On September 22nd, music fanatics of all ages made their way to Milwaukee’s beautiful Riverside Theater for a Sunday evening show.
This wasn’t just any performance. Fans prepared to witness some of the most prolific musicians in modern history. For the third to last stop on their “Something Great From 68” co-headlining tour, music legends The Zombies and Brian Wilson (The Beach Boys) joined forces to merge the past with the present.
The night kicked off as 2019 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees, The Zombies, were greeted with a thunderous applause. Led by founding members Colin Blunstone and Rod Argent, the British Invasion legends took stage alongside their “modern” lineup (featuring Steve Rodford, Tom Toomey, and Søren Koch). Shortly after performing hits such as “She’s Not There” and “Tell Her No“, the group welcomed original members Chris White and Hugh Grundy who helped perform their 1968 masterpiece, “Odessey and Oracle” in its entirety. The four core members seemingly defied age, with Blunstone displaying impeccable vocal range on renditions of “Care of Cell 44” and “A Rose For Emily.” Co-founder Argent showed timely precision on keys, with a series of chilling improvised solos on the album’s most notorious single, “Time of the Season.” Grundy and White both served as the backbone of the performance, holding consistent rhythm through each of the album’s twelve timeless tracks.
Following a brief intermission, a red velvet curtain parted as the angelic intro of the 1965 hit, “California Girls” began to play. Seated at front and center behind a white grand piano was Brian Wilson. Regarded by many credible sources as a creative genius due to his musical innovations, Wilson was joined by a phenomenal backing band, including former Beach Boys’ Al Jardine and Blondie Chaplin. The group aided Wilson through some of his greatest songs, such as “God Only Knows” and “Good Vibrations.” Jardine reclaimed duties of singing 1965’s “Help Me Rhonda“, while his son, Matt, helped emulate authenticity on classics such as “Don’t Worry Baby” and “Wouldn’t It Be Nice.” To correlate with the name of the tour, Wilson and his band chose selections from The Beach Boys’ 1968 release, “Friends.” Tracks such as “Wake of the World” and “Meant For You” made their respected appearances. Those in attendance backed Wilson and company every step of the way, and paid homage to the 77-year old’s true creative brilliance. The evening served as a special tribute, and further cemented the legacy of both headlining acts.