- Audio CD (April 10, 2001)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Format: Extra tracks, Live, Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered
- Label: Universal Music
- ASIN: B00005ABWX
- Average Customer Review: 59 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #108,658 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
Beach Boys Concert / Live London
Extra Tracks, Reissued, Remastered, Live
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1964 and 1968 live recordings let you hear how far the band had come! Concert was, in fact, their highest-charting album. Includes bonus live versions of Heroes and Villains and Don't Worry Baby .
Like virtually every band in the mid-'60s, the Beach Boys were expected to deliver their hits in person--no mean feat considering the ever more baroque concoctions that Brian Wilson was constructing in the studio. Tellingly, at the time the 1964 Concert was recorded in Beach Boys hotbed Sacramento, the band had but a few hits of their own and so they padded their set with Jan and Dean's "Little Old Lady from Pasadena" (cowritten by Brian), Dion's "The Wanderer," "Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow" by the Rivingtons, Bobby Pickett's "The Monster Mash," and, of course, Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Goode." The instrumental backing here is sparse and simplistic; it's the band's vocal interplay that carries the day before a throng of screaming fans. By the time the year was out, Brian suffered his first nervous breakdown and gave up touring to concentrate on his studio productions.
Live in London was culled from live shows recorded at a time (1968) when the band were virtual pop-cultural outcasts in their home country, but still enjoyed an enthusiastic following in England. These recordings document the Beach Boys' remarkable resilience in the face of Brian's deliberate distancing and their frigid American career prospects; when the going got tough, the tough got spectacularly professional. Augmented by a horn section, the band locks into a powerful groove, giving energetic, largely note-perfect versions of the expected hits along with some key album cuts. Digitally remastered, this long out-of-print twofer edition features commentary by David Leaf (The Beach Boys and the California Myth), as well as two bonus cuts: a 1964 concert rendition of "Don't Worry Baby" and a 1967 live version (from the unreleased Lei'd in Hawaii album) of the challenging "Heroes and Villains" that features a rare appearance by Brian Wilson performing with the band. --Jerry McCulley
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The idea for a live album was surprisingly not Capitol's (because once they hit it big, the label pushed them relentlessly for more albums), but nineteen year old Sacramento promoter Fred Vail. He hired them for a solo concert for charity near Christmas, 1963. The Beach Boys were shocked that they were the only act playing the large Sacramento Memorial Auditorium. At that time it was the practice for popular acts, even top acts, to tour together in shows like Dick Clark's Caravan of Stars. The Beach Boys had been playing department stores and roller skating rinks on their Midwest tour that summer. The william Morris Agency had been charging $750.00 for their appearances, not realizing how big they were. Though a bit intimidated, the Beach Boys went on and did a great show before 3,000 fans.
Though capitol recorded that concert, Brian was not pleased with the resulting tapes and asked for new recordings at a later date. Brian's instincts about anything musical or artistic were spot on at this point, and we are probably lucky that the two concerts on August 1, 1964 were used instead. They certainly sound like a confident stage band by this time and perform everything well. Also, by now they were the biggest American band without question, one of the few to not only survive the British invasion but to flourish. By taping the later concert dates we get big hits like I Get Around and Fun, Fun, Fun (plus a bonus track of Don't Worry Baby.
The 1964 concert is excellent and shows Mike at his best, commanding the stage and the audience, something his shyer bandmates were not really up to. It's post-Beatlemania with A Hard Dy's Night big at the box office, so there's lots of screaming throughout. though there had usually been a little swooning in the Early sixties, by the Summer of '64 it was all-out pandemonium. This is very noticeable when Mike introduces each member of the band: Dennis gets major decibels with Brian not far behind; Carl just a little and silence for Al who had replaced David Marks and wasn't really well known to the audience yet (you have to remember that the radio was the real medium in those days). They do their hits (though surprisingly Surfin' U.S.A. isn't here though it almost certainly was sung). Their love of old rock'n'roll is present in songs like The Wanderer and Johnny B. Goode, and even Monster Mash is here, a song they'd been doing live since it was first a hit.
The Beach Boys Concert was a hugely popular album, their first #1 LP. Here they are in their classic striped shirts before a totally wild audience. Every fan should have this album.
The surprise here is the Live In London album, recorded in late 1968 at two English venues. It's shameful the way America treated the Beach Boys after 1966. Of course there was a long gap between Good Vibrations and Heroes and Villains and everything had changed after Sergeant Pepper. By 1968 the whole mid-Sixties scene itself fell apart and it wasn't just the Beach Boys but also the Mamas & the Papas, Lovin' Spoonful, Nancy Sinatra, Herman's Hermits, Dave Clark Five, Jan & Dean, Gene Pitney, Cyrkle and others who would basically vanish. The new sound was heavier, the attitude more serious (there was even supposed to be a revolution coming) and the culture became divided over many issues. The Beach Boys kept up with all of it; it's not like they were still singing about cars. But the audience was fickle and it took years for them to regain even part of their old fan base.
The darkest years were '68 to '70 when only one of their five albums even cracked the top 100. But that's what makes this such a great album . Their British fans were still loyal and they charted much better there. the British audience was often much more appreciative of American acts and kept them going through lean years. Here you can verify that as a live band they were better than ever and had added a brass section and other backup to fill out their sound on stage. of course Brian isn't there, but Bruce Johnston had subbed for him for a very long time now. It's a great mix of their songs, old and new, as far back as Their Hearts Were Full of Spring from Brian's days of infatuation with the Four Freshmen (they do Graduation Day in the '64 concert), to Good Vibrations with Mike on theremin, and on to tracks from their Late Sixties albums.
Get it and enjoy it. Both concerts are a real treat.
The first half of the CD, The Beach Boys Concert, is every bit as wonderful as I remembered it since I bought my album in 1965. I urge you to read the other reviews to see the songs. I will say that the excitement of the album is fantastic, and reaches the levels I recall from that distant night at Dallas Memorial Auditorium in July, 1965. [I wonder whatever happened to Lynn B., my date?] I had read that they enhanced the recording, and that it really wasn't a live recording. According to the CD, the recording is basically live, but some of the vocals were, in fact, later re-recorded, in order to be heard over the screams. Having been to the 1965 concert, and seen the equipment used, I can believe this. Remember, these concerts used small amplifiers, the vocals were fed through the PA system, and foldbacks hadn't been invented, so the band could not hear themselves. [The same set-up was present when I saw The Beatles 3 weeks later in Houston]. No wonder they Beach Boys had to enhance the vocals later!
The Live In London half is only fair. Thus, my 4 stars instead of 5. Mike Love's introductins are awful, and the songs really don't get moving. The bonus tracks are good. I would recommend that you buy this, and, to get a great Beach Boys Concert album including later tracks, buy their 1973 album, Beach Boys In Concert, which is far superior to the Live In London for this purpose.