Brian Wilson 9/24/16

(a) setlist

Set 1:

    1. Our Prayer
    2. Heroes and Villains
    3. California Girls
    4. Dance, Dance, Dance
    5. I Get Around
    6. Shut Down
    7. Little Deuce Coupe
    8. In My Room
    9. Surfer Girl
    10. Don’t Worry Baby
    11. Salt Lake City
    12. Wake The World
    13. Add Some Music to Your Day
    14. California Saga: California
    15. Darlin’
    16. Sail Away
    17. Wild Honey
    18. Sail On, Sailor

Pet Sounds set:

    1. Wouldn’t It Be Nice
    2. You Still Believe In Me
    3. That’s Not Me
    4. Don’t Talk (Put Your Head On My Shoulder)
    5. I’m Waiting for the Day
    6. Let’s Go Away for Awhile
    7. Sloop John B
    8. God Only Knows
    9. I Know There’s An Answer
    10. Here Today
    11. I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times
    12. Pet Sounds
    13. Caroline, No


    1. Good Vibrations
    2. Help Me, Rhonda
    3. Barbara Ann
    4. Surfin’ USA
    5. Fun, Fun, Fun
    6. Love and Mercy

(b) highlights

  • I can’t even emotionally talk about the setlist, I mean look at the setlist, LOOK AT IT, ARE YOU LOOKING??? Pet Sounds. Those “opening” tracks.” The classics…I can’t even believe I witnessed what I actually witnessed.
  • I don’t think people understand how much I love the Beach Boys and how incredible it was to see Brian Goddamn Wilson and Al Jardine live performing Pet Sounds in its entirety.
  • The following quotes are some of my most favorite things I’ve ever heard at a show:
    • “Did anyone come to the show tonight to hear bad vibrations? What about weird vibrations? No! It’s about Good Vibrations! Hit it, boys!”
    • “Hi, I’m Brian Wilson and this is the first song I ever wrote.” *starts “Surfer Girl”*
    • “This next one is the greatest song I ever wrote.” *starts “God Only Knows”*
    • “Can everyone sing ‘Row, Row, Row Your Boat’? This is my favorite part of the show.”
  • Every single minute of this show is something I’ll remember until the day I die and I feel privileged as hell to say I was even there at all.

(c) lowlights

  • this is barely a lowlight and more speaks to reality, but it was a bit rough to see how much Brian Wilson has aged over the years. I suppose any of us should be lucky that this true GENIUS of a man is still with us, but he has officially reached full Grandpa Status and you know what? That’s actually okay. Not a lowlight. Just a fact.
  • the lighting, ughhhh. Al Jardine wearing all white + harsh lighting + sitting in tier 3 = not the best photos of all time.

(d) overall thoughts

One of my earliest memories in existence involves The Beach Boys. Music is such a powerful thing – that’s obvious – but it really speaks to me as a person that I honest-to-God remember being two years old, sitting in the backseat of my dad’s car and hearing “Fun, Fun, Fun” playing on the radio.I was born and raised in Los Angeles, and lived there the first 18 years of my life before leaving California for college…so I suppose it’s not that surprising to hear that I’m a fan of the Beach Boys. I’m one of those fans that – yeah, of course I love The Beatles, I am human, after all – however, if I had to choose between The Beach Boys and The Beatles…I’m going to go with the former. I know. I’m a huge Anglophile and could never doubt the lasting effect that Paul, John, George, and Ringo have had on not only music but culture. But also, if I’m being honest, I understand and attach myself to the clear genius that is Brian, Carl, Dennis, Al, and Mike and I will defend them until the day I die. (Fun fact: After hearing “Good Vibrations,” John Lennon and Paul McCartney went back to the studio, scrapped nearly the entire album they had recorded at the time, and knew they had to start over because of how incredible that one song was. Then they wrote Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band…you’re welcome, world.)

But I’m getting away from Brian Wilson. This is all about him. Tickets for this show went on sale just a few short weeks after the stupidly and emotionally devastating death of David Bowie. And I feel awful saying this, but I knew I couldn’t miss this. I was lucky enough to see “The Beach Boys” (aka just Mike Love and a bunch of dudes including John Stamos as a badass drummer) a few summers ago, but I’ve never had the opportunity to see Brian Wilson perform – let alone see him perform the entirety of Pet Sounds with Al Jardine. I didn’t know what to expect other than pure, unadultered genius, and holy crap did I get that and then some.

You know you’re a musical genius and a one-in-a-million human being when you can open your 50th Anniversary show for an album that you wrote when you were 23 (!!!!) with an hour and a half of hits, b-sides, and deep cuts and the entire audience pretty much knows every word without even hinting at that 50th anniversary album. What. Like. Brian Goddamn Wilson. The emotional night started off heavy and never let up for the next three hours. We had the pain of “Heroes and Villains” and “In My Room,” among others, while absorbing all the classic fun of “Dance, Dance, Dance,” “I Get Around,” and Little Deuce Coupe.” Unbelievable. Sure, I went to this show alone and was definitely in the 2% minority of young people below the age of 35 in the crowd, but I’m sure I looked even weirder pretty much crying during every song. The New York crowd absolutely enjoyed themselves in every way, but I’m not sure non-California-born people could appreciate the perfection that was “California Girl.” And with God as my witness, “Don’t Worry Baby” is probably my most favorite song of all-time. Ever. Like EVER. And to see Brian Wilson perform it?? With Al Jardine? Truly ungoddamnbelievable.

By the time we got to Pet Sounds, the music had literally taken over the room. It’s as if all those hits had a mind of their own. Each track felt bigger than the one before it, and filled every inch of the Beacon Theatre. The show almost should’ve taken place outside just so each note could float above and beyond the people before it. You almost forgot that Brian Wilson was the mind behind those songs because they even felt bigger than him, bigger than all of us. What an incredible musician must you be for your work to transcend time, space, people, and emotion to just exist as an ideal?? The harmonics of “Wouldn’t It Be Nice,” “Don’t Talk,” and “Sloop John B” alone is enough for The Beach Boys to stand the test of time, but then you have “God Only Knows” – a song that John Lennon once called “the greatest song ever written” – and it’s unbelievable that something like that exists.

I could go on for days and nights and all of time talking about those songs, but I won’t. Aside from the music itself, some things must be noted. Yeah, Brian Wilson didn’t quite sound like his best self because he’s an old grandpa and um, has also been through some things in his life (re: every bio on Wilson and the Beach Boys ever written), but it’s okay. Al Jardine still sounded pretty damn good and is still a solid guitar player, but shiiiiiittttt, his son Matt Jardine was NEXT LEVEL. Brian and Al had a pretty extensive backing band of about a dozen dudes including Al’s son Matt, who has essentially taken on the super high harmonies that Brian used to handle. He sounded unbelievably and truly just like Wilson used to; he brought so many subtle vocal moments and harmonies to life, and I loved it so much. Musically, every note felt and sounded exactly like putting Pet Sounds on vinyl in gigantic room, closing your eyes, and swimming. And what else could I possibly ask for? You don’t need anything once you have those songs because, just as they did 50 years ago, or about 20 years ago just for me, those songs mean everything.


Bottom line: Brian Wilson is a musical treasure, genius, and historically significant man in our culture whether music fans know it or not. Getting to hear so many of those classic and perfect songs – let alone Pet Sounds alone – isn’t something I’ll ever forget. The closest emotional live experience I’ve had to this show is seeing Paul McCartney live – and I don’t think that’s a coincidence. Acts like The Beach Boys and The Beatles are legends because someone who’s half the age of their music can so easily connect it decades down the line. I am living proof that this music has and will continue to stand the test of time, so I can’t freaking wait to see who else will fall in love with it in the years to come.

Paul McCartney, Morrissey 6/19/15

(i) lineup

1a. Cage The Elephant
2b. Morrissey (!!)
3c. Paul McCartney (!!!)

(1a) (Cage the Elephant’s) setlist

    1. Spiderhead
    2. In One Ear
    3. Aberdeen
    4. Take It or Leave It
    5. Cigarette Daydreams
    6. Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked
    7. Halo
    8. Telescope
    9. Back Against the Wall
    10. It’s Just Forever
    11. Teeth
    12. Come a Little Closer
    13. Shake Me Down
    14. Sabertooth Tiger

(1b) highlights

  • seeing Cage The Elephant for the first time and damn, they put on a show
  • “Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked” is a killer tune; loved it since I first heard it in 2008ish, I believe
  • they had a crowd four times the size of Morrissey’s crowd…and they were before him

(1c) lowlights

  • they had a crowd four times the size of Morrissey’s crowd…and they were before him
  • it was SO. GODDAMN. HOT.
  • I was legally one gigantic mosquito bite at this point

(1d) overall thoughts

Jesus, this band has a lot of fans and it’s pretty clear why. They have big songs, even bigger crowds, and some straight up memorable numbers. Great show.

Photos by: Joe Papeo and Joe Del Tufo

(2a) (Morrissey’s) setlist

    1. Suedehead
    2. First of the Gang to Die
    3. Alma Matters
    4. I’m Throwing My Arms Around Paris
    5. Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before (The Smiths cover)
    6. Ganglord
    7. Kiss Me A Lot
    8. World Peace is None of Your Business
    9. The Bullfighter Dies
    10. You Have Killed Me
    11. Speedway
    12. The Staircase at the University
    13. The World is Full of Crashing Bores
    14. Everyday is Like Sunday
    15. Meat Is Murder (The Smiths cover)
    16. What She Said (The Smiths cover)

(2b) highlights

  • MORRISSEY!!!11!!!1!
  • I cried when he walked out, I love Morrissey so much, this was the first time I was seeing him, I legit cried
  • every Smiths song. all of them. I was overwhelmed.
  • it’s a long story, but “Ganglord” is an inside joke with my friends and we died
  • seeing “Everyday is Like Sunday” standing in mud on the sunniest day of all time in the middle of Delaware is never something I imagined would happen, but god, it did

(2c) lowlights

  • the festival was selling meat literally at the closest vendor and we were all TERRIFIED Morrissey would smell it and walk off stage
  • Morrissey eventually got annoyed and walked offstage (but it was at the end anyway!! we think!!)
  • there were less than 100 people in the crowd. at the main stage. for Morrissey. the final act before the headliner. WHAT THE FUCK, PEOPLE.

(2d) overall thoughts

Seeing Morrissey live was a hugely emotional experience for me as a long-time Smiths fan and long-time Moz fan and I feel like maybe only a dozen others felt the same in that crowd in Dover. He sounded like heaven to me; I was beside myself every time a Smiths’ song played, and I’ll never forget that he was actually physically standing and singing right there in front of me. It was a dream. A very anxious dream where I prayed he wouldn’t storm off because Firefly was definitely not meatless and I’m pretty sure I ate a chicken sandwich that day and felt like is Moz looked at me, he would immediately know, but IT WAS STILL A DREAM.


(3a) (Paul McCartney’s) setlist

    1. Birthday (The Beatles cover)
    2. Save Us
    3. Got to Get You Into My Life (The Beatles cover)
    4. Let Me Roll It (Wings cover)
    5. Paperback Writer (The Beatles cover)
    6. My Valentine
    7. Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five (Wings cover)
    8. The Long and Winding Road (The Beatles cover)
    9. Maybe I’m Amazed
    10. I’ve Just Seen a Face (The Beatles cover))
    11. We Can Work It Out (The Beatles cover)
    12. Another Day
    13. And I Love Her (The Beatles cover)
    14. Blackbird (The Beatles cover)
    15. Here Today (The Beatles cover)
    16. New
    17. Queenie Eye
    18. Lady Madonna (The Beatles cover)
    19. Eleanor Rigby (The Beatles cover)
    20. Being For Benefit of Mr. Kite! (The Beatles cover)
    21. Something (The Beatles cover)
    22. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da (The Beatles cover)
    23. Band on the Run (Wings cover)
    24. Back in the USSR (The Beatles cover)
    25. Let It Be (The Beatles cover)
    26. Live and Let Die (The Beatles cover)
    27. Hey Jude (The Beatles cover)

Encore 1:

  1. Hi, Hi, Hi (Wings cover)
  2. Can’t Buy Me Love (The Beatles cover)
  3. Helter Skelter (The Beatles song)

Encore 2:

  1. Golden Slumbers (The Beatles cover)
  2. Carry That Weight (The Beatles cover)
  3. The End (The Beatles cover)

(3b) highlights

  • standing in a stupid muddy field in DELAWARE with 30,000 people, sobbing my eyes out with my best friends, watching a freaking LIVING BEATLE sing the most beautiful song in the world that even aliens in space have probably acknowledged its beauty, HEY JUDE
  • Paul McCartney having no clue whatsoever that he’s Paul McCartney
  • people who act like Wings is a real thing
  • when he would casually mention John Lennon or George Harrison or his “good friend Jimi” (Hendrix) or his “great pal Keith” (Richards)
  • the entire thing, seriously, I’ll never really be able to explain this perfection – it was seriously life-changing

(3c) lowlights

  • nothing.

(3d) overall thoughts

I really cannot underscore enough that this Paul McCartney performance was the greatest show I’ve ever seen in my life. Nothing will every really touch this show for reasons I can’t even put into words, but it really all comes down to a feeling. And that feeling is this: standing in a muddy Delaware field late at night with 30,000 people, covered in mosquito bites, so freaking tired from the hottest and longest day ever, being with my three closest concert buddies who I’ve all known for more than 10 years and who knowingly or unknowingly have gotten me through some of the toughest times in my life, crying my freaking eyes out, and singing in perfect unison “Naaaaa naaaa na na naaaaaa, na na na naaaa, hey Juddddeeeee.” That’s not a feeling you forget for the rest of your life.

Cold War Kids 3/20/15

(a) setlist

    1. All This Could Be Yours
    2. Miracle Mile
    3. Loner Phase
    4. We Used to Vacation
    5. Red Wine, Success!
    6. Audience
    7. First
    8. Louder Than Ever
    9. Hot Coals
    10. Hang Me Up to Dry
    11. Harold Bloom
    12. Tuxedos
    13. Drive Desperate
    14. Something Is Not Right With Me
    15. Hospital Beds


  1. Bottled Affection
  2. Well Well Well (John Lennon cover)
  3. Hold My Home
  4. Saint John

(b) highlights

  • phenomenal setlist – singles, deep cuts, whatever – these dudes get song placement
  • just the show’s atmosphere, such intimacy and a garage-band jam feel about it
  • really dig the stage production – the lighting guy needs a raise or gold star
  • watching bassist Matt Maust pluck those bass strings is an other-worldly experience
  • “Harold Bloom” is hauntingly good, that John Lennon cover, basically everything

(c) lowlights

  • the crowd was shockingly young; seeing so many under 21’s at a show like this is always off-putting to me
  • Terminal 5’s Terminal 5-ness

(d) overall thoughts

Cold War Kids are one of the few bands that I instantly loved the moment I heard them. Their debut Robbers & Cowards is one of the best albums out there and I’ll always stand by that. I was supposed to first see them open for the White Stripes (!!) back in 2007, but that tour was cancelled because of Meg White-related troubles. That resulted in me having to wait eight years to see these guys, and this show is a long, on-going case in rectifying that.

I always say that seeing Cold War Kids live is like walking in a private garage-band jam session. It feels so stupidly intimate and personal and wonderful. The guys are crawling all over the stage, never standing still and idle, frequently hitting and bumping into one another in a way that makes every performance feel so special and unique. I’ve seen them quite a few times at this point and every show has felt different. This experience in particular was one of warm camaraderie – a brotherly love connection between band and audience.

This was one of the first shows in NYC for their fifth album Hold My Home, which has since given the band well-deserved mainstream praise in the most unexpected way. Their single “First” was actually the first time they had a number one hit, which, as a fan since 2005, makes me incredibly proud and totally baffled. How had it taken everyone so long to realize their greatness? I’ll always remember how wonderful Nathan sounded, how cool Matt looked, and how chillingly special each and every song made us all feel. When you see Cold War Kids, you feel them more than anything. And that’s the best part.


Bottom line: Every Cold War Kids show is an emotional experience more than a performance, and being in the audience feels more like a privilege than anything.