GIG : Brian Wilson
Venue : Bridgewater Hall, Manchester

Date : Tuesday 13th September 2011
Cost : £50 (no booking fee)
Our Verdict : Brilliant - They Can't Take It Away from Him!

Our second show of the Brian Wilson tour got underway in Manchester, with the ‘Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin’ album performed in its entirety during the first half. The show really came alive during “You Can’t Take That Away From Me” which got thunderous applause. The seats we were in did not reflect the best sound in the auditorium – the big speakers hanging from the ceiling were in line with our row, so we never really got the benefit from them. At times we really could hear the drums and Jeff Foskett’s many guitars (we were in the firing line of Jeff’s amp) but less so, Darian and Scott on the keyboards on the other side of the stage.

The second half opened with “California Girls” which was a great crowd pleaser. Brian asked if we wanted to hear a bit of rock and roll, with Chuck Berry words.... and then launched into “Dance, Dance, Dance”!!!

The set list was slightly different to what we experienced in Glasgow –“ All Summer Long” was in the main set, not in the encore and new songs in tonight’s show were–  “In My Room”, and early in the set was “Catch A Wave”. From Brian’s reaction he thought that it sounded good (it did!) and also included a nice guitar solo from Jeff Foskett. Later in the set we really got a treat, with “Your Imagination” a song  that has not tickled our ears during a live show for a long, long time, and tonight it sounded superb. The drums really sounded great, Paul Von Mertens’ flute shone through and Brian sounded great. We hope this stays in the set. The final encore was “Love & Mercy” to send us on our way with a marshmallow comfort blanket wrapped around us all.
Brett Simons & Probyn Gregory

 “Breakaway” stayed in the set, and tonight it sounded very fine. Not sure if the band did anything different from Glasgow, but Minty thought it sounded much better tonight.

“Pet Sounds” was once again a main highlight, where Nicky Wonder radiated in the limelight once again, and the drum off between Mike D’Amico on drums and Nelson Bragg on percussion was ace.

Darian Sahanaja delivered another great rendition of “Darlin’” and Scott Bennett sang another flawless “Sail On Sailor”.

Another big highlight was “God Only Knows” – not just because Brian sang it perfectly, but from the reaction from the audience......... there was continuous applause and Brian had to sit patiently and wait for it to end...... he was there for a while!!!

In summary of the show, at times Brian’s vocals were hardly audible, and he did look a bit fed up at times. However, he was playing the keyboards much more than we have ever seen him play them before. The crowd were appreciative, and got up and danced on the spot throughout the greatest hits.

So night two for us ended. It was good to hear a slightly different set, and also once again some of the firm favourites.

Next stop...... Birmingham.

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