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Preview: The Beach Boys & Bad Company

Noah Bonaparte Pais on a big party set for Champions Square


What better pep rally for the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl — a home-away-from-home game for the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns, sponsored by a freight shipper based in Wilmington, Ohio — than some fun in the sunset with the definitive West Coast pop band in the dead of winter? But there's a catch: Fresh off a fine-spirited comeback album (Capitol doo-whopper That's Why God Made the Radio) and 50th anniversary reunion tour, The Beach Boys reaffirmed that summer does, in fact, have an end, and what follows is often harsh, cold and bitter. Toward the close of the held-over, 75-date rose parade, Mike Love announced his plans to reform the pre-reunion, casino-circuit version of the band — including Bruce Johnston, and excluding David Marks, Al Jardine and the perpetually unaware Brian Wilson. In October, the dissing cousins took their lifelong spat to the op-ed pages of the Los Angeles Times, Love issuing a statement about exclusive license between "The Beach Boys are bigger than us" platitudes, and Wilson calling the ordeal "not cool" and "a bummer." The sad saga is a bit like the album: beautiful and melancholy (wordless choir "Think About the Days"), then beautiful and cheesy (the title track, "Isn't It Time"), then hackneyed and cheesy (the cash-grabbing middle third: "Good vibrations, summer weather/ We're back together/ Easy money, ain't life funny?"), seemingly righted (Love-penned horizontal mirage "Daybreak Over the Ocean") and once again toppled (the godawful "Beaches in Mind"), ending on three transportive pocket symphonies that find solace in "the things we used to do ... when life was still in front of you." On Dennis Wilson tribute and highlight "Pacific Coast Highway," Brian sings, eerily, "Sometimes I realize my days are getting on/ Sometimes I realize it's time to move along/ And I wanna go home." The final song is called, simply, "Summer's Gone." Somewhere in TV land, Uncle Jesse sheds a single tear. Unambiguous eponym Bad Company co-headlines. Free admission. — Noah Bonaparte Pais

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