It’s not easy to jump back in to performing in front of thousands after nearly 20-years apart, but the reunited Southern California native Beach Boys returned home to the Hollywood Bowl on Saturday night like they never skipped a beat.
Celebrating an incredible 50 years of that unmistakable surf-pop sound, The Beach Boys, Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine, Bruce Johnston and David Marks, opened to a giddy crowd, many of whom were seeing the band for the first time, with the new single “Do It Again” off their upcoming album. Indeed, the Beach Boys were back to ‘do it again,’ maybe not with the same level of energy as in their youthful prime 50 years ago, but most certainly with the same heart and harmonies.
With 50 years to cover in just two and a half hours, the Boys rapidly churned out hit after hit spanning from early releases on Surfin’ Safari and the definitive Pet Sounds album all the way to the newly uncovered Smile sessions and the upcoming That’s Why God Made The Radio.
Split up into two parts, the first hour of the concert showcased many of the romantic ballads like “Kiss Me, Baby” and cheery doo-wops like “Why Do Fools Fall In Love” from early in their career. As many of their songs detail life growing up as in “When I Grow Up To Be A Man,” Jardine mused to the crowd “We’ll never grow up…We’ll keep singing Beach Boys songs forever.”
Still just those carefree kids at heart, the mentality of the Boys hasn’t changed one bit, but that didn’t stop them from cracking a few jokes about their age. Love amused the crowd with a running joke about “calling up Amazon.com” throughout the night to pre-order their new album out on Tuesday and pretended to act winded after hitting a long note in the intro to “Be True To Your School” and falling to his knees only to require the assistance of his bandmates to get back up.
To finish up the first set, the Boys ended with an uptempo selection of iconic tunes tailored to the racing lifestyle and love of classic cars including “Little Deuce Coupe,” “409,” and “Shut Down.” After taking a short intermission, the Boys returned to the stage standing around Wilson’s white grand piano for the melodic “Add Some Music To Your Day,” hitting every pitch, sweeping harmony and background “ooh-wees” right on key.
It was a very special night for the Beach Boys, not just because of their 50-year milestone, but also because of their warm welcome back home. To help celebrate the generations of their music and fans, each band member brought out their children — the most recognizable being Carnie and Wendy Wilson of the ’90s pop group Wilson Phillips — to sing together as ‘California Soul.’
Moving on to a collection of quintessential hits from Pet Sounds including “Sloop John B” and “Wouldn’t It Be Nice,” the Boys later paid tribute to their own. Spotlighting a song sung by each late Wilson brother, Dennis and Carl, the band played along as a montage of vintage photos and concert video of the brothers singing their defining hits “Forever” and “God Only Knows” played on the screen.
Wrapping up their final moments on stage, the Boys punched out their most essential hits that included what Love referred to as “California’s state song,” “California Girls” and “Surfin’ In The U.S.A.,” which had the entire audience up on their feet dancing.
A short breather off stage and the Boys were back for an encore that included the island living inspired “Kokomo,” “Barbara Ann” and “Fun, Fun, Fun” to top off a night of nostalgia hits.
For many fans in attendance, The Beach Boys sang the soundtrack to their life. The nostalgia of hearing their feel-good hits live once again conjured up memories of simpler times of cruising in a T-Bird down the PCH, catching some waves at the beach and flashbacks of fleeting summer love.
The Beach Boys’ music has become synonymous with the ‘California Dreamin’ lifestyle and has touched generations of fans, proving that these songs will endure for another 50 years and beyond.