October16, 2004
Chastain Park Ampihtheatre - Atlanta

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I'll admit, the first set was slow moving. Brian seemed scared and isolated...almost non-communicative. But as he began to relax, the diamonds started to shine in the spotlight. Songs like "Surfer Girl", "Sloop John B" and "Add Some Music" were just a warm up. The early evening highlight for me was when he did a tribute to his brothers. Dennis Wilson's song "Forever" is one of the best Beach Boys songs ever written and most people assume Brian wrote it. Well, he didn't. But I was thrilled to hear him perform it. It was absolutely beautiful. He also polished up "Sail On Sailor" (one of my personal favorites). Of course, this was only an appetizer for the second set. I immediately got chills when I heard the first cascading harmonies of “Our Prayer.” “My God”, I thought. “It’s finally going to happen. SMiLE is coming to life right before my eyes.” This moment and the next 50 or so were as stunning as hearing the album for the first time. "Wonderful" lived up to its title, "Cabinesscence" chugged along, "Barnyard" was perfectly stupid (intentionally) and "Ms. O'Leary's Cow" was downright infernal.

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"Surf's Up" was the capper. It lost none of its aching beauty live. I felt honored and privileged to be lucky enough to hear it. Soon after (from the sublime to the ridiculous), "Vegetables" found the band waving celery and carrots and chomping on them into the mics to authentically simulate the recording. Noticing that a few people didn't seem to be “getting it”, Brian yelled out, "This is supposed to be funny!" It was. So what if some of the season ticket holders didn’t understand why this Beach Boy was being so difficult! "Good Vibrations" closes SMiLE so this is the moment where the "hits only" fans came together with Geekdom. It was thrilling to see the joy this humble, frightened man created nearly four decades ago still bringing smiles to faces today. Even though Brian and the band had played for over two hours at this point, they kept right on going. Following the massive standing ovation at the end of SMiLE, it only seemed appropriate to keep 'em dancing through the likes of "I Get Around", "Help Me Rhonda" and "Fun Fun Fun." Before the final encore, Brian spoke. "No more rock and roll. There will be no more rock and roll." He then ended the night with a touching and poignant "Love And Mercy." I'm a lucky person to have seen and heard it for myself.

Chris McKay /




en and heard it for myself.

e & Mercy." I'm a lucky person to have seen