Brian Wilson and Jeff Beck Kickoff Tour at Hard Rock Live, Hollywood
Jeff Beck and Brian Wilson with Al Jardine and David Marks
Hard Rock Live, Hollywood
September 27, 2013
Better than: The so-called Beach Boys that Mike Love is trumpeting as the real deal. No love for Love from this guy!
Anyone who thought that teaming of Brian Wilson and Jeff Beck was somewhat incongruous, likely wasn't dissuaded when the pairing was put into practice on the first night of the duo's forthcoming tour at Hard Rock Live in Hollywood, Florida.
While Beck's fluid version of "Surf's Up," one of the Beach Boys' landmark accomplishments, seemed an ample nod in the direction of Wilson and special guests Al Jardine and David Marks, who all three cooed along nicely, there was little other common ground between the artists. True, they tried the same tack when Beck offered a soaring take on Pet Sounds' "Don't Talk (Put Your Head on my Shoulder)" -- though there were doubtless many in the crowd who didn't catch the connection -- it didn't all entirely make sense, a final jam session of sorts on "Surfin' USA" and "Fun Fun Fun" notwithstanding.
Still, this doesn't imply disaster. Just the opposite in fact. While fans of the Beach Boys -- oops, make that Wilson and company, thanks Mikey Love -- might not seem to have all that much aligned with Beck fans, both entities -- Beck and his extraordinary five piece, Wilson, Jardine, and Marks with the sprawling backing band that always accompanies Wilson on tour -- seemed to garner equally enthusiastic receptions.
It was, in fact, two distinct concerts spliced into one. First there was the rundown of classic Beach Boys classics (dammit, Wilson still represents the legacy far better than Love ever could) including "Surfer Girl," "California Girls," "Help Me Rhonda," "God Only Knows," "Sloop John B," and what amounted to a quick K-tel packaging of the band's best known hits. There were a handful of obscurities -- a stirring, choir-like version of "Our Prayer" that had diehards all aflutter, the rarely repeated medley of "Old Man River" and "Cottonfields." Marks' surprisingly effective read of "Summertime Blues" also offered further evidence that this incarnation of the group was the most deserving of their birthright. The much-ballyhooed appearance of onetime Beach Boy Blondie Chaplin -- his signature "Sail On Sailor" -- proved all too momentary, and though he appeared for the finale, we had to wonder why he wasn't given more opportunity to fully participate.