Beach Boys’ Drive-In Concert: A California Love-In

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The set-up at Del Mar Fairgrounds on Oct. 24, 2020 (Photo via Mike Love’s Facebook page)

Slowly, some entrepreneurs are striving to bring back a taste of live music. At Del Mar (Calif.) Fairgrounds on October 24 the Beach Boys played two shows at a drive-in concert, part of four Concerts in Your Car series that they performed in California and Arizona that weekend.

It was not quite that to which we had been accustomed, but it was far better than watching kitchen concerts at home.

The cars were arrayed in five concentric circles, in about 270 degrees around the stage. The fine print on the tickets (priced at $99 per car) warned that cars over 6.5 feet tall (I am looking at you, Mrs. Denali and Mr. Suburban) would be parked at the rear, but that memo didn’t find its way to the parking gendarmes. Nonetheless, the big screens on each side of the stage afforded everyone an unobstructed view.

Photo: Brad Auerbach; used with permission

Mike Love, the elder statesman (and only original member of this iteration) of the group was likely the only guy on stage who had already played a drive-in concert (admittedly four to five decades earlier). Say what you will about his lawsuit against his cousin Brian Wilson or his politics, you aren’t likely to see many performers staring down their 80th birthday enjoying himself as much as Love.

Related: Our interview with Mike Love

His son Christian handled some of Carl Wilson’s vocals, with aplomb.

Watch a clip from the day before in Ventura County

Vintage footage supplemented the live camera work on the screen surrounding the stage.

If you are remotely familiar with the Beach Boys (and who isn’t?), you can probably put together the set list with accuracy. The band’s songbook assembled by Brian Wilson is about as iconic as any in America, and it delighted the crowd. With attendees ranging in age from those there at the band’s beginning to those still shy of their first decade, a splendid time was had by all.

And here’s how fans of a certain age would have seen them perform for the first time…

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Brad Auerbach
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  1. Timflyte
    #1 Timflyte 2 November, 2020, 00:53

    That’s fantastic. Keepin’ the summer alive !!!

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  2. Marsia
    #2 Marsia 2 November, 2020, 12:57

    I was at Brian Wilson’s first concert (Hollywood Bowl) after decades of him not performing live. He was amazing, we could see his fear melting away as the crowd showed him our love of his performing.
    The one time I saw what I thought was the Beach Boys live the sound was off, then I learned Brian Wilson was the voice of the original BB.
    Mike Love doesn’t compare to the quality of voice, creativity, and compassion of Brian Wilson.

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  3. maj. general v. oliver harmon md
    #3 maj. general v. oliver harmon md 7 November, 2020, 08:53

    len barry i met you at the Rumpus room club in millbrook,ny, you were a mister personality type guy, Great, i will always miss you

    Reply this comment

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