Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Brian Wilson at The Sage, Gateshead - review by Terry Kelly

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Brian Wilson
The Sage,

FORMER Beach Boy Brian Wilson recreated the classic American songbook of George Gershwin for his adoring Tyneside fans.

The first half saw Wilson and his brilliant, multi-instrumental band - plus a string section - performing songs from last year's album, Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin.

When the approach worked, evergreen numbers like They Can't Take That Away From Me were reminted as bouncy pop music, overlaid with the kind of lush vocal harmonies which made the Beach Boys famous.

But there were highs and lows, with the short first half feeling like a rather unsatisfying musical hors-d'oeuvre.

But when Wilson opened the second half with California Girls, the crowd burst into applause for the Beach Boys standard.

And when the band broke into Dance, Dance, Dance, many fans duly obliged and got to their feet.

Other stand-outs included the haunting Please Let Me Wonder, God Only Knows and Do It Again.

But despite the brilliant musical sheen of his shows, Brian Wilson always looks as uninvolved as a statue on Easter Island.

The image of the former pop genius and creator of Pet Sounds sitting blankly at his largely unplayed keyboard casts a shadow over his sun-splashed back catalogue of pop gems.


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