2012 was truly a special year for Beach Boys fans: first there was the unexpectedly strong reunion album "That's Why God Made the Radio", arguably the band's best album in the last 35 years, and then there was of course the 50th anniversary reunion tour, with everybody in tow (Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine, David Marks and Bruce Johnston). Then, inexplicably, the band's label issued a hastily compiled and rush-released DVD from that tour, containing a grand total of 21 (!) songs, when in fact the band played anywhere from 40 to 50 songs each evening, spread over 2 sets. Not surprisingly, the DVD was panned and dismissed by many BB fans as yet another quick money-grab by the band's label. Now 6 months after the DVD release comes this CD release from the same reunion tour.
"Live: The 50th Anniversary Tour" (2 CDs; 41 tracks; 125 min.) is everything what the DVD should've been: a nice overview of last year's tour, with a generous amount of songs that somewhat resembles what happened night after night on the tour. The song selection focuses not just on the hits (all of which are on here) but digs much deeper, including golden nuggets like "All This Is That", "Marcella", "Disney Girls" and "Getcha Back", just to name those. The recording sounds remarkably clean and crisp for a live album, with the vocals upfront and sounding harmonious. Just a delight.
I saw the band on last year's reunion tour when they played at Riverbend here in Cincinnati, and it was one of the most amazing shows of the year for me (they played 47 songs that night). Playing with confidence and even a swagger that belies these guys' ages, it truly was a concert for the ages. While I have seen Brian Wilson perform solo (with his band), I had never expected to see him playing again with the rest of the remaining Beach Boys. This 2CD collection is a pretty nice memento from that evening, much better so than that skimpy DVD from last year. If you saw the Beach Boys on last year's reunion tour (or even if you didn't), you cannot go wrong with this "Live: The 50th Anniversary Tour" CD collection.
on May 22, 2013
Finally ! , A live album cd of the greatest rock'n'roll band ever ! This live concert cd is truly a statement for the Beach Boys and since I've been a fan for over 25 yrs , I can say that after years of doing ' hits ' shows , they've finally come out and pulled some rarities off the shelf for all of us die-hard Beach Bums ! I saw them in Cincinnati @ Riverbend on June 12 last year and the show was
just absolutely terrific ! There were some songs I felt could've been placed on this cd such as " Kiss Me , Baby " , " This Whole World " , " It's Ok ! " , " Please Let Me Wonder " , " Good Timin' " and " Summer's Gone " - but then again , you can't put everybody's favorite songs on a 2 cd set so this was just terrific in it's own right . Thanks Beach Boys for your concert tour last year and for the live cd from it . Surf's Up ! - Tim D.
on May 22, 2013
My normal beef about live CD releases is that they leave off songs and don't utilize the full capacity of the CD content and my first thought when I got this one was the same, knowing they played 47 songs when I saw them live last summer in what simply was one of the greatest show I have seen and I have seen 500+.
That having been said, this CD simply does contain everything you would want or need except maybe "Wouldn't It Be Nice" played during a majority of the shows on this tour, but given that is only one song not included that could have been, that is a pretty minor note. This set is 124 minutes of music, edited I am sure a bit for story telling etc. that of course made the live show even that much better.
As noted by others, the sound quality is absolutely perfect and the performances were and are on this CD the same virtually perfect. I noted during the show and it is a tiny bit obvious here, that at least 3 of the band musicians, including the show director, were covering key vocals that Brian or the gone Dennis and Carl would have or in Brian's case cannot any longer, but folks let me tell you, Brian Wilson did a wonderful job on his key vocal parts during this show and given how he and Mike Love have now separated again unfortunately probably for good, this tour truly could be the last we ever see and hear of this brilliant line up. Sad to consider yes, but making this CD and my memories even more the better.
I will say as others have as well, please whomever can, do the DVD up right, with the full sets and plenty of bonus features. Any true fan would pay top dollar for that one and I refused to buy the one that did come out, but instead netflixed it, but it was a shocking edited disappointment. So this CD set bridges some of that gap, but the first class DVD treatment is still required and due us all. Thanks
on June 2, 2013
Everyone anticipated the 50th tour and the miracle of not only the original guys playing together but the songs they would pull out of the closet. The song selection didn't disappoint, but...the collections isn't a five or four star collection, I'm sorry to say.
Before anyone gets nasty, I am a huge Beach Boys fan. I own everything in multiple formats. They are MY boys. I love them and their collective work.
The song two CD set gives us 41 tracks...a great representation of the concerts (which had a couple songs not here float in and out of the performances). It's an improvement over the DVD that included just 20 songs and seemed an unfair summary of the 50th anniversary tour.
Musically, they have a good sound. They should: there are a lot of great musicians touring with them. Brian's backing band and Jeff Foskett are as good as musicians as the Beach Boys are/were (if not better). And the backing vocals (which are probably sweetened in the studio after the fact) sound luscious.
The problem is that we want the guys to sound like they sounded in their 20s...and those days are long past. Sadly, Mike and Bruce's voices have lost a great deal of the timber or beauty they once had. Brian's voice is an acquired taste. And while knowing the guy who wrote the songs is singing them should be a thrill...it just made me want to go back and listen to the originals. Al's voice seems the strongest of the original team and is more of a pleasure to hear.
And the packaging stinks. Could Capitol have put any less effort into it? There's nothing there for fans to get excited about. A tiny perfunctory booklket with a couple of pics and band details. That's it. No real liners to speak of, nothing to indicate that it was supposed to be a once and never to be repeated event. And nothing to make a real fan happy.
This is a CD you'll play once or twice and put away as part of your collection. Good for completionists but few others will find it very satisfying.
on May 25, 2013
My complaint is they didn't have David sing Hawaii on the cd, as he did in concert. Instead he sings Getcha Back, a song he originally never even appeared on, and it has no Brian & Mike lead vocals. David deserves better, he helped to create this music, and was with them as a full time member from 1962-1963, and again from 1997-1999, and has also helped them out whenever Carl wasn't available during the "lost" years, and kept himself quite active with the 5 different bands featuring original Beach Boys members, even during time of illness, during the 15 years before the reunion tour. Otherwise, the harmonies are great, although I still think they could do it without The Brian Wilson Band doing background vocals.
on May 28, 2013
Many audiophiles will take eack track of this album apart, explaining the use of autotune, double tracking, and even accusing (with cause)the producers of using other , studio recordings to support weaknesses in the live performances; all of this may be true, but the question is this: "does it corrupt the experience of listening and enjoying the songs?" And further, does all this "swetening" so pervert the original reality of the performances, creating a frankenstein monster of musical perportions, that it's not worth hearing.
My answer is no. To get the best sound however, play it loud on good equiptment and not just on computer speakers. And get the real CD, not the internet version on i-tunes or Rhapsody; those sound terrible compared to the physical CD.
Getcha back is the best track on the CD for several reasons: the performance, arrangement and production of the song is just stellar. It's a much better song in this live incarnation than on the studio album. David Marks is the star of the show: his burning solos and fills, and his majestic performance of the song Pet Sounds" are amazing highlights.
But there are some poorly produced and weakly performed songs: "The Little Girl I once Knew" is the big disaster, as it is dominated by the voice of Jeff F., who is not a BB but who often sings too loudly in performing parts that Brian had done on the original albums.
The other failing of the album is that it's too tied to early performances and could not draw from some later miraculous performances.
So if you can accept that this is not the Platonic ideal of a live BB album, pull the top down, hit PCH, and crank up the Beach Boys; it will be magic, I assure you.
on May 27, 2013
I wish someone would define the word "live" as applied to music recordings supposedly done before audiences and outside the normal recording studio environment. Anyone foolish enough to believe that this or any other "live" recording by a pop-rock group in the past 30 years has not been "doctored up" in the studio after the fact....well, may you continue to enjoy your ignorant bliss. I've been an audio engineer and a professional musician for half a century. Sorry folks, but most of what you hear here vocally happened many weeks after the actual concert, back in the recording studio. Fact: all of the original Beach Boys are in their 60's and none of them can sing anywhere near as good as they could 40 years ago. The guy who saves this band live is Jeffrey Foskett, with his near-perfect replication of Brian's once choirboy-like falsetto. Even with that, 80% of the vocals on this album have been re-recorded after the fact. But what really makes my skin crawl is the amount of Auto-Tune being used. Auto-Tune is the most heinous invention in audio history. It completely removes the soul and the beautiful imperfection of the human voice. Auto-tuned harmony vocals are totally lifeless and artificial sounding. 40 years ago, the Beach Boys produced incredibly beautiful, shimmering harmonies and they did it without any Auto-Tune. It's the slight imperfections between multitracked vocals that create the beautiful, rich thickness that's absent from the vocals on this recording. But the "industry standards" now dictate what everybody's recordings have to sound like to be publicly acceptable. I wasn't a fan of Joe Thomas's production on "Imagination", and I sure don't like it on this one. There's no real "punch" or power. For a 13 piece band with 5 guitar players, I expected a little more excitement. I guess I am alone in my belief that there's no crime in a having a couple of mistakes or off-key notes on a recording - that it reminds me that I am listening to humans and not machines. I actually breathed a sigh of relief when I heard Mike D'Amico's bass mistake a minute-five into "Hawaii", so I guess the music tracks are all the original live ones. Even the audience response sounds "canned" in places. All that said, I grew up with the Beach Boys and their music changed my life. I've bought everything they've ever done and will continue to do so because I love 'em to death. I hope this album makes them lots of money and their fans happy, but I much prefer listening to the studio versions of their stuff.
Additions: After more careful listening, I'm finding a ton of mistakes on bass guitar. Don't know who because there were 3 different rotating bass players on the tour; Mike D'amico, Probyn Gregory, and someone else I can't remember now...but you'd think someone would have patched up the bass clams on this release.
The tour last year was so great (saw them twice)so how could this album anything less, right? It is great such as it is but where are the rest of the songs? A recording of the show on NPR had high quality versions of All Summer Long, Dance Dance Dance and Do You Wanna Dance but here they are MIA. Also missing are It's OK, Cottonfields & several others. These discs clock in at around 1 hour each so it isn't for lack of space. I made a copy to play in my car where I added the 3 NPR songs to the 1st disc & they match up perfectly & the home made disc is still under 70 minutes. For the other songs I only had a fairly low quality audiance recording that didn't match up with the CD so I added them by themselves, plus the acoustic performance the did for Rolling Stone, after the end of the 2nd disc & with all that it's still around the 70 minute mark. Even with these complaints I still wholeheartedly recommend this album to anybody who likes the Beach Boys. I've been a fan since seeing them at the Sacramento Memorial Auditorium in 1964 & depite the loss of 2 key members this is a wondeful rememberance of an incredible tour. Too bad Mike had to be an idiot at the end of this tour to drop Brian, Al,David and the members of Brian's band and go back to soiling the Beach Boys name with his tribute bar band quality, in name only Beach Boys joke. That isn't really fair....I've seen Beach Boys tributes that were much better than Mike's band. I can't wait for the Brian, Al & David show with Brian's band in LA later this year. Brian is the real keeper of the flame.
on May 26, 2013
This (double) CD features many songs that cover the span of the Beach Boys entire career. The sound quality is perfect and the vocals are brought forward, making the harmonies clean and crisp. I like the fact that the talking between the songs is edited and kept to a minimum, thus really emphasizing the music. There was still room on each disc to include even more songs (20 minutes on the first disc and 10 minutes or so on the second disc), but I'm not complaining. This is an EXCELLENT CD set. It's much better than the edited DVD which (in my opinion) did not have good sound quality and felt like you were watching rapidly changing picture frames instead of feeling like you were experiencing a live concert.
It would have been nice had the accompanying booklet been more informative, perhaps showing all the concert tour dates, and which tour each of the songs were taken from for this album. (Yes-I know all the tour information is available online.)
Of course the MUSIC is the most important thing here and this album DELIVERS the goods. So "Add Some Music to Your Day" and buy this album! You won't be disappointed.
on June 28, 2013
If you went to any of the BB 50th tour shows, you'd like this as a reminder of that probably never-to-be-repeated event. The BB have split up again (big surprise). These takes have been sweetened in the studio with some overdubbing. Not that it hurts things too badly, but there is an obvious omission here of Don't Worry Baby. Brian's backing band is killer, and the harmonies those road pros make the BB themselves sound a little lame. Bruce Johnston sounds particularly weak and airy on his lead, and I don't know why they gave David Marks "Getcha Back" to sing. They could have picked a song he was involved with. The best thing about this album is the reintroduction of David Marks and the Surf Guitar licks he provided to the recordings and their early live performances. That sound kind of disappeared over the years, and faded out completely after Carl Wilson's death. Hear it here for the first time in decades.