Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Review: Brian Wilson At Glastonbury Abbey, August 5th 2017.

I know it is still only August but I think that Brian Wilson’s concert at Glastonbury Abbey must be a contender for my favourite gig of the year. I had been looking forward to this concert for months, even more so than Glastonbury Festival itself. I had a great time at Glasto but there was nobody on the bill who I desperately wanted to see. Brian Wilson is different though. I have been a fan of his ever since I first heard I Get Around at the age of twelve back in the summer of 1964. This is what happened on Saturday.

I went in The Crown in Westbury at 4.00 and met up with Angela, Mark, Colin, Sharon, Chris, Chrissie, Sash, Andy, Alex, Jacquie and Smithy. The mini-bus arrived and we set off for Glastonbury. It was a beautiful sunny afternoon. The journey was uneventful apart from seeing a crop-circle near Warminster. I got the driver to play Brian Wilson, Live At The Roxy on his CD player and by the time side one was completed we had arrived in Glastonbury. We found a spot to the right of the stage and had a picnic while listening to the Black Dyke Brass Band. I wasn’t all that interested in them though and went for a bit of a walk. I soon found my niece Katherine and her husband Laurence and Ben with a gang of my nephew Dominic’s friends. My brother Paul was there as well. After a bit of a chat and a couple of photos I walked back to base and it was great to meet up with fellow Van Morrison fans Simon and Sandra and a bit later John as well.

It was getting a bit chilly in the shadow of the trees so when Corrine Bailey-Rae came on stage I said to Jacquie, “Come on Jacquie, let’s go down the front and stand in a sunny bit”. It was a lot warmer in the sunshine and we listened to her act, she was very pleasant and had a great band but I’m not that familiar with her music. She did say what a great honour it was to be on the same bill as Brian Wilson. It seemed a really long wait then before Brian came on stage. To pass the time I had a bet with Smithy that California Girls would be the first song. It was of course. As soon as Brian’s band came on stage I headed for the front and pulled out my notebook to write down the set list which was this. I hope I didn’t forget any songs.

California Girls, Dance, Dance, Dance, I Get Around, Shut Down, Little Deuce Coupe, Surfer Girl, Don’t Worry Baby, Darlin’, Wild Honey,Sail On Sailor,
Wouldn’t It Be Nice, You Still Believe In Me, That’s Not Me, Don’t Talk, (Put Your Head On My Shoulder), I’m Waiting For The Day, Let’s Go Away For A While, Sloop John B, God Only Knows, I Guess I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times, Pet Sounds, Caroline No.
Good Vibrations, Help Me Rhonda, Fun, Fun, Fun.
I had seen Brian with this band in Bristol last year and I must say that Brian’s contribution to the live show seems to lessen all the time. He seemed very tired and frail on Saturday night. Maybe he is exhausted after a long tour. I’m still glad he was there though or it would just be a tribute band. In some respects, especially during some of the songs from Pet Sounds the frailty of his voice seemed to add to the emotion of the songs. The only other original Beach Boy in the band Al Jardine is only a few months younger than Brian but seems to be on as good form as ever. I especially enjoyed his singing on Shut Down and Help Me Rhonda. Al’s son Matt is also a huge contributor to the sound. His vocals on Don’t Worry Baby were absolutely perfect. I’m really pleased Blondie Chaplin is in this band as well. He was there when I went to my very first Beach Boys concert back in 1972. I think of him as the Keith Richards of the band. He brought some psychedelia to the show with Wild Honey and some soul with Sail On Sailor. All the band are great though and I would give them all a mention if I could remember all their names. I could tell that the audience loved it because they were all dancing and singing along with great big smiles on their faces.

Immediately after Fun, Fun, Fun, fireworks started exploding all over the sky and we knew it was time to start heading back to the bus. Thank you very much to Michael Eavis and everybody involved in organising this wonderful evening and most of all thank you to Brian Wilson for writing such brilliant timeless music.
PS, I used a photo or two from the official Glastonbury site. I hope they don’t mind.
PPS, Very sorry to hear that Glen Campbell has passed away. He was a touring Beach Boy in the early days. See photo of Glen with his good friends The Beach Boys. ( I hope it is ok to show this photo as well)

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