Sunday, May 29, 2005

SMiLE Live!

In a featurette on the new Brian Wilson presents SMiLE Live dvd, Brian says that he "was born scared". Well let me tell you, after viewing the performance of this instant classic, you've got absolutely nothing to be scared of. If you let it, this show(filmed in L.A in the fall of 2004) will take you on a journey that is only limited to the boundries of your imagination. An aural orgasm is the best way to describe this disc. With its crystal clear audio(including 5.1 mix) and its amazing array of colors, you will need no chemical assistance whatsoever to reach total nirvana. With camera shots so close you can see every nook and valley of the aging, yet quite spirited, Wilson. With facial genstures and hand movements reminiscent of a young schoolboy, Brian guides his band of almost 2 dozen through a symphonic journey that surpasses even the heralded Pet Sounds. And speaking of the band...having been lucky enough to see this superb band live in concert myself three times, I can say without a doubt, this has got to be the finest collection of backing musicians I have EVER had the pleasure to witness. With assistance from the Stockholm Strings, the band, many of them multi-instumentalists, recreate the Beach Boys harmonic blend with masterful precision. The backbone of the group consists of members from the Los Angeles based Wondermints and are beautifully suplemented by Jeffrey Foskett(aka the CEO of falsetto). The sheer giddy emotion that is evident on each band members face is wonderfully infectious. They are acutely aware of the historical importance of this recording and it comes through with every note that is played on stage. And the normally "hipster" LA crowd is more that happy to show their joy as well, with standing ovations after each movement(and sometimes in the middle of them!). Durning the first few minutes, it obvious Brian is aware of the cameras recording the event, but he soon relaxes and gives the performance his undivided attention accented by nods of appoval to specific passages or band members as he sees fit. My only complain is with the overcaffeinated director who has way too many camera angles at his disposal. I feel a more organic feel could have been produced. But as far as Brian and band are concerned, I can hardly express the emotion that overcame me when watching this performance. Delight, sadness, joy, wonder, longing, peace. Do yourself a favor and go and buy this NOW! A splendid time is guaranteed for all...

And that's just the second disc! The first contains a superb documentary which aired last year on Showtime entitled, Beautiful Dreamer: Brian Wilson & The Story Of SMiLE. A unique telling of the backstory which led up to the original SMiLE sessions back in 65-66. With interviews from many of Brian's closest friends and family members, the heartbreak and turmoil experienced by all those surrounding the original sessions is expressed and analyzed to an amazing degree. Of course there are magically intimate stories contained as well. Such as the time Brian commissioned the construction of a harem tent inside his house so they could have hash parties inside the pillow laden structure. But when Brian is asked what it was used for, he innocently replies "to eat sandwiches." With rehearsal footage from 2003 interspliced between interviews and classic footage, this is the definative story of SMilE. Other highlights include, Brian's sheepish backstage meeting with Sir Paul McCartney prior to the premier performance and the emotion that overtakes lyricist Parks Van Dyke at its conclusion.

I think I'm gonna book a flight for the fall East Coast tour right now!


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