PHOTOS: Brian Wilson, Al Jardine had a mini Beach Boys reunion at the Gaillard Center last night

God Only Knows

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Last night, the Gaillard Center proved itself a remarkable venue in both sight and sound when the Beach Boys co-founders Brian Wilson and Al Jardine lit up the new stage with their 12-piece band and radiant vocal harmonies.

TIM EDGAR
  • Tim Edgar
A dramatic velvet curtain backdropped the show, and band leader Paul Von Mertens described the stunning venue, with its apricot color scheme and tiered balconies, as being reminiscent of the Vienna Opera House. 

Half an hour before the show, when the venue would fill for the sounds of Brian Wilson and his band - TIM EDGAR
  • Tim Edgar
  • Half an hour before the show, when the venue would fill for the sounds of Brian Wilson and his band

Blondie Chaplin, who was a Beach Boy back in the ’70s on albums like Carl and the Passions – "So Tough" and Holland, also performed. Last night, he shined in leading the band in "Sail Away," which he also sang, along with Jardine, on Wilson's new album No Pier Pressure, "Wild Honey, off 1967's Wild Honey, and "Sail On, Sailor," which he also sang lead vocals for on the track's original recording in 1972. 

TIM EDGAR
  • Tim Edgar

The concert opened with the complex, angelic harmonies of "Our Prayer" before segueing into "Heroes and Villains," two songs that left the audience nothing short of amazed and excited about what was to come. The set was only an hour-and-a-half-long in total as Wilson and company quickly but beautifully cranked out the Beach Boys hits, some more obscure tracks, and newer Brian Wilson songs. The encore alone — "All Summer Long," "Help Me Rhonda," "Barbara Ann," "Surfing USA," "Fun, Fun, Fun," and "Love and Mercy" — was worth the hefty ticket price. 

TIM EDGAR
  • Tim Edgar

Al Jardine's son Matt Jardine, who sang lead vocals in songs like "Don't Worry Baby" and "Wouldn't It Be Nice," could have been young Brian Wilson himself with his pitch-perfect falsetto. And Jardine Senior, who led the troupe in tracks like No Pier Pressure's "The Right Time," sounded like the same young man from the 1960s. As for Wilson, sometimes he sang lead, sometimes he sang backup, and sometimes he played his piano, but he was always present, even explaining the meaning behind several tracks — like "God Only Knows." 

TIM EDGAR
  • Tim Edgar

Another show highlight hit home locally when percussionist/vocalist Nelson Bragg gave a shoutout to Charleston's own A Fragile Tomorrow, whose latest LP Make Me Over came out this week. And before the concert, showgoers could hear "Forever" playing from the Explorers Club, the very Beach Boys-esque band with Charleston roots. Frontman Jason Brewer says they've been doing that on the Brian Wilson tour all summer long. 

I had the rare opportunity to visit with the legends Brian Wilson, Al Jardine, and Blondie Chaplin backstage and snap some photographs (and Blondie even asked me to hold his drink!). Enjoy this intimate look at an impressive venue as well as the performance by one of the very best composers of the past century and his magnificent band. For the full setlist, keep scrolling.

Moments before the magic
  • Moments before the magic

The man himself in his recliner, which goes with him on tour - TIM EDGAR
  • Tim Edgar
  • The man himself in his recliner, which goes with him on tour

Backstage with Brian Wilson and Al Jardine before the concert - TIM EDGAR
  • Tim Edgar
  • Backstage with Brian Wilson and Al Jardine before the concert
Brian Wilson and crew take to the stage - TIM EDGAR
  • Tim Edgar
  • Brian Wilson and crew take to the stage
The rhythm section and more - TIM EDGAR
  • Tim Edgar
  • The rhythm section and more
Al Jardine - TIM EDGAR
  • Tim Edgar
  • Al Jardine
TIM EDGAR
  • Tim Edgar

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TIM EDGAR
  • Tim Edgar


TIM EDGAR
  • Tim Edgar

TIM EDGAR
  • Tim Edgar

TIM EDGAR
  • Tim Edgar


TIM EDGAR
  • Tim Edgar

The setlist from the Brian Wilson, Al Jardine Oct. 20, 2015 performance at the Gaillard Center: 

Our Prayer —> Heroes and Villains 
California Girls
Dance, Dance, Dance
Shut Down 
Little Deuce Coupe
I Get Around
You're So Good to Me
Then I Kissed Her 
California Saga
In My Room
Surfer Girl 
Don't Worry Baby
One Kind of Love 
Sail Away
Wild Honey 
Sail On Sailor 
Darlin'
She Knows Me Too Well 
Surf's Up
The Right Time
Wouldn't It Be Nice 
Sloop John B
God Only Knows
Good Vibrations

Encore: 

All Summer Long
Barbara Ann
Surfing USA
Fun, Fun, Fun
Love and Mercy


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