Brian Wilson and Jeff Beck Kickoff Tour at Hard Rock Live, Hollywood
That's not to say that these one time psuedo surfer boys needed much help. Jardine sings with as much zest as ever, and clearly, Marks has practiced his guitar licks mightily in the nearly 50 years since his dissatisfaction with band manager Murray Wilson forced his early departure. Meanwhile, singer/guitarist Jeffrey Foskett has become clearly esential to the band, not only by proving himself an able master of ceremonies and singing those superb high harmonies, but also by taking the lead on signature song "Wouldn't It Be Nice." Sadly though, even as Brian managed his own lead vocals when needed, his singing often seemed tenuous, and it was hard to tell if he was actually contributing on keyboards or merely miming. Even when he was called to the fore, he seemed somewhat tentative, eschewing a whole lot of connection with the audience and generally shuffling off stage as quickly as he could once his portion of the proceedings was over.
For his part, Beck put on a superb show, his fusion-esque instrumentals clearly engaging the crowd. Every member of his five piece combo -- guitarist Nicolas Meier, vocalist/violinist Lizzie Ball, drummer Jonathan Joseph, and bassist Rhonda Smith -- is a virtuoso in his or her own right, and each received thunderous applause after individual solos. As for Beck himself, he still looks and sounds terrific, a guitarist's guitarist in every sense of the word. Only true aficionados would have recognized every song in his set, but it mattered little. Varying the tone and dynamic throughout, he managed to make room for both relentless riffing and more meditative musings, giving the audience plenty to ponder in the process.
Personal Bias: Two complete concerts in one. Who could ask for more?
The Crowd: Rapt with attention and appreciation, their enthusiasm reigned.
By the way: With his full head of hair and ready smile, Beck looks like the Beck of old. Still, he might want to consider foregoing the sleeveless look at this point. And where was that stunning white scarf he wore at the preview reception? Here's a tip, never shed your scarf during your set and leave it by the front of the stage. You never know which writer standing by the stage might swoop it up.