Beach Boys ready for harmonic convergence on tour, album

The Beach Boys
The Beach Boys are looking forward to their upcoming 50-date, 50th anniversary tour and have been in the studio recording a new album.

The sands of time can be cruel, sure, but sometimes they settle for wryly ironic. After years apart, the three surviving founding members of the Beach Boys will launch a 50-date, 50th anniversary tour in April and at every show they will ask the musical question, “Wouldn't it be nice if we were older?"

“It is weird," said Mike Love, who turns 71 next month, about singing those young man's lines from “Wouldn't It Be Nice." “We do another one, 'When I Grow up to Be a Man'—the opening is incredible, it's got fantastic harmonies—but yeah, it's written from the point of a young guy looking to the future and here we are, very much in that future."

For anyone who's followed the riptide history of the Beach Boys, this is a future that seemed very unlikely; after years of feuds and legal filings—mostly notably by Love, who sued to get his share of royalties—who would have expected Love, Brian Wilson and Al Jardine to be in harmony again? The trio are joined by two other longtime members, Bruce Johnston and David Marks, for the golden anniversary tour, which includes a June 2 stop at the Hollywood Bowl, a booking that is sand-packed with Southern California music history.

More than that, the reconstituted Beach Boys have also been in the studio at Ocean Way Recording on Sunset Boulevard—a site that was called United Western Recorders back when they recorded much of “Pet Sounds" there—and say that they are about halfway through a new album.

“We just had to make our minds up to do it," Wilson said. “It's a thrill, I like being with the guys. I didn't see them for a long, long time and then I've been seeing them recently because we're getting ready for our tour."

The world got a glimpse of the new old group Feb. 12 at the 54th Grammy Awards and the performance was a reminder that Wilson has an air of fragility around him and—despite his undisputed stature as sonic genius—his stage capabilities are limited, to say the least.

That may not matter much. The music of the Beach Boys is so soaked with nostalgia and affection that many fans will go to concerts just so they can sing the old songs. Gary Bongiovanni of Pollstar, the concert industry trade publication, said after years of knockoff tours (by groups that used the name but usually had only one Beach Boy member on stage) this real-deal edition of the group has sunny prospects.

“In many ways this is the group's first real tour in decades," Bongiovanni said. “This tour should be very successful if they don't get too greedy with the ticket price. Their Grammy appearance did put the band back in front of the public but it's hard to tell if anyone was put off by the obvious lip-synching."

Tickets to the Hollywood Bowl show are preselling on Ticketmaster for a relatively reasonable $40.50 to $170.60, and some VIP packages are sold out. Tickets go on sale at the Bowl box office on Sunday at 10 a.m.

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