Reviews of shows from the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts and other local venues published by the Los Cerritos Community News. The writer and paper are in their twentieth year of covering these events.

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Location: Fear City, Ca., United States

"My name is Addison DeWitt. My native habitat is the theater. In it I toil not, neither do I spin. I am a critic and commentator. I am essential to the theatre - as ants to a picnic, as the boll weevil to a cotton field." George Sanders in "All About Eve"

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Brian Wilson August 27, 2011

Brian Wilson Makes Summer Sweeter at Cerritos

                                       By Glen Creason

“And the way the kids talk so cool is an out of sight thing
And the number one radio station makes the town really swing yeah
Salt Lake City we’ll be coming soon”

     It might seem funny to quote this verse and then go on to rave about the great songwriter who wrote it but such is the case of the unique Brian Wilson. Mostly known as the driving force behind the Southern California native son heroes “the Beach Boys,” Wilson is a bona fide genius at composing and arranging popular music. His work stretches from the early surf-sound gems of the 60’s to recent triumphs in the 21st century including the improbable re-working of Gershwin tunes. An exuberant full-house of Wilson fans awaited him on Saturday night at the Performing Arts Center  and they were not disappointed despite giving the man a standing ovation at the first few bars of “California Girls” that was the curtain raiser at Cerritos.  Odd, quirky, original,  and mostly just amazingly talented, Brian Wilson lead a ten-man band that presented the song signposts of Boomer-youth in a hall where many in the crowd were twenty-something’s who have just recently “discovered” the endless Summer of Wilson-groove.
     For the white-goatee set there were the songs that were just like a drive up PCH in a convertible when you weren’t ashamed to go shirtless and had plenty of hair hanging in an inverted wave across your tanned forehead. It felt great to hear “Dance, Dance, Dance,” “Catch a Wave,” “Little Deuce Coupe,” “In My Room,” “Don’t Worry Baby,” and the now ironic “When I Grow Up to Be a Man” that featured that fantastic Beach Boys vocal harmony and driving sunny beat. Only the achingly nostalgic and corny “Surfer Girl” seemed to slow the band’s accelerator but even lesser lights like “Wendy” or “Drive In” or yes, “Salt Lake City” sounded very sweet in these arrangements. While Wilson sometimes sits at his keyboard with arms down at his side or waving unpredictably to the sounds it is very much his talent that makes this all sound so great, with precise harmony coming from everywhere on stage and a tapestry of composition that meshes all the threads perfectly. A perfect example of the power of the sound was the first-half closing kick of the rousing “Darlin’,” “Let’s Do It Again,” and a wild “I Get Around” that made me actually feel young again.
    The second half mixed the surprisingly fine Gershwin medley with Wilson originals including George’s  “Summertime,” “They Can’t Take That Away from Me,” “I Got Rhythm” and the fine “Nothing But Love” alongside the hymn-like “Add Some Music” a perfect “Sail on Sailor” and one of Brian’s favorite old ones “The Little Girl That I Once Knew.” The band just got better as the show progressed, especially the twin talents on keyboards/vibes/vocals in Scott Bennett and Darian Sahanaja and terrific work from saxophonist Paul Mertens and percussionist Nelson Braggs. Yet, the lynchpin of the entire sound is the falsetto singing and guitar playing Jeff Foskett who was a tower of strength. More Beach Boy beauties flowed including “Sloop John B,” “Wouldn’t It Be Nice, “ “God Only Knows” the recent winner “Heroes and Villains” and a rip-snorting “Good Vibrations.” Everyone stood and danced or thought about dancing in the glow. The following encores belied a man near 70 but Wilson drove this adoring audience to heights that only a master can reach.


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