Thursday, December 27, 2018

Beach Boys Christmas

On December first my sister and I gave our Mother her Christmas present, the Beach Boys Reason for the Season Christmas concert in Morristown at MPAC.  My daughter and two nieces came too. Basically it was a girls' night out, plus me.  The younger kids probably knew the Beach Boys from watching Full House, which is likely the only nice thing I’ve said about that series in my life.

The band has had changes over the years, but even without the Wilson brothers it is family based.   Mike Love (their cousin) is still up front with Bruce Johnston singing and on keyboards and stuff.  Love’s son Christian also sings and plays guitar.  For completeists, the rest of the band was:  musical director Scott Totten, Jeffrey Foskett, Tim Bonhomme, John Cowsill, Keith Hubacher, and awesome Baritone Sax player Randy Leago.  He played a few songs on alto sax and flute with equal ability.

What can I say? We’re mostly a woodwind family.

The crowd age was skewed high, almost the same as the Alice Cooper shows we’ve seen there.  Granted, this group had a much more conservative dress sense.  Mike Love, still the consummate front man, made many a joke about his and his fans' ages, including figuring out how to turn on the cell phone lights as the modern replacement of lighters for “Surfer Girl.”  Behind the band, the screen showed some generic, if appropriate video footage, but mostly contained images of the history of the Beach Boys, with various tribute moments mixed in organically.

It was an impressively long show- two one hour sets with an intermission.  The stage decorations were Christmas themed, and they opened the first set with one, and the second set with several, Christmas songs.  The majority of the show was their classic material, however.  Considering they started in 1961 and often traded the number one spot, and compliments with the Beatles, there was no lack of fantastic material.

Unlike the Cooper crowd, the audience remained in their seats throughout the first set.  Naturally, Grandma had already started doing the hand jive in her seat when they did the group of surf tunes after the initial song.  And Anabelle got so excited when “Surfin’ Safari” started she knocked her glasses off.   Right before intermission, when they did a group of car songs, some of the most criminally catchy tunes of sixties rock and roll, Mike Love started asking if there were ordinances against dancing here as people looked like they wanted to but weren’t.  Finally, one of the guitarists flat out signaled everyone to stand up for “I Get Around” and everyone agreed.

The second set began with a list of Christmas numbers. Again, as long lived as they are it allowed many to be Beach Boys’ songs.  The crowd was seated for all of those, until they transitioned into some from Pet Sounds and others of their hits.  The music from what Rolling Stone ranked as the second greatest album of all time, behind only Sergeant Pepper (and surpassing it on other lists) got the whole crowd to their feet as one. This time no prompting was needed and there were people dancing in the aisles for the rest of the show.

It was clear Rock and Roll power is always youth based, even when the crowd isn’t.

Almost everyone sat down at the "end" of the show and remained seated for the encore of Mike Love’s new, yet very catchy, Christmas song “Reason for the Season.”  Then, as soon as the opening riff of “Fun Fun Fun” hit, everyone was up and rockin’ again.

We ended the night with a traditional post-concert diner visit.  It was already past Veronica’s bedtime during the show, and hanging on to my arm while dancing on her chair during the standup parts added to it.  When it was time for the drink order, she invoked an inside joke in our family and asked the waitress for “wooter.” By this point all three girls were goofy tired, as were the adults and we all collapsed on the table in laughter at the waitresses befuddled reaction.

Definitely a night of “Fun Fun Fun.”

Here’s the whole set list (Click here for the website)
Readers, this isn’t for you, it’s for my family so we can access it easily.

Someday I will expand my reach by writing more in general, and less specifically for my family.

This is not that day.

Set 1:
Finally It's Christmas
(Mike Love song)

Surfin' Safari

Catch a Wave

Surfin' U.S.A.

Surfer Girl

Do It Again

Little Honda

Getcha Back

Why Do Fools Fall in Love
(Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers cover)

When I Grow Up (to Be a Man)


Celestial Celebration
(Mike Love song)

In My Room

God Only Knows

Unleash the Love
(Mike Love song)

Don't Worry Baby

Little Deuce Coupe


Shut Down

I Get Around

Set 2:
Jingle Bell Rock
(Bobby Helms cover)

Frosty the Snowman
(Gene Autry cover)

I'll Be Home for Christmas (If Only in My Dreams)
(Bing Crosby cover)

White Christmas
(Bing Crosby cover)

The Man With All the Toys

Santa's Beard

Little Saint Nick

Must Be Christmas
(Mike Love song)

Sloop John B
([traditional] cover)

Wouldn't It Be Nice

California Girls

Help Me, Rhonda

Do You Wanna Dance?
(Bobby Freeman cover)

Barbara Ann
(The Regents cover)


Good Vibrations

Reason for the Season
(Mike Love song)

Fun, Fun, Fun


Mom said...

Can't Thank You and Kim enough for such a GREAT NIGHT. Watching my three Girls rock all night was so special. Enjoyment abounded This is my whole youth being celebrated in one night. What more can I ask? One more Thank You. You are so right, I love having all the songs listed here. Now, I can see them immediately instead of trying to find them on my computer. Make a joke, it's okay. I admit, I'm a Dinosaur.
Lots Of Love to you ALL.

Jeff McGinley said...

Glad you (and we all) had such a good time. Thanx for finding this one, Kim.