The sound of several hundred Glaswegians bellowing along to God Only Knows is surprisingly moving. Who’d have thought? The world of Beach Boy Brian Wilson is nothing if not unpredictable.
Brian Wilson ****
Kelvingrove Bandstand, Glasgow
That Wilson, now 75, is still alive following his lengthy battles with drugs and mental illness is remarkable enough. That this former recluse has spent the last 20 years as a prolific recording/touring artist is nothing short of astonishing.
He’s so beloved, no one cares that his voice is shot, or that he sometimes forgets the lyrics. You don’t attend a Wilson concert to hear vocal wizardry from the great man. You’re there to bask in an outpouring of love for him and his peerless body of work.
His incredible 11-piece band – which currently includes bona fide Beach Boys Al Jardine and Blondie Chaplin - do most of the musical legwork, as they recreate his songbook with stunning accuracy.
Some find it sad to see the frail Wilson sat behind his keyboard, a supporting player in his own live show, but to me and many others he looks quietly happy. He’s surrounded by people who adore the music he created in his genius heyday – music that means the world to him too.
This entertaining show, which featured all the hits, cult favourites such as Feel Flows, four songs from the 50-year-old Wild Honey album, plus Pet Sounds in its entirety, was a joyous, bittersweet tribute to a living legend.
Sail on, sailor, for as long as you can.