Brian Wilson

Brian Wilson and The Zombies at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles

Music legend Brian Wilson, a founding member of the Beach Boys, is back on tour after postponing his summer dates. Wilson’s Something Great from '68 tour with The Zombies stopped at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles, CA, on Sept. 12. The tour revolves around the classic Beach Boy albums Friends (1968) and Surf’s Up (1971). For this tour, Wilson is joined once again by fellow Beach Boy co-founder Al Jardine (guitar/vocals) and longtime member Blondie Chaplin (guitar/vocals). For The Zombies, original members Hugh Grundy (drums/vocals) and Chris White (bass/vocals) have rejoined the group.

The Zombies formed in the UK not long after the Beach Boys formed in Hawthorne, CA. Although The Zombies were only together for five years, in that time, they released two albums and an EP. One of those two albums, Odyssey and Oracle, is regarded as one of the best albums of all time. Just like The Beach Boys' Friends, Odyssey and Oracle was released by The Zombies in 1968. Since the group disbanded, members have played together in different formations, and in 2004 played one final show with all five original members, only a few months before original guitarist Paul Atkinson passed. To commemorate the 50th anniversary of Odyssey and Oracles, all four surviving members, Grundy, White, Rod Argent (keyboard/vocals) and Colin Blunstone (lead vocals), reunited for a tour in 2017. In March of this year, the group was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

The Zombies took the stage first with their current band of Argent, Blunstone, Steve Rodford (drums), Tom Toomey (guitar/vocals) and Soren Koch (bass), who joined the group last year after the passing of Jim Rodford. The Zombies kicked off their set with “Tell Her No.” After the fourth song, “She’s Not There,” Grundy and White joined in for all of Odyssey and Oracles, starting with “Care of Cell 44” through “Time of the Season.” The Zombies were also joined by Brian Wilson's keyboardist Darian Sahanja, who has toured with the group on and off since 2015.

Just like the Zombies, Wilson played four songs before playing the full albums. After playing some of the Beach Boys’ biggest hits, “California Girls,” “I Get Around,” “Don’t Worry Baby” and “Darlin’,” Wilson played the first three tracks of Friends and “Busy Doin’ Nothin’” from the second side. Jardine’s son, Matt, sung all of Wilson’s falsetto parts as well as lead on a few songs. After Friends, it was the Pet Sounds part of the show. Wilson had played a two-year tour to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the album, which consistently ranks in the top five greatest albums of all time on most lists. From Pet Sounds, the opening track, “Wouldn’t It Be Nice,” was performed, as well as “Sloop John B.” and “God Only Knows,” which included Blunston and Argent.

The next part of the show included songs from Surf’s Up, starting with “Feel Flows,” the first song of the second side of the album. For “Sail On Sailor,” Chaplin took lead vocals, true to the original recording. Wilson also included a few deep cuts off Surf’s Up as well as the title track, notoriously difficult to perform live. “Surf’s Up” wasn’t the only song that blew everyone away with the Beach Boys' intricate vocal harmonies. “Heroes and Villains” was another incredible performance. The encore began with “Good Vibrations,” and for “Help Me Rhonda,” Jardine took over lead vocals. A very special guest came out for “Surfin’ U.S.A.,” and "Fun, Fun, Fun”—none other than Billy Idol. The show ended with all of Wilson’s band gathering around him at the piano to sing “In My Room,” acapella. The tour concludes Sept. 28 in Philidelphia, PA. On Sept. 29, Wilson has a Greatest Hits Live! show in Bethlehem, PA and a Pet Sounds show Oct. 2 in Red Bank, New Jersey.

The Zombies

 

Brian Wilson