Live Review: The Beach Boys @ EKU Center for the Arts, Richmond KY (10/16)

IMG_0129I compared The Beach Boys in concert to Jerry Seinfeld on LFI Radio yesterday. I should explain.

Seinfeld’s show still does well today because the expectations match who Jerry Seinfeld still is. In his prime, he was a master observer. He could pick apart any mundane everyday interaction and turn it into a five minute bit. It turns out that ability doesn’t fade with age because he’s still selling out shows at a rate uncommon for the typical aging comedian.

That seemed a lot like The Beach Boys to me. They were never a band that needed to set the stage on fire with antics like breaking guitars or stage diving to please their crowd. The Beach Boys could settle into their most relaxing button down and harmonize with thousands going wild in return. That seemed like a skill that would not fade over time to me.

So are The Beach Boys the live music Jerry Seinfeld? They’re pretty close.

The band was welcomed with a boom of applause as they took the stage at the EKU Center, and they were all smiles waving to the crowd. They stepped right into a five song medley of classics to set the mood – everyone had just hopped into a top down convertible going toward the nearest hangout.

Maybe more surprising than the band was the crowd in attendance. It was generally the crowd you expected: 40+ age couples looking for a night on the town. Everyone was dressed proper, and you could hear grumblings about concert T-shirt prices while waiting in line. This was not the youngest crowd I’ve been apart of this year.

I didn’t expect much from the crowd given the seated theater venue, but I’ll give these folks credit, they didn’t show up to sit. People stood throughout the show dancing along the moment The Beach Boys hit their first note together. These people even blew up beach balls and hit them around the audience; this shocked me. Suddenly a Beach Boys concert in a seated theater at 7:30 p.m. looked like Forecastle Festival.

As for the band, they were as playful as ever. The Beach Boys are still the no-worries band you would hope for, often joking and playing off of one another as the show progressed. In between songs, Mike Love asked everyone to take out their cell phones to shine as lights. Oh no, not lighters. This made me chuckle. It felt like a subtle “F you, we’re not old” power move.

Has the band lost a step? I think that’s fair to say. They may not sing out together as brightly as they once did, but the harmonies sound just about as good as ever. It certainly was not the decline I would have feared from most bands at this age. The Beach Boys are clear veterans and there was something special about the way that crowd connected with them.

So maybe it’s not bad to be old. Even when you’re not running at your fastest pace, that crowd proved to me you can still walk the walk. They brought their A-game when I thought there would frankly be no game at all. So what’s the moral of the story? Not every band can be Jerry Seinfeld, but anyone would be lucky to be The Beach Boys.

Check out more photos from the concert here.

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