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BRIAN STILL MAKES WAVES; Ex-Beach Boy is man of few words.. but songwriting genius is loud and clear.


BRIAN WILSON Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, September 1

Watching Brian Wilson perform there were moments when the experience became less of pop concert and more a case study in the vagaries of human behaviour.

If ever the phrase 'tortured genius' applied it's perfectly suited to the man who created the peerless 1966 classic Pet Sounds.

To hear the ex-Beach Boy dust off timeless pop gems such as a sublime In My Room or stunning Sail On Sailor was a rare privilege.

But inevitably, you wonder what emotions take hold of the 67-year-old Wilson when faced with an audience.

For the duration of the gig, he sat - robot like - behind a piano he never played, reading lyrics on autocue.

Brian waved his arms "conducting" his 10-piece band. Brian scratched his ear. Brian stared into space amid some delicious music crescendo.

Only his occasional smiles suggested he was enjoying the show every bit as much as we were.

One positively bizarre moment best summed up how the axis of Wilson's world perhaps spins on a different curve to the rest of the planet.

He ordered the crowd to join him in a sing-a-long of children's nursery rhyme Row Row Row Your Boat, only to forget the song's key and opening lyric.

But you could forgive him anything when he peeled back the music layers of a back catalogue best filed under the category breathtaking.

It would be ridiculous to expect Wilson's voice to retain the same resonance as the boy-genius who crafted Good Vibrations or Barbara Ann.

Like a Burt Bacharach or Moby, he overcame any vocal limitations by handing the baton to his splendid music ensemble whose eight-part harmonies revitalised classic hits Do It Again, Don't Worry Baby and Help Me Rhonda.

It would be easy for Wilson to merely rely on past glories.More recent compositions such as Your Imagination and the pairing of Midnight's Another Day and Going Home - from 2008 album, That Lucky Old Sun - indicated creative juices are still in full flow.

If there was one moment which summed up how his songwriting has defined the craft it was his introduction which said: "I guarantee you'll give me a standing ovation after hearing this."

The waves of applause which followed God Only Knows were scant reward for the musical riches proffered.

I don't profess to know what makes Brian Wilson tick.But just to be in the company of true genius - with all his idiosyncrasies - was an honour.


GOOD VIBRATIONS& Brian wowed the crowd with old favourites and new tracks
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Sep 6, 2009
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