Plus the news we've been waiting for...Brian Wilson To (finally) Play SMiLE in 2004!
Right: An advertisement for tickets for the Smile concert in England
There are very few mysteries in rock 'n roll left - one of them being The Beach Boys unreleased 1967 SMILE album. Depending on who you talk to, this album is either psychedelic genius or folly (Considering that only Brian knows the track order, any speculation is purely moot). Then on 5-22-03 came the news that SMILE fanatics were waiting for. Well, maybe not THE news, but it is close…
Breaking SMiLE news:
Brian Wilson is to Appear at London's Royal Festival Hall Performing his Lost Masterpiece "SMiLE" Live for the First Time. The 2004 Concert Tour to Include performances in the U.K. and Europe. The Smile tour kicks off in England, with the following dates:
More dates have been added since this initial list appeared and hopefully the Smile Tour will reach the U.S. Now this doesn't mean an official release of SMILE - but hearing Brian perform it live just might answer a few questions and fill in the gaps of what we know about the album. Brian has granted no interviews pertaining to the tour so we still don't know if there will be U.S. dates or even a live album (like he did for the PET SOUNDS tour). However, I am placing my bets that there is at least a live CD released and a DVD.
The problem with Brian playing SMiLE live is that it just might raise more questions than it answers. Will the 2004 set list be the tracklist as intended back in 1967, or will it be modified? The biggest mystery of SMiLE is "The Elements". Will Brian play the original lineup (known only to him) or will he take the easy way out and substitute "Windchimes", "Vegetables" and "Surf's Up" for the 'air', 'earth' and 'water' elements? Will he play "Child is Father of the Man" and "I'm In Great Shape"? We do have an idea about the time aspect of the SMiLE performance, since rumors existed before the official announcement that Brian had asked Jeff Foskett to put together a 35-minute Smile set for an upcoming tour in 2004. And most important, will this tour lead to an official release of SMiLE, or even a box set? We can only wait patiently and see. Hell, we have already waited 37 years, what's a few more months?
SMiLE Fan Mixes:
SMiLE is unique in rock 'n roll simply because of the way it was recorded; Brian Wilson had had great success in using a 'modular' format in creating "Good Vibrations" and wanted to apply this to a whole album. Since the album was shelved, bootlegs of the modular sound bites eventually surfaced on bootlegs. This led to the fan's abilities to "make their own SMiLE". I think some of the great appeal of Smile is the ability to 'do it yourself' and make your own mix of what you thought the album should have been. For instance, you can't really do this with any Beatles albums (the only 'scrapped' Beatles album was 'Get Back' and we pretty much know the various intended lineups and these have been available on bootlegs for years).
So, with that 'do it yourself' ethic in mind, we are going to feature four fan mixes of SMiLE, reviewing them and talking to their creators. So, until the official release of the album (or a box set), we have these won, won, wonderful audio gems to whet our appetites:
Past EAR CANDY articles about SMiLE:
It's no secret about my fascination with the unreleased SMiLE album. Over the past years we have had many articles that deal directly with SMiLE or talk about it. Here is a list of them:
Wanna learn more about SMiLE? Well go to the SMiLE ALBUM PRESERVATION SOCIETY links page. It's the best, most comprehensive and only regularly updated SMiLE source on the web: