“This could be the last time, I don’t know”, explained the great bard Mick Jagger in his pop tune of the 1960s titled, oddly enough, The Last Time and in terms of seeing the great Brian Wilson in concert tonight probably will be the last time.
I am not in denial about the great man’s current musical ability for he was at his peak some 50 years ago when Pet Sounds was first released, but it is incredibly exciting to see him on this farewell tour of the UK.
I saw the Beach Boys, without Brian, for the first time back in 1975 at Wembley Stadium but this will be the fifth time I have seen the man in concert. His singing is not what it was, but then neither would yours if you once smoked 100 cigarettes a day, took industrial amounts of drugs and suffered from severe mental illness. The miracle is not his singing, but that he is still there at all.
A Wilson show these days is in many ways a worrying prospect. You can see how frail he is before the lights, often staring straight into the teleprompters and part of you is just hoping that he makes it through the show without fouling up. I’m rather happy when other members of the band take the lead, especially when those members include Al Jardine and Blondie Chaplin. There are also assorted Poi Dog Pondering and Wondermints people, all of whom are stellar players.
I am usually highly critical of bands and artists who only play the oldies but I shall make an exception for Brian, especially when he plays Pet Sounds in its entirety before returning to the California sunshine for a long served retirement.
Who would have believed Brian would be the last Wilson standing? Dennis drowned in 1983, the voice of God Only Knows, Carl, died of lung and brain cancer in 1998 and Brian, who once hated touring is still out there.
Can’t wait to see the old boy tonight. It will be fun, fun, fun.