The CLUAS Archive: 1998 - 2011


Brian Wilson (Grand Canal Theatre, 7 September 2011)

Brian Wilson live in Dublin

Snapshot Review: The legendary Beach Boy performs the music of two of the world’s greatest composers - Gershwin and Wilson - and a draw is a fair result.

The Cluas Verdict: 8 out of 10

Full Review:  “About two years ago, I was approached by the Gershwin family to work on some of his music and the result was Wilson does Gershwin, and we’d like to sing those 14 songs for you now” was how Brian Wilson greeted the audience on his return to Dublin.

Over the next 45 minutes he sat almost motionless behind the keyboard while his 10-piece band, (and a five-piece orchestra of Irish artists) playing a lounge selection of beautiful composed and arranged Gershwin pieces including ‘Summertime’, ‘It Ain’t Necessarily So’, ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ and ‘Someone To Watch Over You’. The band were faultless throughout, with a mix of brass instruments, keyboards and xylophone playing in time with each other majestically

After the interval he returned to the Grand Canal Theatre stage, sat at the keyboard and launched into ‘California Girls’, ‘Dance Dance Dance’ and ‘Catch A Wave’. He invited the crowd to join him in a sing-a-long of ‘Mary Had A Little Lamb’ in an effort to recognise if we could sing our not.

He announced ‘The Little Girl I Once Knew’ as his “sequel to California Girls” and played keyboards for the first time of the evening on ‘Salt Lake City’. His guitarist Jeffrey took lead on ‘Don’t Worry Baby’ as Wilson obviously struggled with the high notes, and he performed it adequately.

For the majority of songs, Wilson took lead vocals, but on numerous occasions I could see him reading the lyrics from the monitor placed in front of him. ‘Do It Again’, ‘Darlin’ ‘’I Get Around’ and ‘Sloop John B’ were mixed in with lesser known, but just as great tunes like ‘Sail On Sailor’ and ‘Pet Sounds’.

As the show went into overdrive, Brian stood up and put on his bass for a few number, while we were treated to ‘Wouldn’t It Be Nice, Heroes And Villains’ and Good Vibrations while I saw Paul Brady clapping along to every tune. “Paul McCartney once told me that this is his favourite song of mine” was how Wilson introduced ‘God Only Knows’ to which one of his band members jokingly replied “have you met Paul McCartney?”.

For the encore we got the Chuck Berry classic ‘Johnny B Goode’, ‘Help Me Rhonda’, ‘Barbara Ann’ and ‘Surfin USA’ which had everyone in the venue on their feet singing along, and the final encore consisted of ‘All Summer Long’.

While there’s no doubt that it’s the band around Wilson that are making this music sound so good, Brian’s presence is certainly required and if this is the last appearance by this icon here in Ireland, it was a great way to bow out and be remembered.

Mick Lynch

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Nuggets from our archive

2004 - The CLUAS Reviews of Erin McKeown's album 'Grand'. There was the positive review of the album (by Cormac Looney) and the entertainingly negative review (by Jules Jackson). These two reviews being the finest manifestations of what became affectionately known, around these parts at least, as the 'McKeown wars'.