Reviewed by Rebecca Sheriff
I must admit I went into the Beach Boys’ concert Wednesday night (Aug. 24) at BinghamtonUniversity’s Anderson Center with a few preconceived notions. My experience with the Beach Boys had been hearing my mom’s old LP when I was very young, and bits and pieces of their songs throughout the years on television (including commercials and the ’80s program Full House). So my expectation was to hear some mellow, vaguely familiar songs by a once popular band. I wasn’t expecting to be so captivated by the atmosphere and the music.
Arriving at the concert I was a little frazzled as the parking situation was quite difficult for those with limited mobility and limited knowledge of the university campus. However, I was immediately calmed after being seating by very helpful ushers. The summer night was breezy and cool, and the stage was inviting with plant life, surfboards and colorful lighting. The large crowd was enthusiastically participating in the experience, waving cell phones and glow sticks, and the Beach Boys were happily performing their classics with their signature harmonies and catchy melodies.
Some of the songs were, in fact, mellow, lending well to the breezy night and soothing curvey atmosphere of the Anderson Center. Other songs, however, were upbeat and fun in their simplicity. Almost every time a song started I found myself saying, “Oh yeah” as I recognized song after song, solidifying the true impact and legacy of the band. Songs such as “California Girls,” “Help me, Rhonda,” “Surfing USA,” “Barbara Ann” and “Good Vibrations” quickly came back to my memory. Mike Love, the original singer, seemed genuinely happy to be performing the timeless classics, dancing a bit on stage. Longtime keyboardist Bruce Johnston and the touring musicians perfectly captured the classic Beach Boys sound.