Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Back to the Beach

On the blustery and rainy night of July 20, Nicky and I trundled down to Pier 6 -- site of previous concert visits to hear the Cetera-shy Chicago and to partake of Hippiefest -- to enjoy the ultimate trip in the rock & roll Wayback Machine: a concert by the well-worn remnants of The Beach Boys.  Nicky had seen the B-Boys in concert somewhere on the order of ten-odd times, including three of their famous holiday concerts in DC.  This was the first time for me, which seems remarkable in view of the fact that the B-Boys, along with DuckTales and Gladstone Comics, helped take some of the pressure off me during graduate school in the late 80s.  That's right, most of the infamous "notes" that made up much of the foundation of the DUCKTALES INDEX were composed and edited while listening to cassette tapes of the band.

It won't come as any surprise to you to learn that the B-Boys pulled no surprises out of the duffle bag during this two-hour gig.  It was strictly old favorites for the most part, though Mike Love (who, with Bruce Johnston, comprised the only two "old standbys" in attendance) did insist upon singing an obscure song inspired by his guru.  Would that the guru had been on hand to broker a reconciliation between Brian Wilson, Al Jardine, and the currently touring band.  Unfortunately, it doesn't seem likely that such a reunion is on the cards anytime soon.

Mike Love was the literal "front man" for the crew, as you might expect, and his stage "antics" (if you exaggerated and called them that) bespoke someone who had been through the grind far too many times to count.  He pantomimed various familiar lines and words from the songs as if he were conducting a class in American Sign Language.  Perhaps he was preserving his strength, for the night was hot and muggy, at least until a sudden thunderstorm came up and lashes of rain started filtering into the tent-like structure. This cut the mugginess for, oh, about 10 minutes, but performers and audience alike left the venue thoroughly "sweated out."

Amusingly, the crowd was far less well-behaved than either the crowd that came to hear Chicago or the crowd at Hippiefest.  Several inebriated ladies wandered up to the stage during the show and had to be led away by security guards.  A couple of them were old enough that it was probably foolish of them to have partaken of "the grain and the grape" so freely.  Or perhaps stronger substances were involved, since the smell of burning cannabis was annoyingly pervasive.  Needless to say, several beach balls were being bounced and thrown around, leading several small kids to run through the aisles after errant passes.  Would that I had brought a hatpin (do they even manufacture those anymore?).  

Until the next "Over the Hill Gang" blows into town...

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