Beach Boys’ historic performance under a ‘Bleu’ moon

The Beach Boys play under a "Bleu" moon on March 28 in the MontBleu Theatre.
The Beach Boys play under a “Bleu” moon on March 28 in the MontBleu Theatre.

The Beach Boys put on a spirited and nostalgic show before an enthusiastic, sold-out crowd at MontBleu March 27 before an enthusiastic, sold-out crowd at MontBleu Theatre. Led by original members Mike Love and Al Jardine , the group took the audience through a tour of its musical history which included so many mega-hits from the past half-century.

The Beach Boys Montbeu 03-27-2015-42-LFounded in Hawthorne, California in 1961, the group still thrills audiences with its signature five-part harmonies and unique sound. The Beach Boys continue to hold Billboard / Nielsen SoundScan’s record as the top-selling American band for albums and singles, and they are also the American group with the most Billboard Top 40 chart hitsThe Beach Boys continue to hold Billboard / Nielsen SoundScan’s record as the top-selling American band for albums and singles, and they are also the American group with the most Billboard Top 40 chart hitsThe Beach Boys continue to be Billboard / Nielsen SoundScan’s record as the top-selling American band for albums and singles, and they are also the American group with the most Billboard Top 40 chart hitsthe American the group with the most Billboard Top 40 chart hits, plus it holds the record as top selling American band for albums and singles.

The group provided more than just great music, they glamorized a lifestyle that became a huge part of the culture of the ’60s and beyond. They introduced surfing, beaches, cool cars and girls in bikinis to multiple generations of fans. Kids who had never seen the ocean, dreamed about “catching a wave,”,and “hanging ten” due to their impactful sound.

The Beach Boys opened with the popular “Catch a Wave” from their 1963 “Surfer Girl” album, immediately transporting the audience back half a decade to a warm, sunny Southern California beach. The band followed with a journey through time, singing “Little Honda,” jumping forward to 1979 with “Going to the Beach” and the familiar “Do It Again” from their 1969 album 20/20.

The Beach Boys Montbeu 03-27-2015-47-LLove, who lives in nearby Incline Village thanked the audience for their appreciation. “The best thing about this show is that I can get in my car afterward and drive to my house,” Love said.

The beat picked up with the classic “Surfin Safari” featuring David Lee Marks on guitar. Marks, who was with the original band in 1962, quit a year later, rejoined in the late ’90s before returning again in 2012. “He’s been carbon-dated,” Love joked.

Showing how things have changed the last half-century, when the group sang “Surfer Girl” dedicated by Love to the ladies, he asked the audience to break out their cell phone flashlights and wave them in the air. An audience from the ’60s wouldn’t have had a clue what he was talking about.

The band sang a medley of old hits, including “Why Do Fools Fall in Love” and “Maybe I
Don’t Know” sung by guitarist Randell Kirsch, who is back with the band after 34 years of performing with a litany of bands.

“The next song is dedicated to people in uniforms,” Love announced with a tone of seriousness. “Cheerleaders!” he proclaimed, as the audience burst out laughing, before the band performed it 1963 standard “Be True To Your School.”

Returning to the “hot-car” theme, the group blasted out “Little Deuce Coupe” and “409,” both featuring Mike’s son Christian Love on guitar. In a previous interview, the younger Love recalled with fond memories growing up and being influenced by his father’s band, and his founding member uncles, Brian, Dennis and Carl Wilson. Now he is living his dream by performing with the iconic group.

The Beach Boys Montbeu 03-27-2015-135-LThe memories continued with “Sloop John B” and “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” from the 1966 album “Pet Sounds,” and “Then I Kissed Her,” from “Summer Days and Summer Nights” released the previous year. When the group began the familiar opening chords to “California Girls” the audience rose to their feet clapping and singing along.

Showing emotion, Love then introduced the next song, “God Only Knows,” with lead vocals sung on the video screen by late founding member Carl Wilson, who died of cancer in 1998. The band meticulously backed up the video, giving the image that Carl was there singing live.

Love then gave a tribute to George Harrison, who also succumbed to the same form of cancer three years after his cousin Carl passed away with his 2004 song, “Pisces Brothers.” The group still performs more than 150 shows per year, the passion and sincerity of Love’s vocals came through on this number.

They went back in time again, utilizing the video with a 1965 clip of drummer and founding member Dennis Wilson singing “Do You Wanna Dance.” Ironically, Dennis was the only actual surfer of the founding members, but tragically drowned in 1983 in Marina del Rey.

The tempo increased with renditions of their additional classics “Help Me Rhonda” and “Barbara Ann” before finishing the set with “Surfin USA,” which got the sold out crowd to their feet singing in unison. Responding to the audiences’ call for an encore, The Beach Boys took the crowd on a journey through the Tropics with their 1989 hit “Kokomo,” before finishing with a ride in the T-Bird with their classic “Fun, Fun, Fun.”

With hit after hit after hit, their show reiterated the astounding influence that the Beach Boys have made on our music history and culture. Their unique sound and inspiring message will be a big part of music for generations to come.

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One Response

  1. I don’t like the Beach Boys, never have, never will….Why? Because they changed the music in 1961. From my favorites, doo-wop and Elvis to this sand in your shoes close harmonies sound. I have seen them in concert once and Jan and Dean several times. I wasn’t ready for the change then and still am not. The music you go thru high school and college with will always be among your favorites forever.
    So I am lost in the 50s tonight in 2015 and that was a mighty time. The birth of Rock’Roll, the death of Big Band music came overnight and just in time for me. Elvis was everywhere and the music spilling out of small hand held transistor radios heard at any time any place. But most of all the live shows were created and everyone could see performers for free (Santa Cruz) or next to nothing. I am not so critical of Jan & Dean whom I did see for free at Santa Cruz. But never the Beach Boys, always top dollar for their tickets. I do give them credit for one thing, they always do their own material, that they created and (sometimes) wrote. These are not copy cat artists. Chuck Berry said it best:

    I’ve got no kick against modern jazz,
    Unless they try to play it too darn fast;
    And change the beauty of the melody,
    Until they sounded like a symphony,
    That’s why i go for that
    Rock and roll music …


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