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REVIEWS

This brand new addition to the Imagination site will consist of reviews of every Beach Boys and Beach Boys solo albums/cd's . The thing that makes this different is that all of the reviews will not be done by professionals or by one person. Instead, they will be written by fans , fans just like us. Questions and comments about any review or for any author can be posted on the BEACH BOYS GOLD BOARD

KNEBWORTH 80
First up is the latest Beach Boys release, the concert from Knebworth from 1980. At present it is only in release in the UK.
Reviewed by STEVE WOOD.


The Beach Boys Live-Knebworth 1980  Eagle Records EAGCD155

Knebworth 1980 - Released at last!

Well it took twenty two years to be released but finally it's here. I never thought I'd be reviewing a new Beach Boys record that wasn't another greatesthitscollection but courtesy of Eagle records we get an official Beach Boys
release at last!

Well is it any good?

 Well first of all the packaging. It's very impressive. A nice slip case, a miniature replica poster from the concert and a very interesting CD booklet, but for heaven sake don't record companies know that you can't read pink writing on a purple background. I can only imagine that the person who selected yellow and orange for the "Pet Sounds Live" cover was given a second chance here!

 The concert?

 Well, it really is an historic occasion for us Brits as it was the very last time that the Brian, Carl, Mike, Dennis,Bruce and Al played our shores together and this is a great record of that momentous occasion! The CD itself is good value for money at 70 minutes long, with 22 tracks spanning the band's complete career. I am sure that none of us would expect the boys to have sounded like they did in the studio and therefore this is no disappointment. The band are very loose and raunchy though the vocals are not always harmonious. There is a great start as the band kicks into the standard opener "California Girls". A great beginning to any concert and Mike's vocals come through well and in general the backing vocals are good."Sloop John B" follows and good old Mike has to scream out to let us know that it's "Brian Wilson" singing (as if we didn't know!). The sound is pretty good though Brian's vocals are pretty average. The band then speed up and the whole thing sounds somewhat disconnected with some screaming background vocals."Darlin'" comes to the rescue, though again the band play it a liitle too fast in my opinion."School Days" starts off with the usual Beach Boys accapella and then descends into a caucophony of noise where the music and voices just fail to gel.Then we have "God Only Knows" with Carls' lead which I'm sure most
 people will have heard on the Endless Harmony soundtrack.One of the highlights of the album!

 Much of the middle of the concert is what you would expect from at a typical Beach Boys concert, great songs but....could be better. Highlights are definitely the Stones sounding "Do It Again" the "Cottonfields/Heroes & Villains"medley. The oldies "Little Deuce Coupe", "Surfer Girl" and "Help Me Rhonda" are  poor imitations of the originals which is a little disappointing. We also have to suffer the indignity of hearing Brian being sung happy birthday to.

 Before long we are heading to the closing straight where "I Get Around", "Surfin USA" and "Good Vibrations" are broken up by Dennis's "You Are So Beautiful". Then we get the usual finishing tracks of "Barbara Ann" and "Fun, Fun, Fun" to bring the proceedings to a conclusion. In my view, these classic tracks are not served best by the band trying to make them raunchy 70's rock'n'roll numbers with driving beats and unnecessary feedback. The band seem to think that they are the "Stones", which they clearly weren't.These tunes did not need to be beefed up as they were already great  songs!

 So is it worth buying?

Absolutely! Though I have been a bit critical here, the sound quality is excellent for an outdoor event and the concert is representative of where the band were at that point in their career, and the crowd clearly enjoyed it. I only wish I could have been there to personally witness it at first hand. It's really a shame that they didn't include "Wouldn't It Be Nice", but I think I would prefer to remember other great recordings of it!

 I'm looking forward to the DVD of this concert which is undergoing it's finishing touches and planned for released early next year.

 Steve Wood