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What makes a good blog? I think thematic consistency, a little exhibitionism, and honest writing. I can promise you the last one.

Most of my posts seem to be about music or politics. Some of them are funny. But all of them would love to hear a comment from you.

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I was born at a relatively young age. Growing up consumed the better part of my childhood. As a young man I chased a lot of girls. But they kept getting away. Then I got older and even slower, so I got married. I've lived in New York City almost since before I moved here. I summer in Manhattan, which is like New York City, but with more humidity.

Here's me, without baby, thinking big thoughts. (Actually, what I'm thinking is, "Hey, these aren't Pringles!") I think I look better with baby.

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SmiLE and the World Smiles With You...
Tuesday, October 12, 2004
So much to write about, and so little time... I just got home from seeing Brian Wilson's SmiLE tour at Carnegie Hall.

I am too tired to go into detail, and I didn't take notes, but it was like sex for your ears. (I remember my friend John's legendary comment on the way out of Pink Floyd doing the Wall at Nassau Coliseum in 1980: "My ears are happy.")

The band, including Wilson (who uses his piano basically as a prop and occasionally looks at his watch, perhaps because it is nice and shiny), numbers 19, including a horn and string section and notably featuring Jeff Foskett and the Wondermints.

The first set begins with the crew clustered, seated, in a semi-circle, unplugged-style, an acoustic guitar and minimal other instrumentation. Indeed the opening number is a capella-- "And Your Dreams Come True." Then "Surfer Girl," "Add Some Music to Your Day," "Good to My Baby," and a slew of others I didn't write down. Eventually the band is arrayed around the stage at various instruments-- the usual; glockenspiel, theramin, xylophone-- for "California Girls," Imagination," "Marcella," "Please Let Me Wonder," a couple from the "other" new solo release Brian put out this summer (don't buy it), tons more, and through it all the harmonies are angelic, remarkably evocative of the records, lush, and the Carnegie Hall acoustics are unreal.

The second set, of course, is the long-lost SmiLE album, played in its entirety. There are no words. If you don't know the story you can find it somewhere else, but essentially the album is a pop symphony in three movements. The first, about Americana, is anchored by "Heroes and Villains;" the second, about childhood (and the ages of man?), is anchored by "Surf's Up;" the final suite is about the four elements and is anchored by the closing "Good Vibrations." Along the way you get "Vega-tables," "Our Prayer," Cabinessense," "Wind Chimes," "Wonderful"-- as I say, sex for your ears. During the extended standing ovation that preceded the encore, bandleader Jeff Foskett introduced Brian's original lyricist Van Dyke Parks from the crowd.

The encores were fun, fun, fun-- "Barbara Ann," "Help Me Rhonda," "Fun Fun Fun," "I Get Around," a couple more like that. Then the band came back for one final number, the exquisite and by now inevitable "Love and Mercy" from Brian's 1988 comeback album. Which I'd have linked to, but the wife says its time for bed, which it is, and no more html tonight.

Democrat, republican, independent, here's something we can all agree on: see this tour if you can.


Posted by: --josh-- @ 11:59 PM  

At 10/17/2004 12:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...   

Right on. The Boston Orpheum show the next night was just as you describe, although Jeff Foskett was sick and had to sit out some songs. I'm still floating.

Best wishes,
Minty's brother

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