June 19, 2016 Tanglewood concert review by Dave Read
Brian Wilson played Pet Sounds at Tanglewood, June 18, 2016, the second concert on the Popular Artist series at the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. It took Mr. Wilson about three minutes to knock the cynicism out of me and by the end of this two and a half hour show, I was a true believer. As the concert loomed on my calendar, my plan was to disparage latter-day rock critics who rave about an album that was put away soon after it’s 1966 release. The various musical innovations of Brian Wilson that characterize Pet Sounds were either not noticed or simply lost on us who were bored by the AM radio sound and eager to bounce headlong into the realm of Cream’s Fresh Cream, Frank Zappa’s Freak Out, and Bob Dylan’s Blond on Blond, just to name 3 other 1966 albums.
But this was a great show and by the end of the opening song, Heroes and Villians, we were won over by Mr. Wilson, as much for his simply charming stage presence as for his musical genius. The way things are today, even if your Crawdaddy subscription has lapsed, everybody knows all the crap Mr. Wilson has been through over 50+ years; the mere fact that he’s up and about is worthy of our admiration. When he left the stage some 34 songs later, though, he did so with our affection too, which we were happy to return. The show ended with Love and Mercy, his late ’80s song and pointed us in the direction of the 2014 movie about him bearing the same name, which he has described as a “very factual” representation of his life around the time of Pet Sounds.
Beach Boy Al Jardine was in the band, playing guitar a few feet away from Wilson, as was his son Matt, who took a couple turns singing falsetto parts that were an essential piece of the Beach Boys sound. Also on board for this tour is Blondie Chaplin, the South African singer and guitarist who first joined the Beach Boys in the 1970s and who did long stints with the Rolling Stones, too. First song of the seven encore numbers was Good Vibrations, recorded at the same time as Pet Sounds, but left off the album. It was given a pulsating reading today – they fairly blew the roof off the joint! Oh yeah, there was also Barbara Ann, Help Me Rhonda, Fun, Fun, Fun – it was a hell of a show, with one of the most exciting encores of all time!
About Tanglewood: box office, tickets, getting there, nearby hotels
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Getting around the Tanglewood campus
The Tanglewood campus, summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Tanglewood Music Center comprises several hundred acres in the towns of Lenox and Stockbridge. It is the location of the Koussevitsky Music Shed and Ozawa Hall, where hundreds of thousands attend concerts and a variety of events, including picnics. We always advise new visitors to arrive early and take their daily walking exercise wandering the beautiful Tanglewood grounds.
Here is a dynamic map of the Tanglewood grounds, with photos and information for such points of interest as Aaron Copland Library, Highwood Manor House, The Glass House, and The Lion’s Gate.