The eternal Boys of Summer came to The Villages on Sunday, burning rubber with Deuce Coupes, 409s and looking for – of all things – a golf cart.
The Beach Boys played a packed Sharon L. Morse Performing Arts Center and “wired” the crowd with hot-rod songs like “Little Deuce Coupe,” “409,” and “Fun Fun Fun.”
“But we forgot the golf cart,” lead singer Mike Love said with a wink, noting the popular mode of transportation in The Villages.
The Beach Boys didn’t leave out much else during the band’s third concert here in three years. They play two more shows Monday at The Sharon.
The opening concert Sunday lasted about 90 minutes. The California boys played everything from “Surfin’ Safari” to “Kokomo” to “That’s Why God Made the Radio.”
Those songs span nearly 60 years of Beach Boys music, and thanks to some new blood, the group can still rock. Love turns 78 this month and on stage, the one-time surfer boy still looks spry enough to shoot the curl.
The Beach Boys featured nine members on stage and they opened in rousing, rocking fashion. They ripped six straight songs in 20 minutes with “Do It Again,” “Surfin’ Safari,” “Catch A Wave,” “Little Honda,” “Fun To Run” and “Surfin’ USA.”
Love needed to catch his breath and pulled out his cell phone.
“We need to slow things down and this is for the ladies,” Love said. He then asked those in the audience to wave their cell phones in the air as the band sang “Surfer Girl.”
Sure enough, The Sharon was filled with the glow of cell phones, waving back and forth enough to nearly cause seasickness. Next came another ballad, “Don’t Worry Baby.”
The hot-rod sound picked up the beat with such ’60s street classics as “Shut Down” and “I Get Around.”
Love was the only original Beach Boy on stage. Bruce Johnston, on keyboards, joined the group in 1965. Other band members included musical director Scott Totten, guitar; Brian Eichenberger, guitar; John Cowsill, drums; and Christian Love – Mike’s son – on guitar.
They will never match the originals: Brian Wilson and his late brothers Carl and Dennis, with guitarist Al Jardine. The band at The Sharon is really Mike Love’s Beach Boys. But his authentic vocals still ring true to one of the greatest rock groups in the history of popular music.
There are concessions to age.
“This is our breakfast show,” Love said early on. “We’d like to have an intermission followed by a nap. But we’re glad you came to see us in The Villages.”
Love had some fun with “Be True to Your School.” He started the song kneeling down at center stage but quickly rose and pranced about to the song. Videos and pictures of cheerleaders where shown on a huge screen behind the band. One picture featured his nephew – Kevin Love – who plays in the National Basketball Association.
“He had a college education. He went to UCLA for about a year,” Mike Love cracked.
The mood was more serious when Christian Love sang a spirit-filled cover of Carl Wilson’s “God Only Knows.”
“We lost Carl and he’s not here to sing that song, but he’s still a part of the Beach Boys,” Mike Love said.
The group went back to its roots with a couple historic oldies. They covered Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers’ “Why Do Fools Fall In Love.” Then Eichenberger, who toured with the latter-day Four Freshman, joined Love, Totten and Johnston for an a cappella version of “Their Hearts Were Full of Spring.” The Four Freshmen made that a huge hit.
The last part of the concert featured such Beach Boys’ standards as “California Girls,” “Wouldn’t It Be Nice,” “Sloop John B” and “Help Me Rhonda.” Then the crowd stood as the Beach Boys sang “Good Vibrations,” “Kokomo” and “Barbara Ann.”
Love and the crew came out for a furious encore of “Fun Fun Fun” – and the people loved it.
“They have great songs and they give it all they’ve got,” said Villager Joe Seaperotta, who attended the show with his wife, Gretchen.
But doesn’t age matter?
“Not with music like this,” Joe said. “Sure, they’re getting old. But we’re all getting old.”
Except for 90 minutes on Sunday, when hot rods, surfer girls and good vibrations were back in season.
Tony Violanti is an award-winning journalist and writes for Villages-News.com.