The sound of applause and other good vibrations are returning to the Lobero Theatre.
The historic and intimate Santa Barbara theater will welcome back an audience for the first time since the pandemic started when singers perform songs Saturday in honor of Brian Wilson’s birthday. The Beach Boys singer and composer, who has a home in Santa Barbara, turns 79 Sunday.
“Songs of Summer: Celebrating Brian Wilson and His Music” will take place at 7:30 p.m. Saturday as a benefit for New Beginnings of Santa Barbara.
Musical director Sal Leonardo leads the program, which features Brother Sal and The Devil May Care with Glen Phillips, Garrison Starr, Will Breman, Chris Pierce, Shane Alexander, Leslie Stevens, Todd O’Keefe, Max Kasch and The Brambles. (Mr. Phillips is well known as the lead singer of Toad the Wet Sprocket, a longtime Santa Barbara alternative rock band.)
The Lobero concert is among the signs of a more normal world, following Tuesday’s end of the state tier system and loosening of COVID-19 restrictions.
Other venues are welcoming back audiences, from Center Stage Theater at Paseo Nuevo, where the Selah Dance Collective is performing at 7:30 tonight, to the Santa Barbara Bowl, where concerts will resume in August. Headliners include The Who’s powerhouse singer, Roger Daltrey, in August and John Legend in September.
And the Lobero will follow up this weekend’s tribute for Mr. Wilson with Opera Santa Barbara’s performance of Richard Wagner’s “Das Rheingold” on June 27.
But first, this Saturday’s concert will bring together musicians from Santa Barbara, Ventura and Los Angeles counties in performances of songs from two Beach Boys albums, “Pet Sounds” (1966) and “Endless Summer” (1974), as well as Mr. Wilson’s innovative “Smile” solo album (2004).
Already, half of the Lobero’s approximately 600 seats have been purchased for the concert, said Polly Hoganson, co-owner of Ones to Watch Productions, which is organizing the concert. (The other owner is her husband, Steve Hoganson.)
“That is incredible after just announcing this less than a month ago,” Mrs. Hoganson told the News-Press Tuesday. “We are just so pleased with how people are supporting live music again, especially at the Lobero.”
During the pandemic, the Lobero has presented concerts by stars such as Montecito rockers Kenny Loggins and John Kay of Steppenwolf fame. But they were filmed in a setting without an audience, and virtual programs aren’t the usual concert experience where musicians and fans feed off each other’s energy.
“Nothing can compare to a live audience,” Mrs. Hoganson said, referring to people laughing, clapping and singing along.
“It’s going to be such a release,” she said. “It’s going to be so refreshing.”
Will the audience include Mr. Wilson? Mrs. Hoganson said she doesn’t know, but added that word has been sent to the Beach Boys singer.
While Mrs. Hoganson is keeping the entire song list a surprise for fans, she did announce the singers would perform one of Mr. Wilson’s signature songs.
No surprise here. It’s “Good Vibrations.”
Tickets cost $36 to $56. To purchase, go to lobero.org.