Five Songs, Part 82 (Beach Boys edition)

Bruce Johnston, Al Jardine, Brian Wilson, Mike Love and David Marks — together again for the first time for the last time.

Five Songs this week comes out the day I head to Berkeley to see The Beach Boys at the Greek Theatre, a gift from a friend (thanks again, kid!).

The Beach Boys were my first big concert, at the New Haven Coliseum as a teen in the summer of ’78; they were then touring then to support The M.I.U. Album, and I don’t believe Brian was with them at that point, or even Dennis; I was sitting in the nosebleeds and couldn’t tell, anyway. The next June, they returned to New Haven the Saturday after I graduated from high school to headline a huge concert at the Yale Bowl. (Also on the bill: The Cars, Eddie Money and The Henry Paul Band, with Flo & Eddie as the emcees.)

Now, I’m seeing The Beach Boys on what will probably be their final tour.

I mean, there were millions of reasons for the group to put aside all their bygones and get together again and tour to celebrate their 50th anniversary. But I can’t imagine this lasting forever. I can’t imagine Brian will want to do this much longer, nor will he have to.

Look — I was spoiled when he took to the road again in 1999. And did so again with a Pet Sounds tour the next year. (I saw him and his band do the album in full twice — with a 54-piece orchestra at one of the shows of my life, at Mohegan Sun in July 2000, and his last American performance of the album, at the Oakland Paramount in February 2007, with Al Jardine and Rikki Fataar among the backing singers.)

I was spoiled further when Brian decided to complete a version of SMiLE with his band in 2004 — and then fully spoiled when he and The Beach Boys pieced together the shards of the original SMiLE and released it as a box set last fall.

Neither he nor the band owe me anything. They’ve given me joy and pain and everything in between since I was a teenager. They’ve given me some of the soundtrack of my life.

So anyway, I’m spoiled one more time — getting to see them one final time. And here’s an extended Five Songs to commemorate. Few of these songs will be played tonight, but that’s fine. I really don’t know what to expect from a bunch of guys at or near 70 except maybe the equivalent of a valedictory lap or a lifetime achievement award. I don’t know if we’ll be applauding talent or the ghostly memories of it. I just don’t know. I just know that there will be some finality about things.

(And in the spirit of last-minute additions to Five Songs: I’ve included the nostalgia-trippin’ title tune of the new Beach Boys album, which comes out Tuesday …)

Let’s Go Away for Awhile

You Still Believe in Me

That’s Not Me

God Only Knows

I Know There’s an Answer

I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times

Wonderful

Surf’s Up

This Whole World

‘Til I Die

That’s Why God Made the Radio

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2 Responses to “Five Songs, Part 82 (Beach Boys edition)”

  1. Bob Vaden Says:

    I would be immensely spoiled if You would never write another blog. Th etc Beach Boys will go on, and they have plans to!

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