Brian Wilson + Jeff Beck, Sony Centre, Toronto 26.10.13

BW+JB stage 26.10.13This was a marvelous, even astonishing, concert – a marriage of experimentalism and pure pop genius. Some delights: multi-part vocal harmonies layered in Beck instrumentals; and Beck’s guitar replacing lead vocal parts on passages of Wilson’s masterwork “Smile.” I suspect some critics will attack the concept as just too loopy. I wouldn’t agree.

Beck remains a guitar powerhouse. His “Little Wing” and “A Day in the Life” will reverberate in my ears and soul for many a day to come.

The erstwhile Beach Boys Al Jardine and David L. Marks added a distinctive flavour to sometimes  seven part harmonies by the 11 piece band doing BB classics. during the Wilson set.  This band just flat rocks out and sings beautifully. The late Dennis Wilson’s “Little Bird”, sung by Marks, and a heavy duty “Sail on Sailor” with Brian Wilson in full rock ‘n roll voice were highlights.

The bands combined for about 45 minutes of a concert that was well over 2 hours in length. The challenging material worked best. It would have been great to hear Jeff Beck on some of Wilson’s re-interpretations of Gershwin tunes. Also, it disappointed mildly that Beck did not essay the classic instrumentals from “Pet Sounds”.

Overall however, this was a musical night to remember. Two legends surrounded by brilliant musicians finding new means to challenge each other and satisfy a very appreciative audience.

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