Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Oh The Guilt: Passing On Brian Wilson's Tour

Here’s the way a rock fanatic works:

Earlier this summer, it was announced that Brian Wilson would be performing live at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa.

For those of you not familiar with what should be required knowledge of any rock ‘n roll fan, the Surf Ballroom is the last venue that Buddy Holly played. His airplane crashed outside of Clear Lake’s city limits after he performed there in 1959.

It still looks the same and it still continues to book bands there, despite the fact that the Clear Lake, Iowa’s population is a mere 10,000 residents.

Brian Wilson wasn’t on my bucket list.

Paul McCartney was.

So as the summer started with the intention of checking out Brian Wilson at this legendary venue, it ended when Paul McCartney announced that he was playing at another legendary venue.

And since Paul was on the bucket list-and since he was charging an arm and a leg for his show-the entire Brian Wilson performance was ditched.

Guilt began creeping in, particularly when Brian announced that this tour might be his last and that he’d probably retire from touring sometime soon.

I also began to consider how he created Pet Sounds, an album that McCartney voiced as one of his most influential recordings, the creative muse that prompted The Beatles Rubber Soul and Revolver concepts.

And since “The Beatles” name was derived from “The Crickets,” the band that supported Buddy Holly who last played at the Surf Ballroom, well then, maybe you can understand my rock ‘n roll dilemma.

Maybe you can tell that these rock and roll gods were expecting me to visit Brian Wilson’s performance too.

Yet it was not enough for me to invest five hours of windshield time (both ways) to make the drive to Clear Lake to see his performance.

The cost was an issue, and while ticket prices were modest, gas prices were not.

I waited until the very last minute, my cousin pumping me full of considerations at the moment of judgment.

“He’s not playing much Gerswin.”

“He’s doing a lot of Beach Boys.”

“The reviews of this tour have been good.”

Like a sap, I mowed the lawn instead.

I came up with a number of excuses, but the reality was Brian Wilson just wasn’t my bucket list.

And what sealed the deal for me was a review of a show a few weeks ago where the reviewer declared that the performance was great. He encouraged nobody to miss it. He also admitted that Brian Wilson shuffled on stage, sat in front of a keyboard, barely played that keyboard, and read the lyrics of the songs he created forty-odd years ago from a teleprompter.

In other words, I’d be paying not to see Brian Wilson, but a shell of him backed by an incredible band.

I had a problem with that.

I couldn’t justify adding to my depleted finances with a trip down memory lane, fronted by someone with limited capacities.

What I can justify is a purchase of the Smile re-issue when it comes out this year.

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