Bye Bye Beach Boys
Beach Boys mastermind Brian Wilson began writing SMiLE in 1966 as the follow-up to his moody masterpiece Pet Sounds. The project met fierce resistance from his bandmates, forcing Wilson to abandon it as he suffered a nervous breakdown. In 2003, mentally restored and touring successfully, Wilson revived SMiLE with original lyricist Van Dyke Parks, and rock’s most legendary “lost album” was met with glowing reviews and a 2004 Grammy. Wilson performs the entire work live on August 16th at the Mann.
How close is the new SMiLE to the original?
It’s the same vision, only we created a third movement. We had the first two movements, then Van Dyke and I got together real fast, two weeks of work, and got it written. It’s all about paradise, so we called it a “happy teenage symphony to God.”
What were you listening to when you first started writing the album?
The Beatles, Motown, the Rolling Stones. Bach influenced me a little bit. George Gershwin was a big inspiration. The Phil Spector record “Be My Baby” inspired me quite a bit. The Beach Boys’ albums were produced similar to Phil Spector’s style. I learned how to use echo on the drums and other instruments. I learned how to combine a piano and guitar to make one sound.
Why were the other Beach Boys so resistant to SMiLE?
It was a little bit experimental, and I guess they just weren’t ready to make that radical of a change. They wanted surfing and car songs. I have an 11-piece band now, and they’re much superior musicians and singers to the Beach Boys. When we premiered SMiLE in London in February 2004, we got a standing ovation all six nights. It was a thrill beyond words.
$39-$49. 8 p.m. Mann Center for the Performing Arts, 5201 Parkside Avenue; 215-893-1999.
Bolshoi Ballet and Orchestra
A combination of the world’s best ballet and an outdoor setting like the Mann results in one of the most sought-after dance events of the summer. Boasting a colossal cast of 250 dancers and musicians, Bolshoi Ballet and Orchestra presents a bravura production of Spartacus.
$45-$125. August 2nd to 3rd. Mann Center for the Performing Arts, 5201 Parkside Avenue; 215-893-1999.
City of Belfast Youth Orchestra
Ireland’s City of Belfast Youth Orchestra wraps up its American tour with two stops in the Philadelphia area. Hear the young talents of Belfast play American show tunes, selections from Gustav Holst’s The Planets, and even some jazz.
Free ($2-$10 admission for Longwood Gardens). August 27th: Ocean City Music Pier, Moorlyn Terrace and the Boardwalk, Ocean City; August 30th: Longwood Gardens, Route 1, Kennett Square.
The peppy Tony Award-winner Hairspray, about a hefty, starry-eyed teenager and her even heftier mama (played by a divinely over-the-top man in drag), hits Philadelphia for two weeks.
$25-$81.50. August 30th to September 11th. Merriam Theater, 250 South Broad Street; 215-336-1234.
Philly’s Best Onscreen
A sensation at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, The Aristocrats (opening August 12th in area theaters) follows comics as they tell, pontificate about, dissect and riff on the same off-color joke. Directed by Penn alumnus Paul Provenza, the often uproarious shot-on-video project features George Carlin as a semi-grandfatherly guide to the bad taste laughapalooza, and includes Robin Williams, Don Rickles, Jason Alexander, Gilbert Gottfried, Rita Rudner and Paul Reiser, as well as Philly funnymen David Brenner, Todd Glass, Dom Irrera and Wayne Cotter. But it’s Temple University graduate Bob Saget — the star of family favorite Full House — who delivers a treatment of the yarn that’s so outrageous, it will delight and disturb you at the same time.