Star-Bulletin Features

Friday, May 21, 1999

Still givin’ good vibrations


Bullet Where: Blaisdell Arena
Bullet When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday
Bullet Admission: $25 and $35 reserved
Bullet Call: 526-4400 for tickets; 591-2211 for information

By Tim Ryan


BEACH Boys' music is "Fun, Fun, Fun." The band isn't content to stage some nostalgic, "oldies-but-goodies" show. That was evident Wednesday when the band -- nine strong now -- played a shortened version of tomorrow night's Blaisdell show at a private corporate party in West Oahu.

The show featured 24 songs -- 21 major hits and "Sherry," "Why Do Fools Fall in Love," and the classic "Duke of Earl." (Tomorrow's show will have at least five more songs.)

Sure, the Beach Boys have been around 37 years, and sure, some key members are missing -- Carl and Dennis Wilson are dead; Al Jardine is touring with his own band; and Brian Wilson hasn't returned to the band -- but the guts, heart and soul of the Beach Boys is not only alive but thriving.

"Dr." Mike Love, lead singer and the band's charismatic leader; keyboardist Bruce Johnston (who joined the group in 1964); guitarist Dave Marks (member since 1962); and drummer of 31 years, Mike Kowalski, make up the band.

One concert-goer not born when "Help Me Rhonda" was recorded said to anyone within earshot, "The Beach Boys are timeless!"

By the middle of song one, "California Girls," the youngish, conservatively dressed business crowd of about 600 were on their feet dancing. When the show ended 90 minutes later, the crowd was still twisting, doing the "Surfer's Stomp" and something that looked like the Watusi.

Love and Johnston treated their ageless mid-'60s hits like "Catch A Wave," "Surfer Girl," "Little Deuce Coupe," "Surfin' Safari" and "Surfing USA" with a fresh, respectful, even electrifying approach, then ignited lyrically on "California Girls." Subtle vocal touches enhanced the plea that all women in the world should be "California Girls," leaving the audience momentarily silent.

Special attention was given to highly requested songs "Good Vibrations," "Kokomo" and "Help Me Rhonda." The recorded version of "Vibe" was pretty heavily orchestrated, but nothing was missing in this live version. And if anyone hadn't been seduced into dancing by the time "Kokomo" was over, "Rhonda" put everyone into the happy-feet stage, including security staff and waiters.

A must mention is Kowalski, whose driving rhythms set the tone. He's one of the best drummers around and proved it emphatically.

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