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Friday, October 13, 2017

The Beach Boys Bring Fun, Fun, Fun to Majestic Theatre Dallas, TX

The Majestic Theatre was the fanciful setting for an Autumn beach party in Dallas, TX on October 10th. The Beach Boys played to a sold out crowd on their “Wild Honey” Tour in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the album. There was no doubt that the audience was having a great time as the group raced through five decades of hits in the span of a couple of hours.

"Wild Honey" is The Beach Boys' 13th studio album which hit stores in 1967. It saw the band heading in the direction of R&B and soul music. The title song and "Darlin'" were the singles released for the album, both of which charted in the U.S. The album was remastered in stereo and released earlier this year with rare tracks as "1967 - Sunshine Tomorrow." The group performed both singles live at The Majestic in celebration of its anniversary.

These days The Beach Boys are led by founding member and singer Mike Love and longtime bandmate Bruce Johnston, who joined the group after Glen Campbell left in 1965. They head up a team of talented musicians who are more than capable of reproducing the sounds of the original band both vocally and instrumentally in their heyday.

Mike Love has led his incarnation of The Beach Boys since other founding members decided to branch out on their own after the death of vocalist / guitarist Carl Wilson in 1998. At 76 years old, he still impresses when he hits his low and high notes in songs like “Kokomo,” “Little Deuce Coupe,” and “Surfin’ Safari.” Love shows he still has what it takes to command the attention of a crowd, while making jokes about his age at the very same time. He has a great sense of humor and is very appreciative of the audience.

Bruce Johnston originally played bass for The Beach Boys, replacing Brian Wilson when he left the band to concentrate on writing and producing. He’s handled keyboard and vocal duties now for several years, freeing him up to be more active in getting the crowd into the music by walking around the stage while clapping, waving, and pointing at the audience. At one point, he even did a scissor-kick jump in the air which is an impressive feat at the ripe age of 75. Johnston took center-stage at one point to sing his most popular Beach Boys song, “Disney Girls,” which he absolutely knocked out of the park.

Adding to the already exciting atmosphere surrounding the show, part-time band member John Stamos graced concert attendees at The Majestic Theatre with his presence. Most people would recognize Stamos as the actor who portrays Uncle Jesse on "Full House" and recently reprised the role for "Fuller House," which he also produces. He's played on and off again with The Beach Boys since the mid-1980s. Stamos brings a lot of energy and talent to the stage with him. He works hard to show everyone he's serious about his music, playing drums, guitar, and congas while also singing lead vocals on Dennis Wilson's trademark tune "Forever."

The rest of the members of The Beach Boys' live band is made up of a number of different musicians who have been performing together since 1998 on and off again. They all bring an important piece of the puzzle to form Mike Love's well-oiled touring machine. Each one is an integral part of The Beach Boys' live performance musically and vocally. You're talking about guys who are responsible for stepping into the shoes of beloved icons like Brian Wilson, Carl Wilson, Dennis Wilson, Al Jardine, and David Marks. I must say they do a great job taking on the monumental task.

Jeff Foskett, who also played with Brian Wilson's band, provides rhythm guitar and sings lead and backing vocals. Musical Director Scott Totten takes charge of the band, plays lead guitar, and handles lead and backing vocals. John Cowsill plays drums and sings backing and lead vocals as well. Bassist Brian Eichenberger also provides backing vocals. Tim Bonhomme takes on keyboards and Randy Leago plays saxophones, flutes, harmonicas, and percussion.

The Beach Boys played two touching tributes to late members Carl Wilson and Dennis Wilson. Using isolated vocal tracks of past performances, the band played along as footage of Carl and Dennis singing and playing appeared on a video screen behind them. Carl sang "God Only Knows" and Dennis took the lead on "Do You Wanna Dance?" I have to admit to getting a bit emotional seeing and hearing these two legends "performing" with Mike, Bruce, and their present lineup.

Mike Love doesn't settle with just resting on his past accomplishments with The Beach Boys. The driving force behind the band has a new solo album coming out in November and performed a couple of the tracks from it live. One was a new version of "Do It Again" with Sugar Ray's Mark McGrath and John Stamos. Love and Stamos were joined by McGrath's vocals being piped in via backing track as the video for the tune played onscreen.

The other song was "Pisces Brothers," which is a moving number about George Harrison and Love's time together with the Maharishi in the mid-1960s when they were studying Transcendental Meditation. It is safe to say "Pisces Brothers" was well-received by the crowd and fits well next to his other spiritual tracks like "All This Is That" and "Transcendental Meditation" released on Beach Boys albums.

I don't think Mike Love or Bruce Johnston would deny that The Beach Boys are known primarily as a nostalgia act today. They perform hundreds of shows a year for old and new fans alike that just want to get away from the woes of everyday life and have some fun, fun, fun for a couple hours. The concert at Dallas's The Majestic Theatre on October 10th was confirmation that The Beach Boys still have what it takes to get a crowd up on their feet, dancing, and smiling... even if it is for just a little while.