of the best records of all time?

Check back Saturday for a review of Friday night's show. In the meantime, a couple of "Pet Sounds" clips and "Heroes and Villains" from "Smile," which was co-written by Al Jardine, essentially the cool Beach Boy, who will perform with Wilson.

The Beach Boys — God Only Knows (MP3)
The Beach Boys — I'm Waiting for the Day (MP3)
Brian Wilson — Heroes and Villains (MP3)

In other Wilson news, a DVD of a 2005 tribute concert will be released next month. Plenty of jokes to be had in the pairings of artists and songs.
Red Hot Chili Peppers - "I Get Around"
Richie Sambora - "City Blues"
Jeff Beck - "Surf's Up" and "Surfin' USA"
John Legend - "I Just Wasn't Made For These Times"
The Backstreet Boys - "When I Grow Up to Be A Man"
Shelby Lynne - "Surfer Girl"
Michael McDonald and the late Billy Preston - "Don't Worry Baby"
Earth, Wind & Fire - "Don't Talk, Put Your Head On My Shoulder"
Darlene Love - "Wouldn't It Be Nice"

Also, just FYI, the San Jose Mercury News reports Wilson doesn't own an iPod.

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