Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Beach Boys reunion dream

I dreamed last night that Elaine and I attended a Beach Boys reunion concert. This dream will never come true, as I have no interest in seeing the reconstituted group in my waking life.¹

We arrived a little late, which left me unfazed, and walked down a sloped floor to third-row center seats in a half-empty auditorium. Brian Wilson and Mike Love sat on armless office chairs downstage. Behind them a backing band played on a riser. The other members of the reconstituted group — Al Jardine, David Marks, Bruce Johnston — filled out the front line. Or must have: they were unrecognizable from where I sat. The group was performing “Do It Again,” with Brian and Mike chatting their way through the song. During an instrumental break, Mike leaned close to Brian to say “This doesn’t work anymore.” Brian nodded. At another point, Bruce declared “I don’t care what he says: Christmastime is the best time.” And the group played “Little Saint Nick.” I would like to know who he is: I suspect it must be Mike, with whom Bruce has toured for years under the Beach Boys name.

At intermission, we saw Dennis Wilson, looking young and healthy, more or less as he does on the cover of the album 20/20. He was pushing a grand piano up the aisle to the rear of the auditorium. Also during intermission: a short film showing a man staring at a woman’s breasts. This film was a commercial against breast cancer.

After intermission, the group began with “’Til I Die,” which might be the last great Brian Wilson song. The five Beach Boys and the members of the backing band spread across the stage in the manner of the cast of Rent singing “Seasons of Love.” Those standing stage right wore firefighting gear; those in the center, hazmat suits; those stage left, scuba gear. I couldn’t tell who was wearing what. Among those in scuba gear, a dwarf standing on a chair. I recognized him as an important figure in Beach Boys history.

Anyone who knows the Beach Boys story will likely make something of some of the odd details here. Me, I’m only the dreamer, who wrote it all down upon waking.

¹ Why no interest? I’ve seen Brian Wilson on the Pet Sounds and SMiLE tours. But the reunion tour seems to me to have more to do with money than art. I think that the art of the Beach Boys is now best enjoyed on record.

comments: 2

Anonymous said...

Surely you've overlooked the wisdom of "Solar System!"

Michael Leddy said...

I love that song and the album, really.