Friday Night: The Beach Boys at The Woodlands

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Photos by Jim Bricker
The Beach Boys
Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
June 8, 2012

The Beach Boys taught a generation of American kids how to be teenagers. With songs about the perils of love, the magic of cars, school ties, faceless authority, and depression and isolation, they wrote the book on high-octane hormonal rock. Almost 50 years removed, the songs remain vital Rosetta Stones for most every (well-built) pop record.

Pop culture has made sure they stay ever-present in our ears, even as films and commercials plunder the Boys' music for their own means. This makes the Beach Boys at once corny and vital. This new 50th anniversary tour didn't come without jokes about Depends, dementia and money-grabbing.

The Beach Boys and the Beatles represent two halves of the classic rock and roll experience, though one group had the chance continue to record and play into their late '60s and '70s, while the other splintered into a myth curated by four men and their wives and children.

I mention the Beatles because time has been kinder to them than the Beach Boys, but the Beach Boys deserve to be mentioned in the same breath with them, even though the Beatles legend is sexier and comes with more manufactured luster.

The Beach Boys grew up with their audience and got to evolve and deviate from their sound, with alternately lauded and laughable results along the way. They had the luck to be able to screw up their legacy, which is why a lot of detractors have seen this reunion run with less than reverent eyes. But then again, for the past two decades most music journalists have either only seen Brian Wilson solo or a half-ass touring version of the Beach Boys .

Thank God for this tour to fix that.

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Friday night's set at The Woodlands was separated into two parts. The first half was very much for the band and for super-fans looking for chestnuts and B-sides; the second half reaffirmed their legacy with some of the biggest and most cherished compositions of their career rocketing into the crowd. You shouldn't have been bored on Friday night.

"Please Let Me Wonder" was on the flip side of "Do You Wanna Dance?." The album track "Don't Back Down" came from 1963's album All Summer Long, and Bruce Johnston's showcase "Disney Girls (1957)" was from 1971's Surf's Up. This wasn't entirely a cheap and easy hits night.

Most welcoming to the Beach nerds in the crowd were the cuts from 1972's Carl and the Passions LP, which saw the addition of Blondie Chaplin -- best known now as one of the Rolling Stones' longtime touring sidemen -- to the band. "Marcella" and "All This Is That" were both nestled into the set. Al Jardine introduced the latter by crediting Transcendental Meditation with keeping the band floating in darker times. Check out "TM Song" from their 1976 studio effort 15 Big Ones too.

It's that period with Chaplin as a full-fledged member of the Boys that gets overlooked, even though the material is worth taking in, especially "Sail On, Sailor" which came in the second set of the evening. You may know it from the soundtrack to The Departed. "It's O.K." even came out to play, sitting nicely next to "Cotton Fields."

De facto front man Mike Love made a few groan-worthy hard sells for the band's new album That's Why God Made the Radio most of the night. The disc was on sale for $5 at the merch stands and a few came signed by the full band. By the end of Friday's show Love said they had pushed out a few thousand copies, making the guilt-tripping worth it.

At that low price, it was a worthy and cheaper concert souvenir alternative than a $40 shirt or a $65 hoodie that Houstonians won't need to use until three weeks in November.

Late this weekend word would come that the album would become their highest-charting album since their hits set Endless Summer topped the charts back in October 1974. We'll find out for sure on Wednesday morning.

"We're battling it out with Adele, so buy American," said Love at one point during just one of his numerous pitches. It's true, a recent airing of an Adele special on network television has her hovering back at the top of the charts, and Alan Jackson's newest could also cause trouble for Radio too.

Love has never been anyone's "favorite" band member, as he is always seen as the corporate face of the group, the one that is more interested in selling shit and making money with the name, no matter how awkward it looked.

Even though he has been up front singing most of their songs these past 50 years, he's still seen as secondary to Brian. Love mentioned his beloved Bentley while introducing "Ballad of Ole' Betsy," which is either cute or douchey depending on how you look at it.

The four-pack of "Little Deuce Coupe," "409," "Shut Down" and "I Get Around" closed out the first set before intermission, waking up the audience and re-energizing the band for the next half.


Location Info

Map

Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion

2005 Lake Robbins Drive, The Woodlands, TX

Category: Music

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21 comments
Pervis Nelson III
Pervis Nelson III

I'm there man! I can just hear the music, feel the summer night's breeze, and totally lose myself in your "atmosphere" ... Hahaha, seriously, that was a great story and made me laugh out loud. ESPECIALLY, since it was in response to someone asking for "atmosphere." I get their request but your response was classic. Reminds me of something I would say or do by like describing a line for beer or using the restroom. Most importantly though, is your hand okay? If she broke skin you might get that checked out because she sounds like she may have had more than just beer in her.

Amanda28
Amanda28

I Am Going Important To You And Guys I Miss You And Guys So Much Will Be Great.

Amanda28
Amanda28

You Are Not Beach Boys Fan

Casey
Casey

I saw one curse word, and couldn't believe this was a legitimate article.  Where are the editors??

John Seaborn Gray
John Seaborn Gray

It's supposed to be obvious why someone would criticize someone else for being anonymous, while being anonymous themselves? I guessed it was because you were a hypocritical dick, but I wanted to give you a chance to explain yourself. Since your explanation was "I could explain but I won't because HURRRRR" I am pleased to see my hypothesis proved correct. You forgot the rest of my title, you see: High School News Patrol, SCIENCE DIVISION!

blog
blog

oh good!  the high school news team patrol has shown up to offer Critical Analysis and Extremely Valuable Commentary! i could go about explaining what seems completely obvious, but either way that one thing is entirely trivial in comparison to the fact that it was a shoddy article.  god forbid one day one of you jokers actually think to yourselves, "you know?  next time i'm just going to spend more time writing a better article." gray — i already know you're pretty much not going to read any of this and attempt a bunch of witless and snarky replies, so feel free to waist time stocking up on things to use in your real life "i-so-told-that-guy-on-the-internet" conversations that nobody gives a shit about.

John Seaborn Gray
John Seaborn Gray

 Previous comment in reference to this "blog" person and his criticism of Neil Hamburger.

AlexanderF
AlexanderF

I'll be specific in my critique. "TM" could have used defining as Transcendental Meditation. Also, article seemed to be missing critical detail about the atmosphere at the show. Next time perhaps clarify that the beer was lukewarm, somewhat flat and expensive? That way I'll know it was The Pavillion.

Classic Rock Bob
Classic Rock Bob

There's a very interesting article in the current Rolling Stone about the fragile peace between members on this tour. Basically, you have three bands on stage - the five surviving original/classic lineup Beach Boys, Mike Love's Beach Boys band, and Brian Wilson's solo band. Glad to hear that lots of rarities and deeper cuts made it into the set.  

blog
blog

"does your post have an editor" that's cute.  figured i'd get one of those idiotic stock replies way sooner — surprised it took that long. last time i checked, i'm not blogging for the houston press (if this article was any indication, the standards are pretty low.)

Htwngrl
Htwngrl

Does your post have an editor?  I see a few grammatical mistakes in your posting as well.

blog
blog

my name, home address and photo won't improve your writing.

blog
blog

my apologies!  i've forgotten my responsibility to entertain you with Creative and Witty usernames and email addresses.  us lowly readers have a hard time keeping up with you big-word writin internet bloggers!!!  "LOL" deflect all you like.  this isn't my job, it's yours — this article was written poorly.  use your vast single-digit years of experience to do better…  or quit and let houston press find a writer that will spend more than 15 minutes on an article.

Craig Hlavaty
Craig Hlavaty

"blog " LOL, at least "Neil Hamburger" used some effort coming up with an alias. Been doing this a long time. I can take criticism.

Jim C
Jim C

Alright, you want atmosphere?  I'll GIVE you atmosphere. So check it.  I'm there with my wife and eight-year-old daughter.  Family sitting to my left.  Two drunk, hot girls on my right. About midway through the first set, first drunk girl gets up and leaves, never to be seen again. A couple of songs later, second drunk girl gets up to look for her friend.  And promptly falls down. Drunk girl leans against me.  And I'm thinking - ok, probably needs something to lean against. Drunk girl wraps her arms around my leg.  And I'm thinking - ok, probably needs something to hold on to. Drunk girl tries to put my arm around her - and, trying to be as polite as I can, I tell her, "Hey, my wife might get offended". Drunk girl YANKS my arm around her.  I try to get it back.  She's clearly unable to comprehend I don't want my arm around her. Drunk girl takes my hand - sticks it in her mouth - and BITES it. Now all hell has broke loose.  I tell her "I'm sorry - I have no idea what you're trying to accomplish - but I'm TAKEN". My wife tells her she doesn't appreciate that happening in front of our daughter. Our daughter is staring at us with her mouth hanging open. Drunk girl says "I don't WANT you - I just wanted to FEEL you" (ok, whatever that means).  Then gets up and staggers away. As soon as she's gone, all the people around us - who were watching this circus - come up to me and all say variations of "She hit on me in fromt of my wife, too" or "She hit on my husband, too". Now this was a drunk, HOT woman.  I'm sure there would have been many single guys around who would have been thrilled to have her wrap her arms around their leg and put their arm around her.  If she had the ability to get up, move around and find them. So is the Beach Boys where young girls go now to get wasted and try to get their freak on with 50-year-old married overweight men?  I thought that was what the Red Hot Chili Peppers was for.

John Seaborn Gray
John Seaborn Gray

How can you be anonymous and then bitch at someone else for being anonymous? I just... I can't even, dude.

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