By: Julia Luciw
As the title of the Beach Boys 1965 Party! album suggests; that is just the atmosphere the band brought with them to DTE Saturday, June 30th, for their 50th anniversary tour. The Beach Boys started off the show with “Do It Again,” showcasing their harmonies and surf-rock sound. It was incredible to see the original lineup of Brian Wilson, Mike Love, and Al Jardine who were founding members. They did acknowledge Bruce Johnston as an original member, having been with the band since 1965. Guitarist David Marks actually lived in the same neighborhood as the Wilson’s.
After playing a few songs, Mike Love joked that they already needed to take a nap! He also recognized that DTE didn’t exist and it was ‘Pine Knob’ to them. The crowd cheered with mighty applause. To me, it was special and even nostalgic to see them up there at 70 years old singing and playing just as good as they used to. I do have to recognize the great touring band that made sure that they sounded at their finest. Most notable were members Jeff Foskett on vocals with Paul Mertens playing the sax, flute, and harmonica.
What I really enjoyed were the deeper cuts including “Hawaii,” “Wendy,” and the thought-provoking “All This is That.” It was nice to see each member get their time in the spotlight showcasing their respective hits, with the bulk going to Mike Love and Brian Wilson. Still, I loved hearing Bruce Johnston sing “Disney Girls” while David Marks took over on “Getcha Back.” Al Jardine rounded out the group sounding eerily the same as he did in the sixties with his vocals on “Help me Rhonda.”
The show additionally featured plenty of covers from artists that were influences to them including Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers “Why Do Fools Fall in Love” and a rocking version of Chuck Berry’s “Rock n’ Roll music.” Oh, and of course there was “Barbara Ann” too originally done in 1961 by the Regents. This song has since become synonymous with the Beach Boys and turned into a giant audience sing-along.
The highlights of the show included a medley of car songs that was meant to rev up the engines of the Motor City and boy did it ever! Who knew they were such car buffs?! I also thought Mike’s comedy throughout the show was entertaining, especially on “Be True to Your School” which had Mike singing a long note and falling to the ground, only to be helped up by his band mates. Plus, the video monitor in the background featured photos of the band from high school. It was great to hear the applause for when Wayne State, U of M, and MSU appeared on screen. My one complaint was that Oakland University was not included.
For me, one of the biggest moments of the night was actually the most emotional. Originally, the Beach Boys were comprised of Brian’s brothers Dennis and Carl Wilson. Mike announced that they would be backing up both of the late members as they sang on their respective songs “Forever” and the classic “God Only Knows.” They used videos to simulate this and it was a touching tribute to their fallen band mates. It practically left Brian in tears.
The second half of the show focused on several key albums including an amazing section on Pet Sounds featuring “Wouldn’t it be nice,” “Sloop John B,” and “Pet Sounds.” After this, they focused on several tracks from their newly completed and fabled Smile album. I did enjoy that they incorporated two tracks from their latest studio album That’s Why God Made the Radio.
At the end of the night what made it so special for me was seeing people of all ages singing and dancing along to their music. They played all the classics and were very generous with their 2 hour and 45 minute set with several decades of hits. They really did infuse some Beach Boys magic into DTE and left the crowd with good vibrations.