Bonnaroo Sunday 2012: From “Fun Fun Fun” To fun.
Sunday at Manchester, Tennessee's Bonnaroo music festival wasn't exactly a sunshine day, with ominously gray clouds condensing above the 700-acre farm and drizzle threatening to turn the grounds into a Glastonbury-style mudpit by the day's end. Ironically, this was the day that the ultimate summer-fun band, the recently reunited Beach Boys, played on the main stage. But nothing could rain on their hit parade, as Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine, Bruce Johnston, David Marks, and their amazing 10-piece backing band breezed through 31 sunny songs in front of thousands of optimistic, beachball-bouncing fans.
The Beach Boys haven't been boys, per se, in many decades--they're in fact currently celebrating their 50th anniversary with a reunion tour and album--but somehow seeing these paunchy elder statesmen of powerpop perform what Brian Wilson used to call "teenage symphonies to God," all about endless summer, wasn't an endless bummer. Sure, Brian didn't do too much--sometimes he seemed lost or even bored behind his white piano, as the rest of the musicians onstage did all of the heavy lifting--but just watching him perform classics like "Surfer Girl," "Surfin' USA," "Little Deuce Coupe," "I Get Around," "Good Vibrations," "Sloop John B," "Fun Fun Fun," and "Wouldn't It Be Nice" with Mike Love again was enough. (I personally could have done without "Kokomo," however.)
Even the new tunes from the Beach Boys' just-released comeback album, particularly the title track "That's Why God Made The Radio," were pure harmony heaven. And these teenage symphonies to God must have appeased the rain gods, too, because for the duration of the Beach Boys' 90-minute set, the skies remained dry.