Brian Wilson Back On The Road With Al Jardine And David Marks
To anyone who has followed the Beach Boys over the past half century, it really comes as no surprise that less than one year after their critically acclaimed 50th anniversary world tour, the group has split into to two separate touring factions. On Saturday night (July 20th), Brian Wilson -- with fellow group co-founders Al Jardine and David Marks -- kicked off a seven-city mini-tour in Atlantic City, New Jersey's The Grand. Mike Love, who controls the license to the Beach Boys name, has been criticized for exercising his option to tour with his usual side musicians under the Beach Boys moniker following the group's reunion tour, which featured all the surviving founders onstage -- Love, Wilson, Jardine, and Marks -- along with longtime veteran and Love's sidekick on the road, Bruce Johnston.
Wilson's new tour, which features his backing band of the past 14 years, performed a 28-song Beach Boys-heavy setlist -- which included two songs from the band's 2012 Top Three comeback album, That's Why God Made The Radio. Other highlights and surprises included the acapella introduction to the Beach Boys' 1967 Smile album -- "Our Prayer," David Marks taking the lead on "Summertime Blues" -- which he performed with the late-Carl Wilson on the group's 1962 debut album Surfin' Safari, and the lead on the Dennis Wilson favorite "Little Bird" -- which hasn't been performed at a Beach Boys show since 1968. The setlist also featured such deep cut favorites as "Break Away" and "Girl Don't Tell Me." Al Jardine took the spotlight several times with classic readings of "Cotton Fields," "Then I Kissed Her," and his legendary "California Saga" from the Beach Boys' 1973 Holland album.
Al Jardine admitted to us that back in the late-'70s and '80s, he -- like several of his other bandmates -- took Brian Wilson for granted while he struggled with major bouts of substance abuse problems and mental issues. Jardine assured us that these days, he puts Wilson first -- even above himself: "I sit at the feet of the master when we're on tour with Brian. I know where I owe my allegiance. Thank God we still have Brian. It's so wonderful to be in his presence. At the time we were so into our egotistical self, that we thought we were the show -- but we were just the messenger. That's what Mike (Love) doesn't get. He's just the messenger. In all deference to (Mike), he's a great talent (and) singer and writer himself, but we're just messengers (for Brian). And if we could all just coalesce around this wonderful music that we created together, then that's what you're behind."
Brian Wilson, who has long suffered debilitating bouts of stage fright, admitted to us that he doesn't just worry about singing, he also stresses about talking in between songs and often rehearses what he'll say: "I'm looking forward to making a little bit more humorous jokes and being a little bit more funny, a little bit more funny than it is."
Although Al Jardine performed on the Beach Boys' 1962 debut single, "Surfin'," he wasn't part of the Beach Boys live act until 1963, when Brian Wilson began sitting out road dates to stay home and compose. 50 years later, David Marks recalls Jardine's early days on tour as a Beach Boy: "Al had fun. He didn't really go out to, y'know, chase women and get drunk with us, but he enjoyed the traveling. He enjoyed the attention, he enjoyed the playing -- the actual music. He was replacing Brian with the bass and the high parts, the high singing parts."
Brian Wilson with Al Jardine and David Marks tour dates (subject to change):
July 23 - Interlochen, MI - Kresge Auditorium
July 25 - Kettering, OH - Fraze Pavilion For The Performing Arts
July 26 - Highland Park, IL - Ravinia Festival At Ravinia Park
July 27 - Apple Valley, MN - Minnesota Zoo Amphitheater
October 20 - Los Angeles, CA - Greek Theatre (with Jeff Beck)
Photo Courtesy of James Minchin III