In this era of musical nostalgia, reunion tours are here to stay, for better or for worse, complete with resurrected old hits and even older classic rockers - decades from their prime - squeezing on their leather pants for one last kick at the can.
I've always found the concept mildly distasteful, and so it was with a sense of forgiveness that I went into The Beach Boys concert on Thursday night.
I discovered, however, that a comeback concert can actually be a tastefully done affair.
With their final installment in a two-show stint at The Port Theatre, the seats were packed into the balconies.
The average age of the crowd was primarily fifty-plus, and largely decked out in what I discovered was the de rigeur Beach Boy concert gear: Hawaiian shirts, of course.
The onstage lineup was similarly attired: other than a fistful of Liberace-esque bling rings sported by the trim and jaunty Mike Love, it was largely chinos and button-down shirts onstage, too.
From the first song it was clear that, unlike many of his contemporaries such as Robert Plant, Bob Dylan and even Freddy Mercury, who all had their famous voices affected by smoking and partying, Love is reaping the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.
With a voice as clear as an 18-year-old's, the strong harmonies were in full effect, though the lineup only included one other original member, Bruce Johnston.
Al Jardine, David Marks, and Love's cousin Brian Wilson, the mastermind behind the music, remained conspicuously absent, a topic that has been tabloid fodder since their 50th reunion tour last year.
The crowd remained rather impassive until the 1963 hit "Surf City," swept over the audience. From there the pitch-perfect hits never let up, leading into a string of their car classics like "Little Deuce Coupe."
There were a few glistening eyes in the audience as just before intermission the Boys launched into a rendition of "Don't Worry Baby," the backdrop flickering with images of vintage hot rods and pinup girls.
There were laughs, too, when Love mentioned his desire for cheerleaders at hockey games, or when he mentioned the older band members "should be given an award just for remembering the words."
The sound quality at times was surreal, the voices coming from the stage seemingly emanating from elsewhere. "Who knew Nanaimo had a theatre with such amazing sound?" said Love, who later led the vocalists in a an a capella version of a Four Freshman song that not only showed off the venue's acoustics but had the audience spellbound.
My only regret? That they played nearly every song in their repertoire except the magnificent "I Can Hear Music," but considering the calibre of the show, I'll take my lumps.
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