beach-boys-50thBeneath all the heartbreak, car songs, surfing, etc. lies what makes them a timeless band; desperate hopefulness.

The Beach Boys
Live at Farm Bureau Live Amphitheater
Virginia Beach, VA
July 3, 2012

It was 93 degrees and the day before the 4th of July. What better way to end the day than a night with the original members of America's band, the Beach Boys (minus Dennis and Carl Wilson--more on them later)?

I am 33 years old so I didn't grow up with the Beach Boys. I didn't discover them until around 2003. I started with Pet Sounds and quickly bought most of their catalog. Beneath all the heartbreak, car songs, surfing, etc. lies what makes them a timeless band; desperate hopefulness. Songs like "Wouldn't It Be Nice" and "Surfer Girl" embody that perfectly. The narrator never actually gets the girl, he hopes and strives and that is very symbolic of a nation that celebrates its independence day not on the day it won its liberty by fighting but rather on the day it declared it was free. That desperate hope is what makes this America's Band!

For those who have been to Beach Boys shows in the last 30 years (no offense) you have been cheated because all the original members were not performing. This tour is the first that they have all been back together and no one can be the Beach Boys better than the Beach Boys.

The Boys opened up with "Do It Again" and then launched into a tour de force of their well known hits "California Girls" and their not so well known gems like "Disney Girls," which won a Grammy. All throughout the show you could see the crowd reliving memories they had growing up with these songs while the younger attendees were living those very moments a la "Then I Kissed Her."

The band was backed up by Brian Wilson's traveling band. They were young, tight and phenomenal musicians but the voices of the Beach Boys stole the show. It's amazing that after 50 years their boo whop vocals still sound so fresh. There were too many highlights in the show but let me mention a few. First during the second set Dennis Wilson and Carl Wilson (now deceased) were broadcast via video and stereo singing "Forever" and "God Only Knows" (respectively) backed up by the band. It was a tender and heartfelt tribute, then right on cue after that somberness they played "Good Vibrations," complete with live Electro-Theremin, to get the crowd dancing again. The last 40 minutes or so were a blur. It was a dance party on steroids.

This show proved to me that good music will always be good music. I was never a fan of their surfing songs but tonight the musicianship that was on display forced me to listen to the heart of these songs to see that the rhythms and vibrations were undeniably perfect and the juvenile lyrics were for all future generations to enjoy and live through, not for me to scoff at. There was new fans won over that will no doubt pass this timeless music on to the next generation. The Beach Boys are what summer is all about; wholesome songs about heartbreak, pain, friendship, love, good times and what unites us all as humans community. Bravo Boys, thank you to Hawthorne, California's finest for the last 50 years.

Set list:
1. Do It Again
2. Little Honda
3. Catch a Wave
4. Hawaii
5. Don't Back Down
6. Surfin' Safari
7. Surfer Girl
8. Come Go with Me
9. Why Do Fools Fall in Love
10. When I Grow Up (to Be a Man)
11. Please Let Me Wonder
12. Getcha Back
13. Darlin'
14. Marcella
15. Wendy
16. Then I Kissed Her
17. Disney Girls
18. Isn't It Time
19. Kiss Me, Baby
20. California Saga (On My Way to Sunny Californ-i-a)
21. Be True to Your School
22. Ballad of Ole' Betsy
23. Still Cruisin'
24. Don't Worry Baby
25. Little Deuce Coupe
26. 409
27. Shut Down
28. I Get Around
2nd Set:
29. Pet Sounds
30. Add Some Music to Your Day
31. Heroes and Villains
32. Sloop John B
33. Wouldn't It Be Nice
34. Sail on, Sailor
35. I Just Wasn't Made for These Times
36. All This Is That
37. In My Room
38. Good Timin'
39. That's Why God Made the Radio
40. Forever
41. God Only Knows
42. Good Vibrations
43. California Girls
44. Help Me, Rhonda
45. Rock and Roll Music
46. Do You Wanna Dance?
47. Surfin' USA
48. Kokomo
49. Barbara Ann
50. Fun, Fun, Fun