The Dome at Crown Perth Crown at Dome Perth
Thursday, September 6
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of their first album Surfin' Safari, all surviving founding members of the legendary Beach Boys came together for a triumphant, marathon three-hour-long concert.
Pop genius Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine, Bruce Johnston and the boy from across the street David Marks (who quit the line-up 49 years ago) gave us a dizzying ride of the best music in American rock 'n' roll history.
Nostalgic surf classics like Hawaii, Surfin' Safari and Surfer Girl were racked up alongside the hot rod-motorbike songs Little Honda, Little Deuce Coupe and Don't Worry Baby. Also included were some more marginal songs (This Whole World, Getcha Back) and vibrant covers, including the Del Vikings' doo-wop classic, Come Go With Me and the Mama's and the Papas’ California Dreamin'.
Backing the original Beach Boys was an astonishing group of nine musicians — a combination of the Boys' own individual bands — including keyboardist Darian Sahanaja and drummer John Cowsill.
They all kept the energy flowing and picked out the subtleties in the vocals and instrumentation with flutes (Please Let Me Wonder), brass and keyboards. Great vintage scenes of sunsets, waves, surfboards sticking out of the back of woodies and family photos provided a shifting kaleidoscope that reinforced the band's mythology.
After a strict 20-minute interval — or "nap break" as Love called it — it was mainly Wilson at the grand piano singing some of his adventurous and increasingly idiosyncratic songs like Heroes and Villains, Wouldn't It Be Nice, and the shape-shifting Good Vibrations (complete with theremin) from the groundbreaking albums Pet Sounds and Smile.
While the melodic genius' voice wavered a bit at the start of the show, it was strong and robust in the second half — particularly on the exquisite In My Room and I Just Wasn't Made for These Times.
Looking a bit stone-faced and distracted, he was clearly in his element at the piano surrounded by his musical family singing the 1970 gem, Add Some Music to Your Day, and when augmented by the high-altitude falsetto of Jeffrey Foskett, who arranged his 2004 version of Smile.
It was a poignant moment when the band paid homage to Wilson's fallen brothers by playing along to video projections of Dennis singing Forever and Carl the magnificent God Only Knows. There were tears in the eyes when the screen showed photos of the boys playing in the yard at the Wilson house.
After California Girls — once described as "a hymn of youth" — it was a straight run to the finish line with a string of delirious singalong hits, including Help Me, Rhonda, Rock 'n' Roll Music, Barbara Ann, Surfin' USA and Fun Fun Fun, that celebrated the band's happier days before drugs, mental illness and lawsuits.