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Review: Brian Wilson does Pet Sounds in Elizabeth

Including the angelic chorus of "Our Prayer"



To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the release of Pet Sounds, Brian Wilson gathered 11 of the most talented musicians he knew. Throughout a number of classic Beach Boys hits and the front-to-back performance of the legendary album, these musicians threatened to steal the show from the veteran writer.

Fellow (and original) Beach Boy Al Jardine accompanied Wilson front and center with his guitar while Jardine’s son Matt took over the high notes Wilson is no longer able to do on songs like “You Still Believe In Me” and “Don’t Worry Baby.” Former Beach Boys member and long-time friend of the band, Blondie Chaplin stole the spotlight on straight-forward rockers like “Wild Honey” and “Sail On, Sailor,” and if he hadn’t spent the majority of the set off-stage, it would no longer have been Wilson’s show.

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Not that it was ever Wilson’s show. At his age, he chooses to put forth only as much effort as needed, oftentimes not even singing or playing the piano while letting the rest of the band lead the audience in celebration. Watching the 12 musicians on the stage blow through a variety of instruments to bring these songs to life is a unique experience all on its own, especially throughout the Pet Sounds portion of the show, where so much goes into such little intricacies.

But from the show-opening, angelic chorus of “Our Prayer,” Wilson and company made sure the audience knew they were in good hands. “Here’s the best song I ever wrote, and it’s called ‘God Only Knows,” Wilson gleefully said before starting off the fan favorite. The end of the song was met with a standing ovation. Two or three more standing ovations later, the audience should have likely convinced Wilson that every single song of the show was just as great and just as loved. 


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