Brian Wilson's Pet Sounds Tour Featuring Al Jardine and Blondie Chaplin at the Xcite Center, Parx Casino, Bensalem, PA, November 3, 2018

Photo of Wilson & Jardine courtesy of  Karin Ricci 
Brian Wilson is approaching the end of his Pet Sounds tour and if you are among the lucky people who had a ticket to one of these shows you won't be disapppointed. The Beach Boys' resident genius took the stage with his outstanding ten piece band that included his old group's original rhythm guitarist, Al Jardine, and his 1970s bandmate, Blondie Chaplin.

Wilson's voice has lost its high end and when he needed to hit the upper registers, his son-in-law, Rob Bonfiglio, took the spotlight. Bonfiglio led the way on "Don't Worry Baby" and several other early hits. Jardine also took his share of lead vocals.

The concert opened with a very nice take of the first Beach Boys song I ever heard, "California Girls," so it always holds a special place in my heart. From there they played "Dance, Dance, Dance" followed by more early chartbustng singles and a few deep tracks thrown into the mix for good measure.

Jardine took the lead on "California," part three of his superb "California Saga," that he wrote with Mike Love as the centerpiece for the group's 1973 Holland album.

I don't know why he was not part of the permanent on-stage ensemble but Chaplin did not make his appearance until several songs into the evening. He played guitar and sang Carl Wilson's "Feel Flows," a welcome obscurity from Surf's Up, and also "Sail On Sailor," his most significant contribution during his brief tenure with the band. Chaplin then left the stage and did not return until late in the show to play guitar and sing backup.

Then came all thirteen tracks of Pet Sounds in order. Even though the Wrecking Crew was not on hand this solid stage outfit supplied many of the nuances from Wilson's original recording sessions including wood blocks, barking dogs, train whistles, kazoos and more. They came as close as they could to replicating Wilson's intricate arrangements from the original LP.

After "God Only Knows" Jardine said it was one of the greatest songs of all time, by anybody - EVER! Many people agree with him and even though brother Carl Wilson was not on hand to sing it Bonfiglio made sure we didn't miss him too much. The song ended with a standing ovation.

For most of the rest of their classic album the fans provided appreciative applause but they did not react as you would expect them to for one of the most critically acclaimed rock records of all time.

After that, Wilson and the band were ready for the grand finale. Hit after hit, the ones that make audiences dance in the aisles, followed one another. All were played with perfection.

There was no encore. Wilson said that "Love and Mercy" would be his last song and he and the band left the stage to huge applause.

The star does not appear to be in the best of health. I wouldn't be surprised if this is his last tour so, I'll ask you this question. Would you rather see the master play his own creations or the Mike Love/Bruce Johnston lounge lizard version of the band that still uses the actual Beach Boys name? For me, the answer is obvious.

The brand new Xcite Center has great acoustics that suit a perfectionist like Wilson. It seats 1,500 and you can see well from anywhere you sit.

The setlist:
California Girls
Dance, Dance, Dance
I Get Around
Shut Down
Little Deuce Coupe
Surfer Girl
Don't Worry Baby
Feel Flows
Sail On Sailor
Wouldn't It Be Nice
You Still Believe In Me
That's Not Me
Don't Talk (Put Your Head On My Shoulder)
I'm Waiting For The Day
Let's Go Away For Awhile
Sloop John B
God Only Knows
I Know There's An Answer
Here Today
I Just Wasn't Made For These Times
Pet Sounds
Caroline No
Good Vibrations
Help Me Rhonda (Jardine's first ever lead vocal on a Beach Boys' song)
Barbara Ann
Surfin' USA
Fun Fun Fun
Love and Mercy


  1. Sounds like a great concert Charlie, I'm with you .

  2. I know I'll regret it but I didn't go see him last night in Atlanta - suffering from severe jet lag. You're lucky to have seen him!


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