Brian Wilson at the London Palladium
Promoting the 50th anniversary of the legendary Pet Sounds album, renowned frontman of the Beach Boys Brian Wilson put on a show-stopping performance at the grandiose London Palladium theatre. Joined by Beach Boys’ founding member and guitarist, Al Jardine, the Palladium was a beautiful melange of reminiscences, adoration and groovy dances.
Opening with an A cappella of Our Prayer, the whole room was immediately hypnotised by the flawless harmonies. The audience sat politely in their seats but it wasn’t long before everybody was moving to the beat and belting out every word. Packed with Brian Wilson, Al Jardine, keyboardists, percussionists and guitarists to name a few, the stage was a ball of energy and infectious passion.
Hit tracks California Girls and Surfer Girl had the room transformed into a paradise, as devoted fans were put in a musical trance, never wanting to wake up. From funky tunes including Dance, Dance, Dance and I Get Around to more sombre pieces such as One Kind of Love from Wilson’s film Love and Mercy, there was something for everyone. With the gorgeous harmonies and Jardine’s distinctive cowboy twang an American essence filled the venue as the band performed Cotton Fields.
Although Wilson remained seated at his piano and looked fatigued, with Jardine’s son taking over his distinctive falsetto in songs such as Don’t Worry Baby, it was like listening to a young Wilson again. But age doesn’t mean a thing at a Brian Wilson gig as everybody, from people who saw the band rise to fame as well as those who discovered them through their parents, were having the time of their life.
To the audience’s delight, former member of the Beach Boys and renowned guitarist Blondie Chaplin joined the group on stage, putting on unforgettable renditions of Wild Honey, Funky Pretty and Sail On, Sailor. His dirty guitar solos, mesmerising energy and interactions with the crowd had the room in a frenzy.
Following an intermission, the band was back to play their acclaimed Pet Sounds album. Released in 1966, the classic hits, such as Wouldn’t It Be Nice and You Still Believe In Me, were leaving loyal fans in a teary mess as they reminisced on the good ol’ days. Under the spotlights, Brian Wilson revived his true self again, belting out the masterpiece God Only Knows, which he proudly claimed was Paul McCartney’s favourite.
Cheered on to the stage by a standing ovation, Wilson and friends came back strong with powerful performances of Fun, Fun, Fun, Help Me Rhonda and Surfin’ U.S.A. From each band member’s impeccable vivacity to the audience clapping and lyric chanting, the Palladium was filled with Good Vibrations. Brian Wilson brought London back to the 60s, back to the striped t-shirts and surfboards under the California sun for a night to remember.
Photos: Erol Birsen
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