Brian Wilson Bestival 2011

-> iwradio.co.uk
Friday is opened on the mainstage by Island band Naked Indians. They're not actually Indians and despite a promise at the audition, they don't get naked either. Bestival regulars Beardyman and Kitty Daisy and Lewis are next, then it's "California Girls” and here's Brian Wilson, a man responsible for some of the finest melodies known to pop, playing at Robin Hill. It's the first pinch-yourself moment of the weekend and a slightly awkward one. Brian is an uncomfortable stage presence, sat behind a keyboard that he occasionally plays and a screen that may or not hold an autocue. As a performer Brian is elsewhere at times, distracted. The band is marvellous, showing the music the love and attention that Brian's tunes deserve.

"God Only Knows" is introduced as a love song, although it's an odd one (he may not always love her, she might leave him). I put my arm around my wife as that gorgeous intro rings out, reproduced immaculately by The Wondermints. Then, Brian sings, in a voice cracked and stilted. His delivery gives this performance a whole new level of poignancy and vulnerability. He's given the world some beautiful music and been through so much personally that it's wonderful that he's here this afternoon. I hope he enjoyed performing for us as much as the crowd enjoyed watching him. The sustained applause after "God Only Knows" could have made a standing ovation but the drummer counts us in to the next tune. We get "Heroes And Vilians", "Good Vibrations" and then a return to the stage and Brian says "let's rock". Someone gives him a bass guitar which he barely plays and we have "Fun, Fun, Fun" and "Surfin' USA" to finish. We won't see his like again.

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