Beach Boys, 1 July 2012

Milwaukee, WI

I returned to Milwaukee a month later to see the Beach Boys 50th Anniversary tour at Summerfest. It was a well-executed trip through their hits and a number of unexpected gems from their catalog.

The tour was notable for including Brian Wilson, who largely stopped touring with the group in 1965. However, his presence brought into relief the schizophrenic identity of the band - with Wilson on the introspective artistic side and lead singer Mike Love on the party-band side. The Baby-Boomers there to relive their hormonal adolescence through Surfing, USA didn't quite get the point of the more subtle pieces like I Just Wasn't Made For These Times or deep album cuts like All This is That that were clearly targeted at the Wilson cognoscenti.

And for those of us knowing Wilson's long history of mental problems and tortured relationship with the commercial monster he created in his 20's, seeing him sequestered largely mute and motionless at a grand piano stage right brought back disturbing echoes of the exploitive Brian's Back promotions of the late 1970s and the industrial-strength antipsychotics of the early 1980s. For the final encore of Fun, Fun, Fun, Wilson strapped on a prop Fender Bass so we could imagine that it was 1964 again and all the crap of the past 45 years had never occurred. But halfway through the raucous finale, Wilson signaled for a tech and took off the bass, standing up center stage almost motionless as the rest of the band gyrated to a fever pitch. A truly odd Judy Garland moment that seemed to go unnoticed by most. It was as if he had finally had enough of the lie and just wanted to get the bows over with, pick up his check, and get the hell out of there.

The Set List:

Do It Again
Catch a Wave
Don't Back Down
Surfin' Safari
Surfer Girl
Come Go With Me
Why Do Fools Fall in Love
When I Grow Up (to Be a Man)
Please Let Me Wonder
Getcha Back
Then I Kissed Her
Disney Girls
Isn't It Time
Kiss Me, Baby
California Saga: California
Cotton Fields
Be True to Your School
Ballad of Ole' Betsy
Still Cruisin'
Don't Worry Baby
Little Deuce Coupe
Shut Down
I Get Around

Pet Sounds
Add Some Music to Your Day
Heroes and Villains
Sloop John B
Wouldn't It Be Nice
I Just Wasn't Made for These Times
Sail on, Sailor
All This Is That
That's Why God Made the Radio
In My Room
God Only Knows
Good Vibrations
California Girls
Help Me, Rhonda
Rock and Roll Music
Do You Wanna Dance?
Surfin' USA

Barbara Ann
Fun, Fun, Fun
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$20 Parking
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Marcus Amphitheatre
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Marcus Amphitheatre
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The crowd
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Space for late arrivals
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The Beach Boys
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The Beach Boys
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The Beach Boys
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The Beach Boys
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The Beach Boys
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The Beach Boys
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The Beach Boys
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The Beach Boys
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07/02/2012 05:07:02
Beach Boys, 1 July 2012
07/02/2012 05:28:24
Beach Boys, 1 July 2012