Tuesday, August 09, 2022

The Beach Boys bring 'Sixty Years of the Sounds of Summer' to Greek Theatre

Beach Boy singer Mike Love, left,
with Mark McGrath (of Sugar Ray fame).

Who: The Beach Boys

Where: The Greek Theatre

When: Sunday, Aug. 8, 2022

Information: TheBeachBoys.com

The Beach Boys brought their "Sixty Years of the Sounds of Summer" tour to the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles on Sunday night, Aug. 7. This being a high profile hometown celebration of their 60th anniversary, Mike Love and Bruce Johnston (along with their talented touring troupe) invited a few notable guests to the three-hour concert event.

From left, Mike Love, John Stamos and drummer
drummer John Cowsill.

Indeed, the Hawthorne, California-spawned group took the stage right at 8 p.m. to perform the 1968 hit "Do It Again" with Sugar Ray singer Mark McGrath and actor/musician John Stamos along to add celebratory firepower to the festive opener. That joyful sprit continued as the ensemble immediately moved into "Surfin' Safari" and "Catch a Wave" with archival film footage of surfers and beach scenes playing on a large rear projection screen. During "Surfin' Safari" lyrics were displayed to assist with the audience sing-along.

The Beach Boys, along with John Stamos, performing "Surfin' Safari" at the Greek Theatre.

The concert was divided into two parts with The Beach Boys' most beloved hits comprising the majority of the setlist. Select covers that fit nicely alongside the signature sound of the group's originals were also a nice addition to the special night.

Singer-keyboardist Bruce Johnston, left, with
singer Mike Love at the Greek Theatre.

While Love, 81, and Johnston, 80, handled principal vocals across much of the night, other members of the collective bolstered the parade of songs with their strong lead and harmony vocals. This writer was particularly impressed by the strong vocals of drummer-vocalist John Cowsill and guitarist-vocalist Brian Eichenberger.

Early in the night, Eichenberger used his soaring falsetto on a tender version of "Don't Worry Baby" before the lead vocal duties were handed to Cowsill for an inspired take on "Darlin'," the latter a criminally overlooked melodic wonder from the band's 1967 masterwork Wild Honey. Cowsill's unmistakable vocals also helped bolster a cover of the Mamas & the Papas 1965 hit "California Dreamin' " to kick off the second half of the show.

Other strong contributors from the touring band showcased during the concert included Scott Totten, Keith Hubacher and Christian Love and Tim Bonhomme.

Highlights were frequent during part 1 of the fast-moving affair, with a fun cover of the Ramones' 1977 surf rock-mining "Rockaway Beach," tender "In My Room," McGrath taking over the proceedings for a crowd-pleasing take on Sugar Ray's 1997 No. 1 hit "Fly," rousing "Little Deuce Coupe" and "I Get Around."

The second half of the event included energetic takes on "California Girls," "Dance, Dance, Dance," the country-flavored Lead Belly-penned "Cotton Fields," a rollicking take on Chuck Berry's timeless 1957 gem "Rock and Roll Music," and an especially affecting version of the Baroque pop masterpiece "God Only Knows" originally released in 1966.

Mike Love on Aug. 7, 2022.

Bruce Johnston at the Greek.

While the concert was heavy on radio favorites, there were some cool surprises on the special night. Love delivered a poignant version of "Pisces Brothers," a song he wrote for George Harrison after his friend passed away in 2001. During the performance of the song, images and riveting video footage of Harrison and Love taken in India in the late 1960s helped transport the audience to the dawn of the two artists' friendship. Johnston reached similarly potent territory with his turn leading a version of his self-penned "Disney Girls" from the Beach Boys' 1971 album Surf's Up.

John Stamos at the Greek Theatre.

— whose talents as guitarist and drummer impressed frequently during the concert — took over lead vocals on an impactful version of "Forever" dedicated to his late friend Bob Saget (who sadly passed away in January 2022).

There were even more surprises for the audience. The country music Nashville-based duo LOCASH (Chris Lucas and Preston Brust— who have a rising hit titled "Beach Boys" on the iTunes Charts — joined the bash for a breezy take on "Kokomo," "Good Vibrations" and "Beach Boys" (the latter an animated version of their aptly-titled hit that pays tribute to the Beach Boys).

The night ended with a spirited run by the Beach Boys through "Barbara Ann" and "Fun Fun Fun" with the audience on their feet and letting decades of memories crest as high as the pyrotechnics that lit up the warm summer night.

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