The Beach Boys send out good vibrations at the Mahaiwe

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GREAT BARRINGTON — You know, with all this yadda, yadda about who is in — and who is not in — the 2017 Beach Boys, it's important to understand that in the end the best way to judge this band is by the music. Which is a concept with which I think they would agree.

Well, from this corner. Mike Love, Bruce Johnston and the band came through like champs. They delivered a 42-song, 2 -hour show that included a vast majority of their hits, as well as a few choice covers and rarities before a sold out show at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center on Tuesday night. It would have been difficult to ask for much more.

When one thinks of the Beach Boys, the foremost part of the band's sound are those almost otherworldly harmonies. Without the vocal work, this would have been a disaster, no matter how well the musicians played.

In that department, Love and Johnston were ably abetted by guitarists Jeffrey Foskett and Scott Totten, as well as bassist Brian Eichenberger, keyboard player Tim Bonhomme and drummer John Cowsill (of yes, those Cowsills!). Foskett and Eichenberger, a former member of the do wop group The Four Freshmen, handled the upper notes for the evening.

Give Totten much of the credit as musical director. The vocals blended really, really well all night and thus enabled this reviewer to sit back and enjoy the show.

And it was a great show. The aforementioned 42 (!) song setlist prohibits a full accounting of what the audience heard. But the band started out with a greatest hits kind of opener: "Surfin' Safari," "Catch A Wave," "Little Honda," a funky "Do It Again," "Getcha Back" "Surfin' USA" and "Little Surfer Girl." Totten was also the guitarist who handled all the Dick Dale, "twang-g-g-g" guitar licks that are a part of the band's sound.

Highlights of the opening 26-song set included a doo-wop grouping with a Four Freshman song (no surprise), "Their Heads Were Full of Spring," and a Frankie Lyman song, "Why Do Fools Fall in Love." A B-side, "Ballad of ole Betsy" that was released with "409" in 1963, was fun, too. The first set Big Finish was "Little Deuce Coupe," "409," "Shut You Down" and "I Get Around."

The second set opened with a sweet version of the Mamas and the Papas' "California Dreamin'" with superb harmonies. The band followed up with "Sloop John B," "Wouldn't It Be Nice" and an old Phil Spector song, "And Then I Kissed Her." Highlights of this set included Johnston's lead vocals on "I Can Hear Music," a blistering "Sail On Sailor," with Cowsill taking over the vocals, and the second Big Finish of "God Only Knows," "Help Me Rhonda," "Kokomo" and "Good Vibration." No theremin, Johnston handled the song on keyboards.

"God Only Knows" was a tribute to the late Carl Wilson, as the live band harmonized behind his vocal shown on video.

The encore was "Barbara Ann" and "Fun, Fun, Fun," which had the audience singing along. It all worked pretty well.

Reach staff writer Derek Gentile at 413-770-6977.












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