It Was Brian Wilson.

Brian Wilson played the Concert Hall where I work last night.

Brian Wilson

Y’know how I always mention on here about how I hate the word ‘Genius’ and how I think it’s overused these days?

Well, It is.
I think Brian Wilson may very well have been a true genius at a certain time in his life.
A real one.
I said it.

That was then and this is now.

I wasn’t overly excited really when I heard he was playing but I was interested in seeing the gig if I could.
So I did.
It’s long been said to me that Ol’ Brian can’t play the game anymore but all the same,
I was seeing the gig for free and had my ears all the way open.

Before the auditorium opened,
3 American guys approached me looking for a way backstage.
A young guy,
A slightly older than him guy and an older guy.

They had stage passes, so:

Me:Okay. Follow me fellers”.

Young guy:Hey man, that sure is a cool haircut y’have there.”

Me:Thanks. I grew it myself.”

Young guy:No really, that really is a neat haircut. Ain’t it Brian?”

Brian Wilson:Sure”.

(Brian Wilson! It was Brian Wilson. Fuck!)

Young guy:Wish I had cool hair like that. Where’d you get it? Heh heh.”

Me:Possibly Brian Wilson heh heh.
           Nah, Only joking.
          The Beatles Rubber Soul album cover, Heh heh”.

(Wrong answer? Was it the wrong answer folks?)

Young guy:So, Are we sold out tonight?”

Me:Almost 2000 seats. So, Yeah, I think so”.

Young guy:You hear that Brian? Another sell out show!”

Brian Wilson:Oh……..(Longest far away pause ever)…….That’s nice”.

(Then he stared out the passing windows and looked completely sad and lost).

(We got to the dressing rooms).

Me:Which dressing rooms are yours?”

Brian Wilson:All of ‘em”.

Me:Ha ha! I like it”.

Young guy:Well, thanks man!”

Me:Have a great show”.

And that was that folks.
Wish I’d have thought of something more interesting to say really.

Brian Wilson is a big guy, real tall too, and he moved really slowly.
He seemed confused as to where he was (In general) and I got the impression that the two guys he was with did his talking for him.
But hey,
It’s Brian Wilson right?

This man has made some of the most beautiful music ever etched into the grooves of vinyl records.
Some of it,
Downright hauntingly beautiful.
Hard to take in that this old confused looking man was him really.


It was and an hour after that,
He took the stage.

(This might not be what you want to hear folks).

He sat behind a massive keyboard and I don’t think he touched it during the whole gig.
He didn’t even pretend to touch it.
Heh heh.
His arms were by his side for the entire gig except for twice.
(Once when he picked up his coffee mug mid song and once when he strapped on a bass guitar and just held it).


His vocals were weak and quiet and his 10 piece younger band practically did everything.
Including Brian’s vocal parts.

“Good Vibrations” was nice and me and Gary Rankin (Great, Cool guy I work with) even got goose bumps!
More because it’s a fucking great song and not because it was Brian singing it which he wasn’t really.

I’ll be interested to read reviews of this gig because:
(a) I’m terrible at reviewing things.
(b) I always forget the content & order of the set lists.
(c) I think most people won’t admit that it wasn’t very good just BECAUSE it’s Brian Wilson.

This man is what, 68 Years old now?
It must take it’s toll really and for me, It showed.

I’m listening to the album “Smile” as I type this right now.
I don’t think he played anything from that great lost album last night unfortunately.

(Chris Ward pointed out that “Good Vibrations” is the closing track on the “Smile” album and he definately played that.
I tend to forget about that because that song was released whereas the “Smile” album was shelved for many years.)

Just maybe,
A person can be so creative and so good that they have to lose big parts of themselves later on in life.
Who knows.
Maybe he burned too brightly.
Does that make sense?

I love Brian Wilson’s music.
And I should say that even although this wasn’t a great gig,
The songs still blew the bollocks off of what most young bands put out these days and it’s cool that he just sat on a simple stage.
(Know what I mean Bono?)

The thing I did get from hearing things like:
Good Vibrations” (That got me duck walking when I shoulda been working),
Sloop John B.
& “God Only Knows” is that it’s very easy to see that this guy’s music will live on forever & ever.

All the same,
He came across as a guy carrying a lotta sadness about him.

Oh yeah,
For the record,
My favourite Brian Wilson/Beach Boys Track is either THIS or THIS.

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2 CommentsLeave a comment


    Think this is it Al… lovely words chief

  2. I loved the gig for the totality of the event.
    He didn’t do much (he did play the keyboard once for Row the Boat) but that wasn’t the point for me it was more about celebrating the music & the man he was. Not quite a religious experience but rather a…what?..a chance to see a genius.
    Sitting in the terrace I could hear the music circle round the auditorium and could only imagine what it would have been like to hear it for the first time, though I’m sure it wouldn’t have been that impressive due to the technical abilities of the time.
    He is a shell of a man – didn’t move below the chest at all during the gig – but we knew that before we went.
    As my brother said afterwards it would have been a disappointing gig if it had been the Beach Boy together and you were the talk of the 38 bus after the gig.
    All hail Brian Wilson.

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