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That’s Why God Made Harmonies: The Beach Boys, CSNY Plan Live CDs

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Beach Boys LiveIf The Beach Boys are the all-time torchbearers for harmony, surely Crosby, Stills, Nash & (sometimes) Young aren’t far behind.  Both of these legendary groups have recently announced live recordings of landmark concert engagements.

When The Beach Boys’ acclaimed 50th Anniversary reunion tour concluded last September in London, the band’s triumph was marked by a note of sadness.  Acrimony had once again arisen, and it appeared clear that the tour would likely be the last together for Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine, Bruce Johnston and David Marks.  Love and Johnston immediately took to resuming dates with their own band (including John Cowsill and Scott Totten, both of whom participated in the tour) while Wilson entered the studio with his remarkable troupe of musicians (the core backing band for the reunion tour).  It’s recently been announced that Wilson, Jardine and Marks will perform some dates this summer even as Love and Johnston continue their Never-Ending Tour.  But with the May 21 release of Live – The 50th Anniversary Tour, fans can relive the good, good, good – if short-lived – vibrations of the sold-out concert tour.

Live culls 41 tracks from the expansive set lists played by The Beach Boys last summer.  This whopping number is still far from representing all of the songs played by the group during the tour, however.  For the second-to-last London performance of September 27, the Boys played a staggering 61 tunes.  And for the final Wembley Arena performance on September 28, they tackled a none-too-shabby 55 songs!  Of the 41 selected by Capitol Records for release, many of the group’s most beloved hits are naturally included: “Wouldn’t It Be Nice,” “God Only Knows,” “Sloop John B” and the title track from Pet Sounds; “Heroes and Villains” from SMiLE; classic surf songs like “Surfin’ Safari” and “Surfin’ USA,” and car tunes like “Shut Down” and “409.”  A number of the lesser-known gems played during the tour have also been retained, such as “Marcella,” “All This is That” and “California Saga: California.”  Two songs from the band’s 2012 album That’s Why God Made the Radio appear: the title song and “Isn’t It Time.”  (The prophetic “Summer’s Gone,” played at the final two tour dates, hasn’t been selected for inclusion.)

Alas, there are many surprising omissions.  Brian Wilson’s heartfelt performance of Pet Sounds’ “I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times” hasn’t been included.  Nor has Wilson’s rocking “This Whole World,” or the ravishing “Please Let Me Wonder” and “Kiss Me Baby.”  Even the hit “Don’t Worry Baby” is missing from this truncated program.

Still, at 41 tracks over two CDs, Live – The 50th Anniversary Tour is a solid sampling of the musical magic of The Beach Boys, doing it again for one final (?) time.  It’s also nearly double the length of the 2012 DVD/BD release Live in Concert, which only included 21 songs.  (“God Only Knows” didn’t make the cut for that one!)  Unfortunately, that release doesn’t include any songs not on the CD set.  Surf’s up for the Capitol Records release of Live – The 50th Anniversary Tour on May 21.

You’ll find a full track listing after the jump.  Plus: CSNY heads back to 1974!

In 1974, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young embarked on a highly-publicized reunion tour of their own, although their first performance was a mere five years earlier, in 1969.  The tour was marred by rock star excesses, but the legend of “The Doom Tour” has loomed large for fans of the supergroup.  Now, nearly forty years later, David Crosby, Graham Nash, Stephen Stills and Neil Young have finally agreed to the release of an album of tour performances originally scheduled to arrive decades earlier.  Neil Young told Jimmy McDonough that “the tour was disappointing to me…they [CSN] wanted to put out a live album, and I wouldn’t put it out.”  But Graham Nash and David Crosby have confirmed to Rolling Stone that the as-yet-untitled album is finally due for release on August 27.

Crosby, who wishes to call the album What Could Possibly Go Wrong?, calls the recordings “startlingly good” in Rolling Stone, and Nash agrees that the recordings are “fuckin’ magic” before adding “it is true there were so many drugs and it was chaotic.”  With Young finally on board, fans can expect the album to be in pristine sound quality, or at least as much as is possible in the standard CD format.  Crosby confirms, “[Young’s] got it at two million bits.  He’s a fanatic.  You can get him mad by just saying ‘MP3.’ This is getting mastered at the highest quality available in the world.”

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young haven’t toured in seven years. “What do we do after this live album comes out?” Nash pondered to Rolling Stone. “Do we just let it lie there and fucking die, or do we do limited promotion? That’s not cowardly, but that’s not the way to do it. In my perfect world – and I’m only talking about what I would do – I would delay the release of this until the spring of 2014. I would ask David and Stephen and Neil to take three months off their busy lives and go out on tour to promote this record.”  As such a turn of events seems unlikely – though hardly as unlikely as another Beach Boys reunion – the as-yet-untitled 1974 live album is currently on the schedule for August 27.  We’ll have more details (such as a track listing and pre-order link) as soon as they’re confirmed by the CSNY camp, so watch this space!

The Beach Boys, Live – The 50th Anniversary Tour (Capitol, 2013)

CD 1

  1. Do It Again
  2. Little Honda
  3. Catch a Wave
  4. Hawaii
  5. Don’t Back Down
  6. Surfin’ Safari
  7. Surfer Girl
  8. The Little Girl I Once Knew
  9. Wendy
  10. Getcha Back
  11. Then I Kissed Her
  12. Marcella
  13. Isn’t It Time
  14. Why Do Fools Fall in Love
  15. When I Grow Up (To Be a Man)
  16. Disney Girls
  17. Be True to Your School
  18. Little Deuce Coupe
  19. 409
  20. Shut Down
  21. I Get Around

CD 2

  1. Pet Sounds
  2. Add Some Music to Your Day
  3. Heroes and Villains
  4. Sail On Sailor
  5. California Saga: California
  6. In My Room
  7. All This is That
  8. That’s Why God Made the Radio
  9. Forever
  10. God Only Knows
  11. Sloop John B
  12. Wouldn’t It Be Nice
  13. Good Vibrations
  14. California Girls
  15. Help Me, Rhonda
  16. Rock and Roll Music
  17. Surfin’ USA
  18. Kokomo
  19. Barbara Ann
  20. Fun Fun Fun

Written by Joe Marchese

April 22, 2013 at 10:14

4 Responses

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  1. Don’t Back Down is actually a surf tune.


    April 22, 2013 at 12:10

  2. Rumor is that the delayed box set, now tentatively being scheduled for late August, will include tracks culled from that final London performance so perhaps some of the tracks missing from this live set will be represented there.Some of the songs played on the tour had vocal leads taken by members of the band that aren’t original Beach Boys and have been likely omitted for that reason. We can also hold out hope for more video from the tour as it’s my understanding there were quite a few shows shot in full during the tour.


    April 22, 2013 at 12:15

  3. There is FANTASTIC bootleg of the August 16, 2012 show from QVC Marine Field in Chiba, Japan that’s floating around — a 2CD/1 DVD set. The DVD is pro-shot and features 35 songs, along with special appearances by America and Christopher Cross – perfect quality and I’m guessing it was taken from a satellite broadcast.The 2CD’s feature the same tracks in brilliant sound quality.

    This release (bootleg though it is) far surpasses the legitimate DVD od the 50th anniversary shows — and the 2CD set looks like it trumps the official release as well.

    Its a shame that the good stuff never sees the light of day ……..I’m wondering if this bootleg may have played a part in Capitol and The Beach Boys releasing this live set????

    Rich Dudas

    April 22, 2013 at 21:29

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