Beach Boys catch a wave in T.O.

Brian Wilson was at the piano as the Beach Boys kicked off their fiftieth summer of surf sounds of...

Brian Wilson was at the piano as the Beach Boys kicked off their fiftieth summer of surf sounds of the Beach Boys arrived at the Molson Amphitheatre on Tuesday, June 19, 2012. (Jack Boland/QMI Agency)

Jane Stevenson, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:47 AM ET

TORONTO - I’ll admit I thought I had become immune to the charms of those harmony-loving, California girls-surf-sun-beach-and-classic-car-worshipping music gods known as The Beach Boys.

Especially on their 50th anniversary tour and with a 48-song set list.

Too nostalgic, too old, too long, and not enough to keep me interested for three hours. I thought, wrongly it turns out.

There was something infectiously sweet, fun and compelling about the group, who played the Molson Canadian Amphitheatre on a sweltering Tuesday night, reuniting with wayward genius Brian Wilson to commemorate a half-century as a band.

Wilson has been touring on his own for the last 15 years with a group of nine supporting singer-musicians who are currently the backup band on the reunion trek.

The 69-year-old Wilson - who got the first standing ovation of the night as he wandered out to a white piano at the side of the stage - joined Beach Boys frontman and his cousin Mike Love, rhythm guitarist-vocalist Al Jardine, 69, keyboardist-vocalist Bruce Johnston, 69 and lead guitarist -vocalist David Marks, 63 - for close to three hours of solid hits plus new songs from their latest album, That’s Why God Made The Radio.

The new disc, as Love pointed out, debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard Top 200 album charts.

Not bad for a bunch of senior citizens.

“Right now we’d like to take an intermission followed by a nap,” joked Love just six songs after the group kicked the evening off with Do It Again.

He added more seriously, “It’s great to be be back in Canada.”

It was also cool that Wilson’s younger brothers and founding members lead vocalist-guitarist Carl and drummer Dennis Wilson, who died from cancer in 1998 and drowned in 1983, respectively, were remembered during the marathon night of music.

They both were featured singing their songs, Forever, and God Only Knows, as the evening progressed in videos played on a small screen on the stage, that was pretty minimalist save for a couple of surfboards.

Otherwise, the group raced through the hits - 27 songs in the first hour and 15 minute set before a 20 minute intermission - that led to a 21-song second set that stretched an hour and 10 minutes.

Highlights proved to be a mix of oldies like Barbara Ann (which finally saw Wilson play bass for the first time in the night) along with new tunes, Isn’t It Time (which got the first audience clap-a-long of the night) and the title track from That’s Why God Made The Radio.

“I would watch more hockey if there were cheerleaders,” joked Love by way of introducing Be True To Your School.

But the true show standouts proved to Wilson’s more challenging, thoughtful work that dominated the second set which began with the four other members gathered around his piano singing Add Some Music To your Day, Sloop John B, Wouldn’t It Be Nice, I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times, Sail on Sailor, In My Room and his masterpiece, Good Vibrations.

It helped too that I had Canadian music legend and Beach Boys booster Andy Kim as my seatmate, with him getting name checked twice from the stage throughout the show.

“Their music is good medicine,” Kim said to me and it was hard to argue with all the smiling faces around me, including his.

SET LIST:

Do It Again

Little Honda

Catch a Wave

Hawaii

Don’t Back Down

Surfin’ Safari

Surfer Girl

Wendy

Marcella

Then I Kissed Her

Kiss Me, Baby

Getcha Back

Why Do Fools Fall in Love

When I Grow Up (to Be a Man)

Darlin’

Disney Girls

Please Let Me Wonder

Isn’t It Time

It’s OK

California Saga: California

Cotton Fields

Be True to Your School

Don’t Worry Baby

Little Deuce Coupe

409

Shut Down

I Get Around

INTERMISSION

Add Some Music to Your Day

Heroes and Villains

Sloop John B

Wouldn’t It Be Nice

I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times

Sail on, Sailor

All This Is That

That’s Why God Made the Radio

In My Room

Forever

God Only Knows

Good Vibrations

California Girls

All Summer Long

Help Me, Rhonda

Rock and Roll Music

Do You Wanna Dance?

Surfin’ USA

ENCORE:

Kokomo

Barbara Ann

Fun, Fun, Fun


Photos