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*Review* Beach Boys at the Tropicana in Atlantic City, NJ



November 27, 2009 –

      Here in the northeast the air is becoming colder. What a wave of warmth we felt when the Boys of Summer from southern California found their way back to the northeast. Atlantic City, the casino town, decked itself out for Christmas and the holidays with festive decorations in the casino hotels. The boys would be playing at the Tropicana which is a casino on the boardwalk.

         Atlantic City was pretty crowded for the holiday weekend. There were people  Tropicana    everywhere. As it neared show time, a 9:00 pm start, the line began to wrap around the casino pathways into “The Quarter” (a little shopping area in between the casino areas of the hotel). I haven’t spent much time at the Tropicana before, so we were just trying to find our way around. We rushed off to find our spot for the show. The guys all took their places behind the red curtain, John behind the drum kit, Randell to his side with the bass, Mike centerstage, etc….then the show began, Surf City  kicked off the concert.

         MikeLove_TropicanaCongratulations are in order as Mike Love started off with the announcement that “California Girls” was inducted in the Grammy Hall of Fame. The band went into a flurry of songs which at one point landed upon “Getcha Back,” the story of a guy telling a girl he wishes they could be back together. John Cowsill’s vocals  and energetic drumming strongly back up the soloist Christian Love in a musical combination that seems just right in this song. Mike Love, the leader of the Beach Boys entertains the audience with his vocal endurance in “Be True to Your School” as he holds the very first note of the song on the word, “when.” Bruce Johnston counts the seconds as Mike bends on down to the floor while still singing, out of breath once finished. This is always received with applause from the appreciative audience. The Beach Boys Surf music era also coincided with the Doo Wop style so they bring in a few songs from this genre including, “Why Do Fools Fall in Love” and one of our new favorites, “So Young,” from “the Students” who Mike jokes are just getting their “GED’s now.” Randell Kirsch’s (bassist) blessing of a voice hits the high notes of the song as he leads the band’s multi-part harmony.  “Help Me Rhonda,” brings in Tim Bonhomme, the piano man tickling the ivories in his soulful manner.

       It’s holiday time and while this wasn’t billed as the “Beach Boys Christmas Show” theyBruce_Tropicana decided to spread a little Christmas cheer with the popular, “Little St. Nick.” If you don’t think you know this song, check out the Coca Cola commercial and you should remember it. The indoor snow added a nice touch to the song, it’s a fun and energetic one.  The finale portion brings in the particularly poignant Scott’s guitar solo. When he hits the spotlight, he truly wows the audience. “Barbara Ann” watch out!

       We noticed though that the Tropicana may need to work on their sound system. The usual cohesion of the instruments and vocals seemed to be missing, almost leading to a very individualistic sound to each instrument. Perhaps more speakers or higher quality ones need to be included for future shows. Also missed was hearing John Cowsill’s bluesy vocals on the hit “Sail on Sailor.” It was a hit over the summer, curious as to why it wasn’t included in this show.

      The music of the Beach Boys brings smiles to the faces of all who hear it. For a moment, we can feel the warmth of the sun even as the cold of the winter is blowing in. Keep on a lookout for upcoming 2010 Beach Boys tour dates!

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