On February 11, 2005, musician and humanitarian Brian Wilson was honored for his efforts both in and out of the studio. Every one knows Brian Wilson as one of the founders of the musical group the Beach Boys. He was well regarded as a composer, musician, and producer. Many may be un-aware of as his role as a philanthropic humanitarian.
Over the years, Wilson has used his time and talent to enhance causes for both his own personal interests as well as those of his contemporaries. He has supported the Carl Wilson Foundation for cancer research (his younger brother died from the disease in 1998), the Adopt-a-Minefield Benefit with Paul McCartney and Neal Young’s Bridge School Concert.
Musicares: A Tribute to Brian Wilson (2006) is a record of this honor. With performances by Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jeff Beck, Richie Sambora, Backstreet Boys, John Legend, Michael McDonald and others.
The evening starts off with the Red Hot Chili Peppers doing “I Get Around.” To me this was uninspiring. While Flea seemed ready to rock, Anthony Kiedis, I felt, was going through the motions and ready to get off the stage – which he did almost before the music stopped. They were never to be seen again.
Next was Richie Sambora with “City Blues.” Now we start rocking! This was followed by a great rendition of “Sail on Sailor” by Jamie Cullum with Fred Martin and the Levite Camp. A smooth sailing song turned gospel; it worked well.
Barenaked Ladies were up next to do the only non-Brian Wilson tune of the night. A song, appropriately called “Brian Wilson” with “Til I Die” folded in for good measure. John Legend did “I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times.” A soulful performance that by a great singer!
The Backstreet Boys then did “When I Grow Up To Be A Man” and turn in an absolutely brilliant performance with their great harmonies. This was one of the performances that would be worth the price of admission and I am not a Backstreet Boys fan by any stretch.
Shelby Lynn does a good version of “Surfer Girl” and then is followed up by Michael McDonald and Billy Preston doing “Don’t Worry Baby.” The song is well done and as always, the keyboard work of Billy Preston is wonderful. Michael McDonald screwed up the lyrics a little bit, but the vocal work in general was awesome.
Then, to me, one of the most inspiring performances came from guitar virtuoso Jeff Beck. He put on a clinic with his guitar playing. The first song was an almost complete instrumental of “Surf’s Up,” with some “Bygones” by Jeff Foskett. He then did a second song, “Surfin USA,” with Foskett doing vocals. Both were superb.
Earth, Wind and Fire took the stage to do “Don’t Talk (Put Your Head On My Shoulder).” This was not the EWF that I knew. There was no brass and the power just was not there for me. Darlene Love then did a great rendition of “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” to finish up the tribute portion of the show.
Then Brian Wilson came on stage to do “Heroes and Villains” and “Good Vibrations,” which both came about in wonderful Brian Wilson style. You could tell that he is well loved by his band from the looks and admiration that they show for him on stage.
The finale consists of “Fun, Fun, Fun” and “Love and Mercy” done by the entire cast sans Red Hot Chili Peppers. All in all, this entire DVD was a lot of fun to watch. I would recommend it for the Jeff Beck tracks alone. The rest of the quality performances should make this a must own for Brian Wilson and music fans alike.
MusicCares was established in 1989 by The National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, Inc., MusiCares provides a safety net of critical assistance for music people in times of need. MusiCares also focuses the resources and attention of the music industry on human service issues that directly impact the health and welfare of the music community.