Review: Brian Wilson delivers a spellbinding performance at Clearwater's Ruth Eckerd Hall
Last week, your humble Soundcheck editor got to etch a new career highlight on his tombstone, interviewing pop legend Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys. The interview was brief, and Wilson's answers clipped, but it was still cool to hear Wilson talk about singing God Only Knows, or to talk about how deeply affected he was by the death of his therapist, Dr. Eugene Landy.
On Saturday, Wilson took the stage at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater. The show was not sold out, but those who did buy tickets to the show won't soon forget it. During a two-hour, 40-song show, the frail, fragile Wilson and his phenomenal backing band played classic after classic after classic, from Good Vibrations to Don't Worry Baby to California Girls to In My Room.
Sean Daly writes in his concert review:
Save for those Fabs across the pond, as a pop composer, Wilson is peerless. So the true joy of the evening was watching the masterpieces get built, such as the intricate tempo and mood changes in the mind-altering, Smile-d up version of Heroes and Villains. I also loved it when Wilson, with nothing to do, simply turned and watched his tireless crew unload the loopy instrumental Pet Sounds, a neat treat there. Life and death and drugs and a lousy dad kept Wilson on edge for years. And yet there's a peace that washes over him when his music plays.
And all of us, too. When Wilson played God Only Knows, it was heartbreakingly emotional. Those of us who were there will be lucky if we ever experience another concert moment like that.
Photo: Douglas R. Clifford, tbt*