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Beach Boys Weren't All There

Beach Boys
Walworth County Fair
Elkhorn, WI
September 1, 2001
Beach Boys
Mike Love - the last Beach Boy.

Story and Photo by Terry Mayer

The Beach Boys brought their surfing safari to the Walworth County Fair Sunday night sans the other four originals. Fans showed up hours before, lugging lawn chairs and even hauling couches so they could get prime seats and be comfortable on the dusty track. Beach balls and Hawaiian shirts decorated the fair grounds as The Beach Boys, hailed as the best rock and roll band of all time, took the stage.
I have one problem with the Beach Boys - this is not the Beach Boys. Sure, Mike Love is still the lead singer so all the songs sound essentially the same, but he is the only original member left in the band. Bruce Johnson did take over for Brian Wilson early on in their career, so he would be the next closest thing to an original member, but Al Jardine quit and Dennis and Carl Wilson both died. Mike Love is not the Beach Boys. He is just one of the few left. This has always been a problem I have with older bands. If you don't have most of the original members are they still the same band? When Brian Wilson toured this year with Paul Simon he didn't call himself the Beach Boys so why should Mike Love?
With that off of my chest I now must digress. Mike Love did a fine job considering he is in his 60s. He kept up the spirit with a flavorful beat and attitude. One song went into the next right from the get go with "California Girls" and "Dance, Dance, Dance." Mike was having fun, but how could you not when you're singing the surfin' cool sounds of the Beach Boys? With people crammed into their seats and the racetrack spilling over, the fun never stopped. When Mike went into "Do You Wanna Dance" the fans were already dancing before he strained the first note. "Little Honda" and the slow ballad "Little Surfer" reminded many older fans of younger days gone by. Mike sounded like he did 30 years ago. Even though he has sung the songs over and over, it still felt like this was the first time.

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