Concert Review: Brian Wilson & Sixto Rodriguez at Benaroya Hall

Brian Wilson

Concert Review

Brian Wilson & Sixto Rodriguez 

 Benaroya Hall

July 12, 2015


Brian Wilson, considered by many as one of the true musical geniuses in our generation brought his current tour in to a sold out audience at Benaroya Hall in Seattle on July 12.

Opening for Mr. Wilson was Sixto Rodriguez, who himself has had a resurgence to his career due to the 2012 Oscar-winning documentary “Searching For Sugar Man”. Rodriguez was escorted on stage, then sitting on a stool center stage, performed his melodic songs to an adoring crowd. Playing acoustic guitar in his red-framed sunglasses and a top hat, Rodriguez sang and played in a subtle and eloquent manner from his song repertoire. When his brief set was done, Rodriguez received a standing ovation as he thanked Brian Wilson for the opportunity to share the moment with greatness.

Sixto Rodriguez

After a brief intermission, the time for a trip down memory lane was upon us. Brian Wilson, who with his brothers Carl and Dennis, his cousin Mike Love and friend Al Jardine formed The Beach Boys in 1961. Hailing from Hawthorne, California, The Beach Boys made surf music mainstream. Following the lead by Jan & Dean singing about surf, cars and girls, Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys carried the torch of hot summers, racing hot rods and crashing waves.

Having grown up in Southern California, The Beach Boys sound was ever present. As a kid, hearing them on AM radio created the soundtrack for our youth. During the mid 1960’s it was The Beach Boys versus The Beatles  topping the charts.

Brian Wilson

Between this period, both bands created some of the most memorable albums in Rock and Pop. As The Beatles created ‘Rubber Soul’, ‘Revolver’ and ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’, The Beach Boys countered with ‘Pet Sounds’, ‘Smiley Smile’, and ‘Wild Honey’. To say that this music transformed is an understatement. These records changed how people interpreted albums as a concept and art form.

So here we were, inside a packed Benaroya Hall on a summer night, ready to take in an evening of now classic Beach Boys music. Joining Brian Wilson was Al Jardine, his long-time band mate. Also joining in was Beach Boy alum, Blondie Chaplin with a talented group of seasoned players.

Brian Wilson

The evening was better than could have been expected, as the band played a tight set of classics including “California Girls”, “I Get Around”, “Surfer Girl”, “Sail On, Sailor”, and “Good Vibrations”. Throughout the evening, Wilson also performed some new songs from his new album ‘No Pier Pressure’, which fit right into the flowing harmonies.

Closing out the evening, the encore was an outstanding melody of “All Summer Long”, “Help Me Rhonda”, “Barbara Ann”, “Surfin’ U.S.A.” and “Fun, Fun, Fun”. Brian Wilson chose to close the evening with a moving new song called “Love and Mercy”, the title track for the current movie Love & Mercy that profiles Brian Wilson’s creative journey.

It was truly amazing being able to enjoy the greatness of one of America’s legendary songwriters, performing his songs in person. Thank you Brian Wilson.

Here is the Setlist:

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