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Blues Log Stardate 07092008


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Ottawa Bluesfest


Stardate 070709

Live Music Review

Review By: Velvet

Brian Wilson - Ottawa Bluesfest 07-09-2008

Brian Wilson

I didn’t rain last night nor did I make it to the fest. If any of you saw Michael Franti I hope you told him I was feeling just fine. I did make it tonight, and I’m damn glad of it.

I sadly missed the Harry Manx/Kevin Breit set, arriving just as Brian Wilson began his set. Seated mid stage was the genius behind the Beach Boys, America’s Paul McCartney, and as the band played around him he sat there looking lost and confused. Sure, he sang when he had to most of the time, but during the first few numbers Brian’s role was delegated mainly to adding his voice to the lush harmonies coming from the rest of the band.

To be honest, it was a bit troublesome. I’m all for seeing a concert by someone you respect whose time may have passed. It’s the checklist, y’know, and of course there’s always the hope that the former brilliance will shine through. But we all know of Wilson’s mental troubles, and it was starting to look like he shouldn’t be out there. He had that George Bush-like look of bewilderment about him, saying the words at the right time but looking like he doesn’t really understand what the whole thing’s about. I was concerned that I was truly seeing a propped-up shell of a man’s former self, and that perhaps it was a shame that he was on tour. Then the power to the mains went out during Catch A Wave and with the monitors still working Brian seemed oblivious, even speaking to the audience for the first time between songs when we couldn’t hear a thing. It was a bit sad. I heard someone yell, “Thank-you Diane Holmes,” which lightened the mood a bit. A couple of songs later the mains were back on, and something in Brian Wilson started to come together.

About mid set it seemed like the man woke up and began to have serious bouts of lucidity. He started occasionally waving his arms about in Beach Boy fashion (surely muscle memory from thousands of shows gone by), talking to the crowd, and sounding like his old self. These qualities were sporadic, but he sure got better as the show went on. They played a string of tunes from Pet Sounds and some more monster hits that displayed the remarkable melodic ability of Brian Wilson and his nearly unparalleled arrangement skills. Tonight’s version of Good Vibrations was positively Beatle-esqe.

The power went out a second time, just as they started I Get Around. The band hipped Brian to the scene and this time they stopped for a moment and ambled about the stage. Soon enough the problem was fixed and they re-launched into the song to the happy screams of the audience.

They started the encore with a cover of Johnny B. Goode (whose idea it was to cover Johnny B. Goode in the same encore as Fun, Fun, Fun I can only guess) and followed it with five more songs, closing with a beautiful tune from Wilson’s soon-to-be-released new album. In the end my feelings coincided with Brian Wilson’s demeanor. While I was initially concerned about his mental abilities, it’s possible that touring is good for the man. As I said, as the show progressed, he progressed. Eventually I found it encouraging that he is well enough to put together such an entertaining show and deliver what the people want. It seemed for years he was unable to do that.

Good for him, good for us. Ultimately it was a great show.

Previous Logs:

Mp3 samples from Brian Wilson's show

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From Brianwilson.com

From Admin: Message from Brian regarding last night's show

(posted by Administrator on July 10, 2008 at 10:49 am)


Hello everyone:

Brian wanted everyone to know that he had a touch of the flu for the last couple days which is why he might have seemed a bit off. He is feeling much better today and thanks everyone for their concern.

For those of you who are wondering about the length of the shows and the size of the band, these shows were dictated by the promoter so they are sometimes a less expensive ticket and shorter sets.

Just so you know, Mike D’Amico their fabulous drummer, will be joining the tour on Monday in Highmount, NY and the show in Brooklyn will be the full band.

Brian wants to thank everyone again for their thoughts and well wishes and looks forward to seeing everyone at the upcoming shows.

Also, stay tuned for TLOS tour announcements soon!!

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