Beach Boys seduce Rays fans with Music
Could that really be true? Can they really be ready to start their 50th Anniversary Tour in 2011? And can I really be this darn old, but feel so young the minute they begin to play their harmony-induced So Cal classics? It is actually a bit funny that I always seem to go through a time machine and transform into my 20’s every time I hear one of the bands that blared from my old 1969 Camaro’s AM/FM radio in my youth.
The thought of the band again coming into Tampa Bay and making me remember countless weekend strolls and drives up and down Mandalay Avenue and Gulfview Blvd. on Clearwater Beach, Florida with the rag top down and my trusty side kick Hansel, my black German Sheperd in the passenger seat checking out the girls and loving the summer nights. During those cruises, one of my favorite cassette tapes was the Beach Boys 1980 album”Keeping the Summer Alive”
And with the forever young voice of Mike Love and the Beach Boys, the trip down memory lane was going to be perfect for me last Saturday night. Not withstanding, the Rays loss for only the second time in 32 concerts did put a bit of a bummer on the night, but the minute the band began to play those surfer classics, all was beginning to become right in the world again.
The concert was a night of reliving some of my old beach cruising magic, and remembering those lazy days of summer in my 20’s. Now I know a majority of the people reading my blogs were not even alive when the Beach Boy first formed in 1961 out in Hawthorne, California, but the music is so borderless that even Rolling Stone magazine has proclaimed the Beach Boys “America’s Band.” They told yarns of the surreal world of the surfers and car jockeys that was the culture in South California in the 1960’s.
And everyone, no matter what you age can remember and even sing some of the lyrics of many of their tunes. Considering the band ended up with 36 US Top 40 hits along with 56 Top 100 hits, they are the best selling American band in history. And who has not heard many of their songs in classic movies or even television as a backdrop to the beach scenes. They might not be the same members that originally hit the stage back in 1961, but they still have the same energy and envoke the same thrill they did years ago when i saw them in concert.
Even if the band doesn’t hit the same high notes as in their earlier years, this band still brings back a great flood of emotions and memories when they begin to sing their songs. And the awesome sight of seeing three and sometimes four generations of family dancing and singing their songs speaks volumes to their longevity. Seriously, I saw grandparents holding small infants and dancing with them in their arms in the aisle of the Trop that night, and seeing young and old dancing closely to their slow dance classics just reminded you of those wild dances and proms of our youth.
I know the pictures do not do justice to the sights and sounds going on all over the Trop that night, but the music bouncing off the back walls and cascading down to our ears was a sweet ambrosia that all of us hungered to taste again. The music took all of us to a place some of us had not been in a long time, but left everyone with a smile.
Classic was the moment near the end of the concert when Love thanked the crowd for the experience, then his original band mate Bruce Johnston told him they had to have at least two more songs in them. They then erupted into “Barbara Ann” and “FUn, Fun, Fun”. Even as I was heading for the exits of the stadium, some fans were still singing the songs and dancing in the breezeways under the stadium.
Funny, I even went searching on my FM radio on the way home hoping to catch a Beach Boys classic song on the radio before I hit my driveway. I was amazed when less than five minutes later the song ” Sloop John B”, which was recorded back in 1965 began to play over the speakers. I was quickly transcended to a time when I used to sail on a small catamaran on the Gulf of Mexico with my small tape recorder strapped to the mast.
But that is the gift that band like the Beach Boys give us every time we hear them. They take us back to times and memories that sit close to us, and remind us of easier time, or less stressful moments in our lives. Bands like this provide a great example of just how great some of that music in the earlier years of rock and roll can become iconic.
Even the classic “Kokomo” can be heard at any cruise ship or travel agency on the Musik now, but always bring us back to a sandy white beach, and a loud shirt or shorts. But that is the gift, the ultimate compliment to the band and our culture if we hum a few bars, or even think of the beach culture for a moment while the song is playing.
I could almost fee the sand between my toes that night even though I was sitting in the box seats at a baseball stadium. I could imagine those hot, but breeze-filled nights cruising the beaches with my dog and some of those Beach Boys tunes strumming in my ears. All I was missing was an exotic drink with a umbrella in it.
( I do have more photos of all of the Rays Sat. Night Concerts this season I stayed for on my Myspace Photo area. If you wanted to check out other pictures, just go to http://www.myspace.com/www.raysrenegade.com ).