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Review and photos by Frances SealyBrian Wilson challenged himself to write Pet Sounds after he heard The Beatles' Rubber Soul. Paul McCartney in an interview had this to say about Pet Sounds: "Without Pet Sounds, Sgt. Pepper wouldn't have happened... Pepper was an attempt to equal Pet Sounds." Rolling Stone has Pet Sounds listed as number two on the "Rolling Stone 500 Best Albums list." The importance of Pet Sounds has increased throughout the years.
Brian Wilson embarked on his 100-city tour of the 50th Anniversary of Pet Sounds in 2016. Wilson decided to extend that tour into 2017 and Tucson was the recipient of one of the shows. The show was split into two parts and an additional encore. The band was essentially 11 pieces with a periodic appearance by Blondie Chaplin. (Mr. Chaplin was apart of the band from 1968-1973.) One of the primary reasons that this show worked so well was that Mr. Wilson surrounded himself with the best musicians in the business today. Many of the performers on this tour are multi-instrumentalists and they knew their instruments and the music inside out. The harmonies were impeccable. Brian Wilson's upper register vocals are now gone. However, Matt Jardine, Al Jardine's son, filled that void.
Al Jardine was the only core member of the Beach Boys on this tour. He was dressed in a suit instead of white pants and a striped shirt. He has more lines in his face, but he still has that boyish look and his voice sounded the same. He was quite a contrast to Mr. Wilson whose many years of drugs and psychiatric problems have left their marks.
Brian exclaimed at the beginning of the set, "Here's your music." Set one was much like a trip through the early Beach Boys years. "Surfer Girl," the first song Brian ever wrote was included early in the set along with "Little Duce Coupe" and many of the California rock anthems. The set seemed to show the maturity gained as years passed for Wilson and the Beach Boys.
Set two was the entire recreation of the Pet Sounds album from start to finish. Mr. Wilson even reminded the crowd when to turn the vinyl over to the second side. All of the sounds were present from the horns, the barking dogs, a Theremin, a bicycle horn, and a train. All of the recordings' embellishments seemed to be present. The sound in Centennial Hall was perfection for the timeless masterpieces. After the completion of the entire album, everyone left the stage.
A standing ovation garnered fans an encore of five songs. The Pet Sounds tour is a living tribute in which the artist is present. The show did not have that pep rally energy that other Beach Boy shows have. Brian Wilson has been considered a genius. That reason alone is enough to make it important to see and hear this beautiful tribute to Brian Wilson and America's music.
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