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- Brian Wilson »
It’s hard to know what to say about Brian Wilson by way of introduction - labelling him a genius seems clichéd, and yet it seems the only appropriate title for him. Plagued by personal difficulties, Wilson ceased touring with the Beach Boys in 1964 before starting work on Pet Sounds, the album that Paul McCartney credited with inspiring Sgt Pepper.
Wilson’s first London appearance in 13 years is billed as part of the Pet Sounds tour, and it goes without saying that few expected to ever hear him perform these songs again. The rich textures and layered sounds of the record are recreated on stage by a 10-piece band, and not only does the evening underline Wilson’s legendary talents as a song-writer and arranger, but the performances are perfect - a lifetime away from the karaoke nostalgia tours perpetrated by the remaining Beach Boys during Wilson’s extended leave from the band.
'Till I Die' and the title track from 'Surf’s Up' stand out as moments of sublime genius, whilst 'Wouldn’t It Be Nice' and 'God Only Knows' sound every bit as breathtaking live as the first time you heard them on record. The show is nothing short of incredible, and as the plaintive closing bars of 'Caroline No' drift away, it’s hard to imagine a more perfect end to the evening. And then they play 'Good Vibrations', and after two encores several members of the audience admit to being moved to tears. It’s hardly surprising.
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