Reports of the first ripple in The Beach Boys' 50th Anniversary Reunion Tour surfaced this week when word came out that Mike Love has booked additional dates in South America for HIS version of The Beach Boys ... a venture that does NOT include Brian Wilson, Al Jardine or David Marks.
Nearly as famous for their inability to get along as for all of the great music they've given us over the years, most felt it was only a matter of time before the reunion tour suffered. (Quite honestly, I would have figured Brian would have been the first to call it quits) ... but the truth is, the reunited Boys Of Summer have been playing to sold out crowds around the country ... have been sounding great ... and genuinely seem to have been getting along.
Their new album "That's Why God Made The Radio" debuted at #3 on Billboard's Top 200 Albums Chart the week it was released ... and was reported as the #1 Best Selling Album by Amazon.com that same week. (A lengthy album review, featuring commentary from several of our Forgotten Hits contributors, is part of what was lost in our recent computer crash. Our "quickie review" in a word or three: Safe But Satisfying).
Rolling Stone Magazine reports that Love booked some South American dates without his current bandmates ... and without their knowledge. Brian Wilson sounded both surprised and disappointed ... it sounds like he's been having a ball playing with the guys again ... and would have been happy to add additional dates to their current tour (which wraps up here in The States at the end of July before heading overseas for some shows in Europe.) In fact, Wilson implied that he would have liked to do another record with this line-up, especially since their first LP was so well-received. Incredibly, the radio-friendly, ultra-infectious single, "That's Why God Made The Radio", has not found a radio audience. Frannie can't help but wonder if this isn't shades of 1966 all over again ... maybe you just can't use "God" in a song title!!! (No, but you can bleep out three or four words in every verse of a rap song and still get tons of airplay and score a Top Ten Hit!!!) Wilson says this reunion tour has been blowing his mind ... so one has to wonder why Love was so quick to jump the gun.
Surely an audience could be found around the world to see Wilson, Love, Jardine, Marks and Bruce Johnston (who IS part of Love's Beach Boys line-up) ... the demand has been overwhelming. In fact, another run through The United States wouldn't have been out of the question ... it would have given fans another chance to see them since the first go-'round sold out so quickly in most areas.
While Love will most likely still find an audience for his version of The Beach Boys (which includes Johnston and a back-up band), the financial rewards could have been ten-fold leaving the current line-up intact. In fact, at least one venue has already cancelled their appearance because they're afraid fans will be misled into thinking that it is the reunion concert they're buying a ticket for, rather than the Mike Love Show.
Certainly Brian, too, could go back out on the road as a solo artist ... it's mostly his band backing up The Beach Boys on this tour anyway ... but there was something magical about being able to see ALL of them up there together again. (The show included musical tributes to lost Beach Boys Dennis and Carl Wilson, too.)
Here's hoping that something longer-term can be worked out ... and that smarter minds will prevail ... 'cause quite honestly, this move was pretty dumb. (At least discuss it with the other guys to see what their feelings are ... now you've got to take the stage each night with animosity rather than joy and jubilation ... it just doesn't make sense!)
Not that most of the reunion tours do ... they rarely go well. Save The Eagles (who turned their "Reunion / Farewell Tour into a 20 year gig!), the in-fighting typically resurfaces ... and even the prospect of much bigger pay days is not enough to set those long-festering feelings aside.
Are we surprised? No ... not really ... but it sure seems like something could have been worked out that would have benefited ALL of the touring members. Are fans going to be as quick to scoop up tickets for TWO Beach Boys as they were for five??? I doubt it ... but South America presents a whole new audience for the band, too ... maybe long term it wouldn't have mattered ... but I already feel cheated out of a second Beach Boys comeback album ... one can only imagine what direction that might have taken them!
Scott Shannon delves deep into The Beach Boys' catalog this weekend as The True Oldies Channel presents The Endless Summer Weekend. Check it out online at www.trueoldieschannel.com!