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Thursday, October 16, 2003


Special live performances by

Performing to benefit The Carl Wilson Foundation

By Darryl Morden

Brian Wilson and band
Brian Wilson (on piano) and band
photo copyright ©2003, Mike Malone

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) -- As Carl Wilson might have said, it was a very, very, very, very good night.

Brian Wilson once again led an evening's tribute in honor of his youngest brother, who died five years ago from cancer, with almost $450,000 in proceeds benefiting the Carl Wilson Foundation, established by Carl's sons, Justyn and Jonah. Heart's Ann and Nancy Wilson (no family relation there) stepped in at the last minute to replace an apparently ailing Elton John, who also had been scheduled to appear at the [sixth] annual benefit show.

Jonah and Justyn WilsonJonah and Justyn Wilson
photo copyright ©2003, Mike Malone

Thursday's event at UCLA's Royce Hall found Brian Wilson and his band in top form; the band, which includes members of Los Angeles' own Wondermints, has rarely sounded better, delivering the ultimate in feel-good sounds. Wilson, sometimes a wild card, was full of enthusiasm, even leading the audience in a quick singalong of "Row, Row, Row Your Boat," while his voice rarely cracked or strayed too far from the songs. Seated at a keyboard that was more of a prop, he snapped his fingers and gestured and conducted with his hands.

The headlining set was filled with Beach Boys classics, ranging from the enduring anthem of "California Girls" to the sweet daydream bounce of "Wouldn't It Be Nice" to the rockalong nostalgia of "Do It Again." There were multipart choral harmonies galore for "Sloop John B" and a stunning "Heroes and Villains," preceded by a breathtaking a cappella opening.

Wilson also previewed his long-awaited new studio album, due in January, with new songs that included "Soul Searchin'," delivered with piano triplets and accented by R&B sax, and "City Blues," which will feature Eric Clapton on the studio version.

The encore included an ensemble of the night's various performers, along with Brian's daughter Carnie, longtime family friend and one-time Beach Boy Billy Hinsche, and lucky raffle-ticket winners from the audience, all joining in for "Good Vibrations," "Help Me Rhonda," "Surfin' U.S.A.," and "Fun, Fun, Fun," that final number describing the night for a good cause.

Ann and Nancy Wilson's spot, leading off the latter half of the show, featured their own delicate "Dog and Butterfly," as well as Nancy on lead vocal and autoharp for a lovely version of Harry Nilsson's "Lifelines," and the Wondermints joining the sisters for an evocative take on the Beach Boys' "'Til I Die," from the Surf's Up album.

Nancy and Ann Wilson of Heart
Heart's Nancy (left) and Ann Wilson
photo copyright ©2003, Mike Malone

Sugar Ray
Sugar Ray with Mark McGrath (front)
photo copyright ©2003, Mike Malone

The first half of the evening included a short performance from Sugar Ray, with singer Mark McGrath, self-deprecating as always to undercut his pinup image by playing the goofball during the short burst of the band's hits "When It's Over," "Every Morning," and "Fly."

In Bloom, the alt-rock trio featuring Justyn Wilson on guitar and cousin Carl B. Wilson, Dennis' son, on drums and bassist Mario Tucker, was the first band to play.

Films also were screened sharing recollections of Carl Wilson from family and friends and looking at the foundation's work, which this year will benefit the Musicians' Assistance Program, the Silver Lining Foundation for children who have cancer, the Lester Petrillo Memorial Fund for Disabled Musicians, and City of Hope, where Carl Wilson once performed. His sons announced the building of [a consultation room in] a new wing in the hospital in his name.

Reprinted from Reuters
October 19, 2003


By Monica Armstrong

If there ever were a man who had truly "good vibrations," it was Carl Wilson. Those fans who knew more about the music than the man, found that out on Thursday, at the tribute concert for the former lead guitarist of the Beach Boys. Carl died of cancer in 1998, and every year since then, friends and fans have come together to honor the man who had the voice of an angel and to raise money for cancer research.

The benefit concert, hosted by Nancy O'Dell of Access Hollywood, opened with a moving video tribute to Carl, including pieces of old home movies, concert recordings, interviews -- and lots and lots of praise for Carl. Family members, fellow musicians, and others spoke with much love and admiration about Carl's gentleness, sincerity, spirituality, and sense of humor. As former manager, Jerry Schilling, simply put it, "Carl Wilson made me a better person."

In BloomIn Bloom
photo copyright ©2003, Mike Malone

First to perform was In Bloom, the power trio led by Carl's younger son, Justyn. His cousin Carl Benton Wilson and friend Mario Tucker complete the guitar-driven group, whose influences come more from bands like Nirvana, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Sublime than the bouncy melodies and layered harmonies of the Beach Boys. Justyn dedicated their first song, "Under God," to his dad. The lyrics were borne of his father's philosophies of giving one's best and loving each other -- "all just the same."

Next in line was Sugar Ray, whose animated lead singer, Mark McGrath (a confessed "huge Beach Boys fan"), thrilled the audience by taking his music to the aisles and dancing with at least one very lucky woman. The group played three of their hits -- "When It's Over," "Every Morning," and "Fly."

The rockin' sisters of Heart took the stage after intermission, as Ann belted out favorites like, "Alone" and "Dog and Butterfly." They also played some new material that you may be able to hear on their upcoming CD (currently being recorded in Seattle).

Finally, the music that everyone was waiting for began as Brian Wilson brought new life to old Beach Boy favorites with his 10-member band, [which includes] the Wondermints [and others]. Although Brian may not have quite the vocal range he once did, he was still able to get people out of their seats to dance and clap along with songs like "Good Vibrations," "Wouldn't It Be Nice," "I Get Around," and "Help Me, Rhonda."

All together for the finale, (from left to right) Nancy Wilson, Michael Wilson, Gage Wilson, Carl B. Wilson, Justyn Wilson, Stan Frazer (Sugar Ray) and Jeff Foskett.
photo copyright ©2003, Mike Malone

The almost 1800 people that filled the auditorium were temporarily transported to the surf-n-sun days that may forever be associated with the music of the Beach Boys. And, in exchange, many thousands of dollars were raised to help fight the disease that stole a beautiful man from all of us.

Reprinted from Socal
October, 2003




Updated on October 30, 2003
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