Last night I attended a concert by the surf rock classics The Beach Boys, right here where I live. We don’t get too many international acts coming out here, so I couldn’t miss the chance to see such a big name band.
The ticket prices were a bit steep for my taste. I paid 35€ (+ fees) for a standing ticket, which meant we where after all the the VIP ticket holders sitting in chairs in front of us. There was also some bleachers-style seating all the way in the back, but I’m not really sure if they could see the stage very well. The doors opened at 8:00p.m and the concert started at 10:00p.m because there was an area to hang out with different food and drinks stands and decorated with string lights and colorful Volkswagen camper vans. When we arrived around 9:00p.m., most people were in that part of the venue. That’s why we got a good spot, standing behind just one line of people in front of the barriers.
Once The Beach Boys were on stage, the quiet murmur of the crowd was replaced by clapping and cheering, but not that much. The most prominent age group was the 40+ crowd, so they weren’t as enthusiastic as younger crowds can be. However, as the concert progressed, people started getting up and dancing and leaving their chairs to go stand by the stage. But this was well into the concert, almost at the end.
All their most popular hits were intermixed, with the hits being sung throughout instead of all at the end. All my favorites were played including “Kokomo”, “Surfin’ USA”, “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” and “Sloop John B”. (They’re actually too many to list, so we’ll leave it there). They played a lot of songs, but I suppose it’s pretty standard with such a popular band with so many hits. And they sounded really good; I was surprised at how little Mike Love’s voice has changed. There was an intermission of about 10 minutes, that’s how many there were. During all the songs, there was a slideshow of images and videos. I thought it was great when they featured footage from the sixties with the younger versions of The Beach Boys singing the same songs we were hearing. Still, it highlighted the fact that not all of the living members were there, notably Brian Wilson. The concert poster specified Mike Love and Bruce Johnston would be the ones attending, since apparently there was some sort of dispute between them. Wilson, Al Jardine and David Marks weren’t present, which was a negative point for me. I’m not a diehard Bech Boys fan but it would have felt more authentic if they were all there.
Regarding the slideshow background again, it was also a nice touch that when they wanted the crowd to sing along, they put the lyrics on the screen in a very karaoke fashion. But that slideshow had many cheesy moments. I didn’t mind the images of surfing but was it really necessary to have images saying “I love rock and roll” like in those bad Youtube lyrics videos? There were even some pixelated images and ones with watermarks.
There were some special moments that were more than just the band jamming to the songs. For “God Only Knows”, the band played while the voice of the late Carl Wilson was heard accompanied by pictures of him. Love also spoke about his friendship with George Harrison and dedicated “Pisces Brothers” to him. For “Surfer Girl”, he asked us to participate in an “interactive crowd phone experience” and shine our flashlights, which seems to be something that everyone does in their concerts but which is still fun. (Although I have to say that McFly did it best with turning off all the stage lights). Love’s daughter also joined him onstage a few times, since it was Father’s Day.
Now, I don’t want to be that person but we need to talk about phones. As you can see from the bad quality images I have of the show, I did take pictures but it was only a short portion of the time. I got a few semi-decent ones and stopped caring about documenting it. I focused on dancing and singing along, but a lot of the people around me were more focused on their phones and, while it’s none of my business, they did affect me sometimes. I thought we had a good spot in front of the short elderly couple were were behind, but then they insisted on pulling out their phones and filming with their hands stretched up as far as they could, right in my line of sight. I also hit my head on someone’s phone that was next to me. All of these people were substantially older than me, by the way…
Overall, despite the few technical problems and minor issues I had with the concert, I had a blast. It was a lot of fun and I feel like it was worth it to go!