This is the first of a projected series of Beach Boys
concert releases, from the Brother Records Incorporated
This concert has been chosen as the first release in this series for mostly historical reasons - it was the last UK concert by the Beach Boys to feature all 6 members of the classic lineup, and it was also filmed at the time (and so is coming out on DVD this year). Unfortunately, it is less good on strictly musical grounds.
1980 is in many ways the precise point at which the Beach Boys lost their last pretence of being an innovative band playing new music, and became an oldies act forever. Within a few months of this concert, Carl Wilson would quit the band for a solo career, and when he returned he effectively handed control to Mike Love. While he was present in body at this show, Brian Wilson was at his lowest ebb at this point. And Dennis Wilson was soon to be fired, would be dead within 2 years, and had refused to play on their most recent album, Keepin' The Summer Alive, because it was so mediocre.
Comparing the setlist of this show with those of a mere two years earlier is shocking. Shows in the mid to late 70s had their share of the hits, but would also include songs such as Feel Flows , Airplane or Sail On Sailor. On this show, the only post 60s tracks are two songs from the album they were touring to promote (one a Chuck Berry cover, the other a weak pastiche of their former glories), their top 5 cover version of Chuck Berry's Rock And Roll Music , a cover of You Are So Beautiful and their fluke British hit of the previous year, Al Jardine's Lady Lynda.
In other words this was the hits show that would, with no significant change in setlist, continue for the next two decades, through the deaths of Dennis and Carl, the sacking of Al, and the departure of Brian.
According to those who were there at the time, the band were on fairly poor form on the night (Brian Wilson apparently playing boogie woogie piano all through the set and singing unrelated songs, and the band obviously missing Billy Hinsche who wasn't in the band at the time due to Carl Wilson's divorce from his sister, though he soon rejoined). For that reason, as this was planned as an album and film at the time, Bruce Johnston took the band into the studio to rerecord large portions of the show 'with a live feel' (something that goes strangely unmentioned in the CD liner notes). Only certain tracks were rerecorded at the time, but they make up the bulk of the CD.
And, as with all Beach Boys releases, this was delayed even when it was finally due out (in 2001) - in this case because Bruce Johnston wanted his song I Write The Songs cut, as he felt the performance was too schmaltzy even for that song (I've heard the bootlegs, he was right).
This CD isn't a waste of money - far from it, it's a perfectly decent live album. But it's easily the worst of the four live albums available by the band (and also worse than Brian Wilson's two solo live albums), and many fans are questioning why this was released when there are wonderful shows like the early 70s Filmore show with the Grateful Dead or the early 90s box set tour (the one time they actually reversed their overall decline), or the mid 70s shows with Ricky Fataar and Blondie Chaplin left unreleased.
- California Girls
- Sloop John B
- School Days
- God Only Knows
- Be True To Your School
- Do It Again
- Little Deuce Coupe
- Cotton Fields/Heroes And Villains
- Happy Birthday
- Keepin' The Summer Alive
- Lady Lynda
- Surfer Girl
- Help Me Rhonda
- Rock And Roll Music
- I Get Around
- Surfin' USA
- You Are So Beautiful
- Good Vibrations
- Barbara Ann
- Fun Fun Fun
Band members on this CD - Brian Wilson, Carl Wilson, Dennis Wilson , Mike Love, Al Jardine, Bruce Johnston plus additional musicians Ed Carter, Mike Meros, Bobby Figueroa and Joe Chemay.
The album was produced by Mark Linnet, and the original concert recording was produced by Bruce Johnston. The album was released in 2002.