Just weeks after wrapping up a tour centered on music from the seminal album “Pet Sounds,” The Beach Boys’ primary songwriter and mastermind producer Brian Wilson has again hit the road with a new show. Once again accompanied by former Beach Boys bandmates Al Jardine and Blondie Chaplin, Mr. Wilson will make a stop at the Arlington Theatre on September 8 on his “Something Great from ‘68” tour, for a concert focused on material from his former band’s albums “Surf’s Up” and “Friends.”
In an interview with the News-Press, the singer-songwriter said he immediately wanted to get back in front of an audience after he finished touring “Pet Sounds.” While he considers “Pet Sounds” to be his “very best album,” “Surf’s Up” and “Friends” are his two absolute favorites from his career. Particularly fond of the latter, he said “I just that that it was a collection of very cool songs.”
According to the Arlington Theatre’s website, opening for Mr. Wilson on the “Something Great from ‘68” tour is British pop group The Zombies, who were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year. With all of its original members minus the late guitarist Paul Atkinson, The Zombies will perform its entire classic 1968 album “Odyssey and Oracle,” which includes the hit track “Time of the Season.”
Mr. Wilson said he was “psyched” to tour with The Zombies and described the band’s vocal harmonies as “some of the best harmonies ever.” Known for producing his own share of impeccable vocal harmonies through innovative recording techniques during his long career with The Beach Boys, the 77-year-old said performing live is what he now enjoys the most.
This is a far cry from the Brian Wilson of the mid-60s, who quit performing concerts with The Beach Boys in late 1964 after suffering a panic attack due to the pressures of touring. Of course, he did eventually return to playing live, which he said is now “home” to him. Despite his legendary reputation as a perfectionist in the studio, Mr. Wilson said he never felt it a struggle to replicate his songs in concert. When asked for his favorite song to perform live, without missing a beat he named the lead-off track from “Pet Sounds,” “Wouldn’t It Be Nice.”
Unlike his earlier tour, during which he performed “Pet Sounds” from beginning to end, Mr. Wilson will not be playing “Surf’s Up” or “Friends” in their entirety, but will instead mix up those records’ songs with other Beach Boys hits and deep cuts. Personnel holdovers from the last tour include Blondie Chaplin, who joined The Beach Boys in the early 1970s, and Al Jardine, who along with Mr. Wilson, Mr. Wilson’s late brothers Carl and Dennis Wilson, and the Wilsons’ cousin Mike Love, founded the Beach Boys in 1961.
Mr. Wilson said he and Mr. Jardine never dreamed that they’d both be playing music together more than fifty years after they formed the band. Between the two of them, Mr. Wilson’s touring outfit contains more original members than the group that currently tours as The Beach Boys, in which Mr. Love is the only founding member. When asked how he feels about this, Mr. Wilson didn’t express ire at the arrangement and praised his former bandmate’s vocal ability.
“I’m proud of Mike because he’s a good singer,” Mr. Wilson said.
In 2012, the remaining original members along with David Marks and Bruce Johnston, who both joined The Beach Boys after its founding, reunited for a 50th anniversary tour and that year released an album of new material, “That’s Why God Made the Radio.”
When asked if there’s a chance such a reunion could happen again, Mr. Wilson dashed the hopes of many Beach Boys fans.
“Not at all,” he retorted.