1 March 2004
They announced that everyone had to be in their seats by 8 sharp, and that after that no one would be admitted for 20 minutes. It’s because they did an acoustic set with everyone huddled tightly around Brian doing that “rest of the LP” stuff like And Your Dreams Come True, Surfer Girl, Hawaii and In My Room. He looked terrified and they all seemed hugely supportive until he warmed up sufficiently and moved to the centre. Then he sat at the electric piano, stiffly, not touching the keys that much. He didn’t need to.
The first set built steadily with stuff like California Girls, Soul Searching (next album), Good Timin’, Sloop John B, God Only Knows (perfect rendition) ending with a very loud Sail On Sailor from Holland and Marcella from ‘Carl & The Passions’.
‘Smile’ is totally wonderful. There are only about three pauses in the whole thing – everything segues together, and you get wind chimes, musical saws, tubas, trombones, strings, animal noises, the horns and strings section chewing carrots (on Vegetables), a light show on Fire (which sounds like 1974 King Crimson), Brian playing some buzzing thing into the mic. It achieves all he set out to achieve. Stunning, unprecedented and incomparable. It rendered the three or four speculative bootlegs I’ve acquired over the years useless.
Encores included I Get Around, Help Me Rhonda, Surfin USA, Barbara Ann, Fun, Fun, Fun – the last two with Brian on bass (Fender Precision of course) Love and Mercy finished it, bringing such a healing force to everyone.
The Brian Wilson Band, or whatever they call themselves is a flat-out full five star ensemble. Seen The Beach Boys? This lot would knock them clean off any stage.