brian wilson

Finally, I got to see Brian Wilson perform live:

“Knock Knock”

“Who’s there?”


“Cadillac Who?”

“Cadillac wild if you pull its tail.”

Brian Wilson may be a musical genius, but he can’t tell jokes for toffee. When LA band The Wondermints released their debut album in 1995, Wilson said, “If I had the Wondermints back in 1967, I would have taken Smile out on the road.” Ignoring the fact that poor Brian was unklikely to leave his bedroom in 1967, let alone venture out on tour, it’s a lovely tribute, and thirty-five years later he’s as good as his word. Alongside the Wondermints (whose own Tracy Hide is just about as good as anything Wilson wrote at his most creative peak) and a clutch of session musicians, the Beach Boy performed selections from Smile (Heros And Villains, Surf’s Up, Good Vibrations) alongside all of Pet Sounds (performed in original track sequence), plus every other hit imaginable in a set that, if you’ve read any of the earlier reviews, lived up to all possible expectations. Yes, he gets a standing ovation after nearly every song. Yes, grown men weep. Yes, Wilson sits behind a keyboard he doesn’t play reading the lyrics off a teleprompter and still gets them wrong. Yes, the band perform those teenage symphonies to God with an unnerving and beautiful accuracy. Yes, it’s probably close to being the best gig I’ve ever been to.

But he’s still rubbish at telling jokes.

1 Comment

  1. I too saw Brian play live on June 7 in Nottingham, and have written it up on my own blog. Looks like we’re basically in agreement.