BANGOR — If you suspended reality, Friday’s 50th reunion Beach Boys concert on the Bangor waterfront felt pretty authentic.

But with nine musicians backing five of the legitimate original Beach Boys, it was hard to discern reality from feel-good nostalgia.

A good show? Yes. A fun show? Absolutely, yes. A memorable show? We’ll see.

The Beach Boys rambled through nearly 50 songs over two-plus hours, filling the night with feel-good harmonies and at times some pretty impressive musicianship. But in the end, the show felt thrilling at times, sadly unsatisfying at others.

It was fun to see Brian Wilson back with the band. Though he appeared bored much of the night, he also provided the most highlights with his strained but heartfelt vocals, especially on “Heroes and Villains” and “I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times.”

Wilson truly made the show worthwhile. Mike Love’s contrived histrionics felt annoying by the fifth song or so. Bruce Johnston came across as a geeky cheerleader.


Alan Jardine had moments, and David Marks actually broke a sweat playing some smooth lead guitar. But the balance of the show felt like more like a replica ’60s diner than anything close to believable.

The main problem was the unbearable weight of history. The Beach Boys unquestionably remain one of the most important bands in the history of pop and rock music in America. Their influence is undeniable.

But this reunion tour feels too much like the late-’90s version of the band that trudged through America playing state fair after state fair. There are so many musicians on stage and so many near-perfect harmonies that they all sound fake after a while. It was hard to tell what was real and what was wishful thinking.

All that said, Friday’s show had its moments. The new songs, culled from the band’s popular CD “That’s Why God Made the Radio,” sounded fresh and alive. And the first-set closing segment of “Little Deuce Coupe,” “409,” and “I Get Around” featured real energy.

And give the Beach Boys credit for working hard. This was no 60-minutes and thank you for coming. They offered up a major effort, and absolutely earned their money.

It’s just too bad the show felt so predictable. With Brian Wilson back on stage, anticipation outpaced what was delivered.


Staff Writer Bob Keyes can be contacted at 791-6457 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: pphbkeyes


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