Can you get any more all-American than “America’s Band” The Beach Boys gracing the Hollywood Bowl stage for their annual Fourth of July Spectacular? Nope!
While only two of the original Boys were present (Mike Love and Bruce Johnston), they were joined by longtime fan and frequent bandmate, actor John Stamos (Full House), as well as Sugar Ray singer Mark McGrath who seemed to be there to provide additional energy and some vocal support for Love.
To be fair, the Boys’ voices aren’t as strong as they once were, but you can’t fault someone for aging. The rest of their bandmates did the extra lifting, and a monitor display above the stage reminded us of the Beach Boys’ long and incredible history!
The Boys navigated 22 of their most popular hits, made that much more special with the addition of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra conducted by the genial Thomas Wilkins.
From their opening songs “Do it Again” and “Surfin’ Safari” to a medley of “God Only Knows,” “California Girls,” and “Help Me, Rhonda,” to name a few, these boys were dripping in nostalgia and clearly thrilled to be sharing their historic hits with the 17,000 seat Bowl. (For three consecutive nights!)
McGrath seemed to be having the time of his life, even though it was a little confusing as to why he was there. Stamos was ever-thankful for his forty-year relationship with the band and not only performed his own number (“Darlin’”) but also dazzled on the drums for a number of tunes.
To make the evening even more special, the Boys excused themselves close to night’s end so Wilkins could conduct a patriotic medley as glorious fireworks exploded above the iconic Bowl shell. Love and Company returned to close out the night with one of their most popular songs representing what they hoped everyone in attendance had that night. “Fun, Fun, Fun.”
All in all, it’s been 60 years since the Beach Boys first performed at The Hollywood Bowl, and the history and influence of the band were definitely on joyful display. The crowd was on their feet dancing throughout, the band was having a blast, and the Hollywood Orchestra was “catching a wave” by giving it all an epic spin.
“Good Vibrations,” indeed.