Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 September 2014

Beach Boys make waves in Maiden City

Beach Boys, Ebrington Square, Derry

The crew of the winning clipper, Derry-Londonderry-Doire, receive a rapturous welcome from the crowd at Ebrington Square before The Beach Boys
Beach Boys lead vocalist and founder member Mike Love
Beach Boys lead vocalist and founder member Mike Love

The Beach Boys brought a little California sunshine with them to Londonderry last night – metaphorically speaking, if not meteorologically.

The veteran US band delivered a greatest hits show of summer anthems despite the grey skies gathering over Ebrington Square.

And the Derry crowd were determined to have a good time regardless of the weather.

Hawaiian shirts, sailor's caps and garlands of flowers were the order of the evening as several thousand punters greeted the legendary 1960s surf band on stage.

The show – part of the LegenDerry Maritime Festival – was The Beach Boys' first outdoor gig in Ireland, and they were on playful form.

"It's wonderful of you to share your summer with us," quipped lead vocalist and founder member Mike Love. "How was it?" added keyboardist Bruce Johnston, a Beach Boy since 1965.

Frontman Love may be 73 years old, and his voice not quite as strong as it once was, but he has lost none of his passion for performing and stayed the pace throughout the two-hour show. He belted out all those classic lyrics he co-wrote with his cousin Brian Wilson like a man half his age, wandering around the stage, waving and pointing his ring-adorned fingers at fans in the front row.

At one point he even kicked an inflatable beach ball that had made its way on stage back into the crowd.

With the two main men backed by a cracking group of musicians, the likes of I Get Around, Good Vibrations and Kokomo sounded as joyous and life-affirming as they ever did.

Fellow original members Wilson, Al Jardine and David Marks may no longer be in the line-up, but any Beach Boys is better than none.

Beach Boys lead vocalist and founder member Mike Love
Beach Boys lead vocalist and founder member Mike Love

Love, Johnston and co stuck to the songs about girls, cars and surfing, rather than airing any of the band's more challenging conceptual material.

The singalongs continued with Sloop John B, Wouldn't It Be Nice, California Girls, Rhonda and Surfin' USA, underlining the fact that The Beach Boys are second only to the Beatles in terms of the number of great pop songs they've written.

A rousing rendition of Fun, Fun, Fun closed the show, and that's exactly what everyone present last night had – in buckets and spades.

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