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Live At Knebworth 1980 Live

4.5 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Live, February 1, 2008
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Editorial Reviews

This album was recorded at the Beach Boys historic concert at Knebworth House in England, on June 21st 1980. It proved to be the last time that the original Beach Boys: Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Carl Wilson, Dennis Wilson and Alan Jardine, would appear together on stage.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 1, 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Live
  • Label: Eagle Rock Entertainment
  • ASIN: B000089IYT
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,535 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
In the extensive catalogue fashioned by the Beach Boys in their 40-plus years, no live recording of their period as the No. 1 touring band in the world from 1975-1980 had been available for purchase. There were the early years (Concert-1964), middle (Live in London-1969) and the Blondie-Ricky period (In Concert-1973). Finally, thanks to Bruce (who produced the live recording for Brother Records), that omission has been filled. "Good Timin'" is a concert performed in England just a few weeks before their legendary appearance in Washington for the first 4th of July concert in 1980 (which aired on HBO that summer). This is one of the rare concerts in which all six Beach Boys appeared (Bruce had just recently rejoined the band, Brian was back on the road and Dennis had cleaned up his act -- temporarily, as it turned out-- to assume his place on drums). The set list was their usual at the time, with the notable omissions here being "Wouldn't It Be Nice" and, oddly, "Good Timin'". However, we do get, for the first time on any Beach Boys record, Dennis' solo concert staple "You Are So Beautiful" as well as a shortened version of "Cotton Fields" (single record version) that Al does in a medley leading into "Heroes and Villains". There is also the rousing pre-intro to "Help Me, Rhonda" (where Dennis moves to the piano and shouts to the 45,000 in attendance: "Eat your heart out, Elton John!" and "Are you ready?!") as well as the all the staples: "California Girls", "Sloop John B.", "Good Vibrations", "Fun, Fun, Fun", etc. All the Boys are in top voice, showing off their a cappella skills and demonstrating yet again why they hold a premier place in rock history.Read more ›
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Format: Audio CD
This concert is one of the last ones to feature Brian and Dennis both. It also is one of the last ones to still include material that was new at the time (it was taped 6/21/1980 in Knebworth, England) and because a few songs did better chartwise in the U.K. than in the Boys' home country, you get versions of "Lady Lynda" and "Cotton Fields". Despite those exceptions, though, the band had begun to turn into the "oldies jukebox" and most of the material is pre-"Pet Sounds".

Performancewise, it veers a bit but for the most part the vocals are good and the instrumental passion is there actually improving some songs over the studio versions. It's obvious that the band was still "working out" the set, though (Al Jardine asks "Are we gonna do a medley thing again?" prior to starting "Cotton Fields").

PEAKS:
Dennis shouting "Eat your heart out, Elton John!" as he took the piano spot for "Help Me Rhonda" (Elton was the headliner for his "Captain Fantastic" tour and debuted the album for the first time live that day). "Keepin' the Summer Alive" BURIES the studio version...the guitars smoke and the acappella break is tight. "Lady Lynda" was only on bootlegs in live shows before this and is good (Al's a little weak on some of the verses but the final group acappella coda shimmers..especially after someone (Mike?) shouts "one more time.." and they do it again)
"Do it Again" is tough-edged.Carl puts in a fine vocal on "Darlin'", "School Days" is fabulous live, and the "fun/sun" portion of the show sounds better than it often does. "Help Me Rhonda" benefits from a great Ed Carter guitar solo..Mike Meros on organ is all over the keyboard for "Surfin' U.S.A.".."I Get Around" is stellar..and an extended "Good Vibrations" has the crowd really into it.
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Format: Audio CD
A live show from 1980-- if I'm not mistaken, the last tour to feature Brian, Dennis and Carl. By this point, the Mike Love touring jukebox concept (i.e. play the same surf and car songs over and over again) was already in effect, but the Wilson brothers kept the set honest-- its a pretty good mix or early and later material.

The performance itself is extremely high quality-- by this point, the touring band was tight, and their execution is relatively flawless. The vocals are top notch, as you would expect (although Brian sounds a bit shaky here and ther). Highlights for me are pretty varied, certainly Mike's shout of "BRIAN WILSON!" after the first line of "Sloop John B", the new material ("School Days", new to the Boys at least and "Keepin' the Summer Alive") comes off really well, and Dennis' impassioned "You Are So Beautiful" are all really great, and there's really no going wrong with "Heroes and Villains" in my book.

Several tracks were cut from the live show-- "In My Room", "Good Timin'", "Catch a Wave", "Some of Your Love", "I Write the Songs", "Santa Ana Winds", and "Wouldn't It Be Nice"-- these I suspect would have distinctly improved the show, though they would have biased away from the surf & car stuff, which I suspect was the intent by the track selection. Personally, I would've rather had the whole show on a double, but that's just me.

Truth is, the show doesn't really grab me enough to make me come back to it over and over again. Good enough, but not great.
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