What a thrill of a lifetime! My friend Linda Furney and I got to meet the Beach Boys behind the stage before their performance at Centennial Park, Sylvania. It was a beautiful night, July 18, 2018, starting in sunshine under a cobalt blue sky and cool breeze, and ending under a bright crescent moon.
How did we get so lucky? Turns out that Linda had written an article for the Toledo Blade about a Beach Boy concert here in town in 1965. Imagine that! Some 50+years ago, when we were all so young. Linda was a senior at Devilbiss high school at the time (she became a teacher and then an elected local and state government representative and Ohio state senator, and is now retired). She had preserved and treasured that news clipping all these years, yellowed with age but still readable, and she was able to find it, too, which is amazing. She called a concert organizer to see if she could share the clipping with the Beach Boys before their performance, and the answer was yes. Wow. We were excited. I was the tag along and enjoyed every minute.
We waited to be summoned, and it was worth the wait. Definitely worth it! Brian Johnston, who had joined the band in 1965, came walking up to us with a big smile, friendly and chatty. He was just as excited to meet and talk with Linda about that historic article as she was to share it with him.
"Oh yes, I remember it," he said. "One of my favorite photos!" "So that's you, " he said, pointing to the picture. "Look at that hairstyle!" Linda beamed. "And just look at you now....So Linda, did you marry, get a job, buy a house, settle down?" He was lively and full of questions. Such a wonderful guy. I was entranced. I felt blessed to be with Linda for this special meet-up. As we were about to leave, Mike Love, a co-founder of the band and as handsome as ever, with those sparkling blue eyes, came up to us, and we had a wonderful photo together. One thing we learned during the concert, to the great cheers of the crowd, was that the Cleveland Cavs' power center Kevin Love is related to Mike Love, cousins of the Wilsons. Kevin was born in Santa Monica and went to UCLA. They're all California boys!
|Mike Love, with the Beach Boys from |
the start, cousin of Cavs' power center
Kevin Love. Small world, huge talents.
Linda was happy, and I was happy for her. Our behind the scenes meet and greet with the Beach Boys made the concert that much better. It was wonderful. For me it was the best respite from the news of the day, and boy I needed it. Brian Johnston and Mike Love are continuing the Beach Boys' legacy with a great group of musicians, a drummer, guitars, bass, a great sax, and Brian on keyboards. A young guitarist sang a solo that was out of this world. The most beautiful voice.
All the old tunes. California Dreamin', Surfin' USA, I Get Around, Help me, Rhonda, Sloop John B arranged by Brian Wilson, Wouldn't it be nice, Good Vibrations. It was that incomparable California sound, the fabulous harmonies, the falsetto, the fabulous lyrics and rhythms, that swing. We couldn't sit still in our seats. Dancing to the music.
We went down memory lane with the best of the Beach Boys, remembered those not with us, and made new memories with a simple but heart-warming meet-up with the musicians who are keeping the sound alive, transported above the fray to heaven and beyond. California dreamin'.