Beach Boys legend Brian Wilson recently closed out two incredible extended weekends of live music at Live From Times Square.
During a drizzly Sunday afternoon, music fans arrived in their droves into the heart of Newcastle City Centre each armed with their umbrellas in one hand and their beverage of choice in the other.
It wouldn’t be a British outdoor summer festival without a little bit of rain, but the good thing about festival goers is that they are resilient, they are used to it and they don’t care – they are just there to have a good time irrespective of the circumstances. A six band bill being the order of the day.
The first half of the event showcased the best of the North East music scene as The Lake Poets kicked off the proceedings before country outfit Cattle and Cane added a touch of Nashville by way of Teesside to the occasion.
Newcastle based five piece Lanterns on the Lake followed with their unique brand of violin infused and beautifully intricate indie rock. This trio of fine local artists proved to be the perfect aperitif for the main course to come.
Having flown in from Detroit to perform at the festival, Martha Reeves and the Vandellas were just what was needed on such an inclement day. The Rock and Roll Hall of Famers brought with them in tow a set packed full of soul hits from throughout their extensive career. Reeves performed classics like “Jimmy Mack” and “Nowhere To Run”, whilst simultaneously creating her very own “Heatwave” on Tyneside, which was, of course, included in the set.
Martha was joined on stage by two of the original Vandellas – Lois Reeves and Delphine Reeves, who each sound incredible throughout. Donning her feather head dress Reeves closed out their set with the chart topping Billboard hit “Dancing in the Street”. Martha Reeves and the Vandellas were the perfect act to weather Sunday afternoon’s rain storm.
Following a recent sold out show at the O2 Academy Newcastle, Bluesman Seasick Steve returned to the North East this weekend and picked up where Martha Reeves left off. Armed with an assortment of custom built guitars and accompanied only by powerhouse drummer Dan Magnusson, Seasick thoroughly entertained the crowd with his honest brand of groove heavy country blues.
Seasick toasted Newcastle United’s win the same day by quaffing wine straight from the bottle, before he serenaded a lucky lady from the audience during his heartfelt rendition of “Walkin’ Man”, which slowed down the proceedings somewhat. Tracks like “You Can’t Teach An Old Dog New Tricks” also conjured up images of the great bluesmen of yore like RL Burnside.
Seasick closed out his set with a triple whammy of fan favourites that included “Started Out With Nothing”, swamp rock number “Can You Cook” and the incredibly lively “Thunderbird”. The duo left the stage to rapturous applause from the Geordie faithful.
Brian Wilson topped the bill as The Beach Boys legend brought his UK tour to a close in Newcastle, with a performance that was reflective of his whole career. Accompanied by a world class ensemble of musicians that included former Beach Boys Al Jardine and Blondie Chaplin, Wilson kicked off the show with an assortment of Greatest Hits that included the likes of “California Girls”, “I Get Around” and the doo whop number “Surfer Girl”.
These tracks set the scene for the main event, a performance of Pet Sounds in full for the last time ever in the UK. Widely regarded as one of the most influential albums in music history, The Beach Boys seminal record celebrated its 50th-anniversary last year. Upon its release, the album soared to number 2 in the UK official chart where it stayed inside of the top 10 for almost 6 months. The album was largely produced, arranged, written and composed by Brian Wilson.
The opening notes of “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” signalled the start of the album and were enough to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. Vocal duties throughout were shared between Wilson and Al Jardine, with a lot of the higher notes being taken by Matt Jardine who sounded superb throughout.
From the ethereal “You Still Believe In Me” and “Don’t Talk (Put Your Head On My Shoulder)” through to the flip side of the album as Jardine puts it and the classic tear jerker “God Only Knows”, song after song is greeted with an ovation.
Matt Jardine and Brian Wilson shared vocal duties on “I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times”, before the instrumental title track and “Caroline, No” closed out the Pet Sounds segment of the show.
The 27 song marathon set was brought to a close with a whole raft of up tempo Beach Boys favourites that had the crowd singing and dancing along from the off. These included “Good Vibrations”, “Barbara Ann”, “Surfin’ USA” and “Fun, Fun, Fun”, to name but a few.
To hear this timeless classic album come to life and performed live as it was intended to be heard by its creator was nothing but a rare treat and a perfect finale to the Live From Times Square outdoor concert series. We look forward to more of what is to come from this exciting event next year.
Event Date: 06-Aug-2017