Brian Wilson and Jeff Beck
With over a hundred years of rock and roll experience with the two headlining musicians alone, the sold out audience at The Pearl Concert Theater in Las Vegas was in for a treat. Brian Wilson and Jeff Beck certainly did not disappoint.
It is an interesting pairing, seeing as the two come from vastly different rock and roll backgrounds. The 71-year-old Wilson coming from ’America’s band’ The Beach Boys and the 69-year-old Beck, a British guitarist who was in the group The Yardbirds (along with Eric Clapton and Jimmy page at varying points during the band’s tenure). Both still have plenty to offer with decades of hits and fantastic musicians backing them up.
The first part of the concert featured Brian Wilson, along with two of the founding members of The Beach Boys, Al Jardine and David Lee Marks. The audience was instantly engaged with the band’s opener "California Girls." Wilson’s vocals were a bit strained, but he managed to tough it out for the entire show.
The hits kept coming, with fun renditions of "Help Me Rhonda," "I Get Around," "Wouldn’t It Be Nice," "Sloop John B," "Good Vibrations" and "Fun Fun Fun." Perhaps the most moving tribute was when Wilson sang "God Only Knows" for his long deceased brother Carl. For me personally, hearing any of the tracks from their iconic album "Pet Sounds" was certainly a thrill. The audience enjoyed all 75 minutes of Wilson and his band.
For the second part of the show, legendary guitarist Jeff Beck took the stage. Age completely doesn’t matter as this soon to be septuagenarian continues to be the master at his craft. His interesting and complex instrumentals further displayed why Rolling Stone magazine ranked him as one of the top five guitarists of all time.
What was exciting to me was the fact that Beck surrounded himself with accomplished musicians in their own right, including Rhonda Smith on bass, Lizzie Ball on violin, Nicholas Meier on guitar and Jonathan Joseph on drums, each taking turns to show the audience what they can do. All of the instrumentals were great, but the highlights for me included Hendrix’s "Little Wing" and The Beatles’ "A Day In The Life."
Wilson and Beck united at the end, with the rest of their bands, to play two more Beach Boys classics "Barbara Ann" and "Surfin’ USA." Two rock worlds collide with the unmistakable Beach Boys harmonies combined with Jeff Beck’s electrifying guitar work.
A bit awkward? Perhaps. But does it work somehow? Absolutely. The only disappointment of the evening was the sound issues at the end of Wilson’s set as well as the finale. Still, the audience enjoyed the near three-hour concert with great enthusiasm.