Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Brian Wilson Concert Tickets - Part 2

All week long we're saluting the winners of our Forgotten Hits / Genesee Theatre Ticket Give-Away contest for the Brian Wilson Show coming up on Wednesday, November 11th.

(Great seats are still available if you're able to attend ... I can assure you that this will be a show you will long remember!)

Today's winning entry comes from Tom Crowe of Poplar Grove, IL, who tells us ...

Hi Kent,  
I have followed Brian Wilson from the beginning, starting with surf and car songs. Even as hard rock was taking over, there was only Brian Wilson for me. 
Through the years friends would always say that Brian Wilson will never last and that he'll be totally forgotten. Instead, Brian grew each and every year and the music he put out was like no other music in the world. 
Now all these years later Brian is still at he top of his game, even with going through his mental illness. 
He has no one that can compete with him. His music has so much soul and feeling. Whether a sad song or a happy song, he makes you feel the beautiful mood he creates. 
Whether I get tickets or not, Brian Wilson being in my life for all these years for me has helped me through my good and bad times. 
Thank you, Brian Wilson.  
Tom Crowe 
Poplar Grove IL. 61065    
Congratulations, Tom ... you are going to have a blast at this show. 
Long-time Friend of Forgotten Hits, Billy Hinsche, is back on the road with his old buddy Brian Wilson this month, filling in for regular keyboardist Darian Sahanaja, who is out supporting The Zombies on their Odessey and Oracle Tour.
We asked Billy to share a few stories "from the road" with our readers ... and this is what he sent me!
I got a call from Brian Wilson's Musical Director, Paul Von Mertens, in mid-July asking if I were available in October to do a few shows back east substituting for Darian Sahanaja, Brian's longtime keyboardist / vocalist.  The last time I toured extensively with Brain was in 2007 (CA and Europe) when I subbed for his other keyboardist / vocalist Scott Bennett.  I was happy to fill in for Darian, who was already committed to doing shows with The Zombies during October.  

A few weeks later, I met Darian at his recording studio in Echo Park where we spent about three hours going over some of the new material, and I even videotaped him with an overhead camera to see exactly where he was placing his hands.  That turned out to be very useful since I was playing violin parts on "One Kind Of Love" and horn parts on the intro to "California Girls," and having a visual reference was much better than simply reading parts off a music chart. He also emailed music files for an entire live concert and recorded his vocals on the left side of the channel and isolated them so I could better learn them.  I listened to that recording many, many times on a CD while driving in my car and on my computer at home.  I also spent a few hours with Scott Bennett at his home in Hollywood going over a few things, too, since he co-wrote "One Kind Of Love" with Brian and I wanted to make sure I was playing the string parts correctly and to his liking.  We also touched on one of my favorites - "She's Not The Little Girl I Once Knew", though we never actually performed it. 

There were a number of things that made this assignment particularly challenging:

1. I had to learn songs from Brian's fine new CD No Pier Pressure that I was completely unfamiliar with from a performance standpoint.  

2. Several songs that I had played thousands of times were now in "new" keys such as "Sloop John B" (lowered a half step from the key of A to Ab), the very intricate "Heroes & Villains" (lowered a half step from D to Db) and "Then I Kissed Her" (raised a half step from C to C#). 

3. I had to learn all of Darian's vocal parts for over 30 songs and "unlearn" all the vocal parts I was accustomed to singing in Al Jardine's band for the past 16 years.

4.  I was going to be using a Kurzweil keyboard with a variety of sounds and specific settings that were programmed into the keyboard every night such as "Wouldn't It Be Nice," "Good Vibrations," "California Girls" and more.  Songs were assigned numbers from three keyboard "banks" of sounds with corresponding "patches" that replicated the sounds everyone was accustomed to hearing on the recordings.  I had to quickly switch from one sound to another and thankfully, I always made it in time with no "accidents" ... though I had a few close calls on the first show which led to my writing notes on the three pages of notes I already had for the vocals that I kept in a 3-ring binder.

5. I would be using "in ears" instead of a monitor to hear the instrumental and vocal blend during the show.  I have been using stage monitors since the '60s, so it took a bit of getting used to.  The only other time I had used in ears extensively was on Brian's 2007 tour.

I had three months to prepare and I practiced at home just about every day between 10 am and 12 noon.  My efforts paid off in that I didn't have any catastrophes or "train wrecks" onstage during any of the shows.  It also helped that my bandmates were so positive, supportive and encouraging for the seven performances I did during the month of October.  Most of all, Brian gave me the inspiration to play and sing well.  He even suggested that I do a lead vocal on "Darlin'" along with Scott Bennett.  In his kind, gentle and soft-spoken way (with a dash of good humor), somehow his presence alone was enough to have me strive to do the very best I could on every song, every night.

I would work with Brian and his outstanding band anytime - maybe I'll get the call again someday.  
By the time Brian Wilson hits The Genesee Theatre, Billy Hinsche will have returned home to Las Vegas ... but what a GREAT bird's eye view of Life on the Road with a Living Legend ... Brian Wilson ... thanks, Billy for yet another EXCLUSIVE Forgotten Hits Experience!!!  (kk)
And here are a few pix, too ... thanks again, Billy!
 Billy and the Boys ...
(L-R): Al Jardine, Blondie Chaplin and Billy Hinsche
Front and Center:   Brian Wilson
The Brian Wilson Show ...
(sometimes it takes a village!!!)