This is my birthday month, so I’m reflecting on my age and looking at my life from years of experience. It’s hard to believe I’m 63 years old, because I don’t feel like any age at all. The body’s older, but I still feel like me.
I notice Brian Wilson from the Beach Boys seems enthusiastic enough to defy age, and he recently had a birthday at the end of June. He performed a concert at the Greek Theatre, opening with folk singer Rodriguez, who was the subject of the documentary, Looking for Sugar Man.
My son bought us close-up seats for the concert as my birthday present. We enjoyed a delicious meal beforehand, and arrived at the concert a half-hour early. Most people in the audience were from my generation, but lots of people brought grandchildren.
Rodriguez opened with an acoustic version of I only have eyes for you, and performed his amazing hits. His presence brought immediacy and grace to the stage, fully present with his sound and lyrics. Those of us who knew Rodriguez’s compelling circumstances that kept him from being a superstar in the 1970’s, felt privileged to watch him perform. Rodriguez mentioned gratitude to share the stage with Brian Wilson, an icon of American music, and then he left.
Brian Wilson and his band surrounded him while he commanded the Greek that evening. Al Jardine and Blondie Chaplin were there. When he came out and sat at his white piano, the music exploded with energy and cosmic notes I will forever hold in my heart.
I spent the concert watching Brian, who seems like an authentic and humble person. From what I could tell, he knows what his music brings to people. Every single note sounded perfect. He played for hours, standing for a curtain call with his family, and the encore included a blast of all of our beloved tunes.
Brian Wilson is one of my heroes. He learned about life the hard way, with an abusive father and few emotional resources. His public life must have felt insane, like in the lyrics from I guess you had to be there.
Love saved him. It’s in the movie, it’s persistently in the lyrics and inspiring notes of his music. Cosmic harmonies reminded him of prayer, and I agree.
I want to open my heart and soul to the love of life, and my hero Brian Wilson, showed me how to keep the faith.