Thursday, August 21, 2008

Drove our "409" on a "Surfin' Safari"

Long before her son became a fan of the New Kids On The Block, my mom was a devotee of the first all-American boy band, the Beach Boys.

So it was my pleasure to buy Mom front-row seats as Mike Love and a revamped lineup of Beach Boys played the Dutchess County Fair on Wednesday.
Thousands of fans of all ages — from baby boomers to a few actual babies — packed the fairground grandstand to hear all the hits from "Good Vibrations" and "Surfin' USA" to "Kokomo" and "I Get Around" for an hour-and-a-half.

The Boys' 1965 classic "California Girls" kicked off the show, which you can watch here by clicking the video:



From there, all the songs Americans have taken with them to beach parties for years filled the mid-August air, as the aroma of the neighboring racing pigs occasionally wafted overhead.

With beach balls bounding through the audience, there was clapping, singing along, cheering and — at Mike's urging — plenty of middle-aged fans waving their cell phones back and forth, from side to side, creating quite a spectacle of light during the slower songs.

These days, keyboard Bruce Johnston and Mike are joined by several younger bandmates, and they perform more than 150 shows a year. For more info on their current tour, click here.

As if his Beach Boys credits weren't enough, Bruce won a Grammy in 1976 for Song of the Year after he penned "I Write the Songs" for my favorite solo artist of all-time, Barry Manilow. (See how it all comes back around?!)

As for the show itself, it was really cool listening to the songs I'd heard as a kid, be it on the AM oldies station or — for many "Sean's Space" readers my age — during a very special "Full House," when the boys guest-starred alongside Uncle Jesse himself, John Stamos, who was actually playing a few gigs with the band until recently.


Almost 50 years after their first hit, Mike was still a rock star, pointing to fans in the audience and waving to others (I swear he was singing right to Mom in certain spots!) and soaking up the love from all the Rhondas and Barbara Anns — not to mention plenty of us beach bums — in Rhinebeck, a fitting end to a glorious summer night.

Decked out in my patchwork Bermuda shorts and Nike sandals, I was left with one sentiment after the show: Kowabunga, dude!

4 comments:

GO NAVY !! said...

Far out and solid man! Great show. Now the question in my house is was that John Stamos playing guitar. My wife would LOVE to think so. I think not. Just a good resemblance hat and all.

Anonymous said...

I danced with Mike Love after a show back in 1965 or 1966. He also, without prompting, gave me 10 or so autographs so I could give them to friends. He was, and remains, an interesting "character."

Sure do miss Carl.

Cat's Cupcake and Chat Corner said...

Quick question since you were actually at this particular performance. Are you aware of an email/statement floating around the world wide web regarding the placement of the American flag during THIS performance. If you need I can forward to you the email that I received. I guess you could say I'm on a debunking mission. Any help you could provide would be much appreciated :)

Sean T. McMann said...

I've read the statements being made online, and all I can tell you is this: The band started right on time (exactly at 8 p.m.), and the American Flag was hung high behind the drummer, visible for everyone to see throughout the show. As you can see when I pan the audience in the video, everyone there had a great time. Hope that quells the speculation.