Cop a look at some of the reviews of Brian Wilson Presents Pet Sounds and you’ll imagine a show featuring a shadow of the former musical genius indulging himself in his past glory on a farewell tour.
However, what you’ll actually see is an adoring audience sharing an incredibly moving, once in a lifetime experience witnessing the best of The Beach Boys performed by a small orchestra with two original members, not to mention the man responsible for the creation of the music.
Brian Wilson Presents Pet Sounds performed at Liverpool’s Exhibition Centre on Friday 28th July, the weekend which will also see him play at Kendal Calling.
A backdrop of thick velvet curtains garnish the stage ready for the royalty that would soon arrive, with the signature grand white piano mounted centre stage, surrounded by the instruments that would soon be creating a symphonic rendition of The Beach Boys’ greatest songs.
Starting off the night with ‘California Girls’ the band/mini-orchestra create the fullest sounding music from a pop-great you could ever hope to experience live. The two sets with a twenty minute interval don’t just stick to Pet Sounds, as the audience are treated to the very best of The Beach Boys’ epic back catalogue.
While Wilson’s voice may not be what it once was, it does not detract from the performance in the slightest. Instead he is understandably helped along by some of the younger performers, including a beautiful rendition of ‘Don’t Worry Baby’ by Matt Jardine, which pays true homage to the original.
More able singers may aid in the overall show, but the most mesmerising and emotional performance comes from Brian alone with ‘God Only Knows’. The spotlight shines solely on the first Wilson brother at his piano, encouraging full appreciation for the creation of one of the greatest songs ever written.
The encore brings the tempo back up to sunny surfin’ in LA with ‘Good Vibrations’, ‘Help Me Rhonda’ and ‘Barbara Ann’, allowing for some classic Dad dancing in the standing section.
Overall, the evening is filled with everything you could have hoped for from The Beach Boys, 5-strong harmonies, insanely talented musical abilities and a poignant, iconic and memorable performance.
Review by Lauren Wise