Brian Wilson at Minnesota Zoo Amphitheater, 7/27/13

Categories: Concert Review
Photo by Tony Nelson

Brian Wilson with Al Jardine and David Marks
Weesner Family Amphitheater, Apple Valley
Saturday, July 27, 2013

Saturday's Brian Wilson show at the Minnesota Zoo's Weesner Family Amphitheater was said to take place rain or shine. Shine might've been too much to ask for, considering the persistent precipitation in recent weeks, but the mild sprinkling and mist consuming the outdoor space, slightly visible on the pond's surface behind the stage, made for a peaceful acoustic environment suitable for a sit-down show amongst the trees.

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Slideshow: Brian Wilson at MN Zoo Amphitheater

Brian Wilson sat calmly at his ivory piano, surrounded by the other ten stellar musicians currently touring with the band, including original Beach Boys members David Marks and Al Jardine. The guys looked good. They have aged gracefully considering the ups and downs of being a part of one of America's most beloved pop bands, and they still look like Beach Boys -- just maybe more of the Tommy Bahama variety.

Photo by Tony Nelson

When an iconic musican such as Brian Wilson goes on an anniversary tour, there are some expectations that he should find the perfect recipe of older hits and newer tracks to fill the set, and the band did just that. A show that has a 36-song setlist allows for some wiggle room when choosing what to play. But they sufficiently covered so many of the songs true Beach Boys fans, old and young, want to hear, like opening with "California Girls" and "Catch a Wave," ending the first half with "I Get Around." They sprinkled in some rare material like "Cottonfields," which Wilson said they have only first played live on this tour, and had a lively response to last year's "That's Why God Made the Radio."

In contrast to a musican like Bob Dylan, who might not be the vocalist he once was but is still a legend and worth seeing, Brian Wilson and Al Jardine's vocals were so accurate to the records that came out more than fifty years ago. The amphitheater was the perfect vessel for the sometimes nine-part harmonies and backup vocals that make the Beach Boys songs so powerful and melodically consuming.

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