Friday 26th May 2017
We travelled all the way to Glasgow to catch The Beach Boys - the incarnation that is Mike Love and Bruce Johnston. Years ago, this outfit was the act that just rocketed through the back catalogue of the hits. Since musical director Scott Totten and former "CEO of Falsetto" from Brian Wilson's band, Jeff Foskett have been firmly implanted in the band, the performance has expanded to include more obscure Beach Boys songs, to the extent that The Beach Boys now give a performance, that for the casual fan, could almost rival Brian Wilson and his touring band.
It was a great show. Mike Love is the quintessential front man, who dazzles the crowd with his gold rings and sparkly eyes. His voice is not as strong as it has been in the past, and in his defence we feel he does recognise that he cannot sing every song anymore, which also gives the great opportunity to include the songs sung by others in the set. Both Jeff Foskett and Scott Totten stepped up for many leads, and drummer John Cowsill did a fantastic "Wild Honey". Bass player and former member of (a recent version of ) The Four Freshman, Brian Eichenberger also added some superb lead vocals.
All through the show, the big video screen at the back of the stage displayed loads of video, which was quite distracting at times because you can't watch the video and the band at the same time!!!
John Stamos was included in the UK leg of the tour. OK, he is nice Eye Candy for the girls, but he did prance about a bit too much, demanding the spotlight every time he was on the stage. Aside from adding vocals (he took the lead for "Forever"), and strumming the guitar, he was behind the drum kit a lot which we felt left John Cowsill a bit out in the cold. Cowsill is a brilliant drummer for The Beach Boys and we did miss his brilliant tom beat throughout the whole show.
Bruce Johnston sang lead on his signature song "Disney Girls" but other than that he seemed very quiet, and apart from joining in for the acapella nod to the Four Freshmen with "Their Hearts Were Full Of Spring", pretty much just kept behind the keyboard for the duration of the gig.
The video backdrop was also used effectively for a break in the show for Mike to pay tribute to those who had been killed in the Manchester Arena terrorist bombing earlier in the week, with all the victim's names and photos displayed on the big screen. It was quite touching, but the cynics in us noticed that Mike and Bruce were reading verbatim off text taped to the floor by the microphones, so it was very scripted. All in all, this is a band who have improved greatly since we first saw them years ago. And despite his critics, kudos have to be given to Mike for still putting in a lot of physical effort keeping this show on the road, and doing so many gigs every year.
|Mike Love & John Stamos|
|With Jeff Foskett|
|Meeting Mike Love|
|The Beeb & Jacquelyne Love|
One comment about the SECC - we had front row balcony seats as these usually give a great, uninterrupted view of the stage. What we did not know at the time of booking is that people have to walk across the front of the balcony to get to their seats so we had a constant stream of traffic!! Grrr