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Expect 'Fun, Fun, Fun' when Beach Boys surf into Palace Theatre

| Saturday, April 6, 2013, 12:36 a.m.

Although spring, Monday night at The Palace Theatre in Greensburg will be filled with the sounds of summer when The Beach Boys take the stage.

This is the second time the boys of summer have appeared at The Palace. The last time was December 2011, when the infamous California-born group played to a sold-out crowd.

The band has entertained multiple generations in the 50 years they have been together. In that time period, the Beach Boys have had a torrent of hit singles and sold albums by the tens of millions. But the group's greater significance is that it has changed the musical landscape so profoundly that the bar was set very high for every pop act that followed since the early 1960s.

“It's just the timelessness and the positivity of their music. You can't listen to ‘Good Vibrations' and be sad,” said publicist Jay Jones of Jay Jones Music. “Every generation has adopted them as their own.”

The Beach Boys play an astoundingly busy schedule of concerts, averaging 150 shows a year.

Longtime member Bruce Johnston on vocals / keyboard said the band has just come off a tour of Asia that included Tokyo, Shanghai and Hong Kong, where they played at a rugby halftime show in front of 60,000 spectators.

“Playing the big stadiums can be pretty cool, but I like playing the performing-arts theaters best because they are usually old and very beautiful to look at,” Johnston said.

Johnston joined The Beach Boys in 1965, replacing Glenn Campbell, who filled in for Brian Wilson when he retired from touring. Highly regarded as a singer-songwriter, Johnston has shared his vocal talents with such legendary artists as Elton John and Pink Floyd. Johnston won a Grammy for writing Barry Manilow's “I Write the Songs.”

Johnston said that after all these years, he still loves to travel around the world and play music for the fans.

“In some of the audiences we get, there will be parents with their children and sometimes even their grandchildren, and I get a real kick out of seeing the three generations together,” he said.

In addition to Johnston, the band consists of founding Beach Boy Mike Love, lead vocals.

Love's role as the band's front man sometimes overshadows his stature as one of rock's foremost songwriters.

“Surfin' ” — the Beach Boys' first hit, came from his pen.

With his cousin Brian Wilson, Love wrote the classics “Fun, Fun, Fun”; “I Get Around”; “Help Me Rhonda”; “California Girls”; and the Grammy-nominated “Good Vibrations.” Years later, he showed he still had the lyrical chops by co-writing the irresistible and chart-topping “Kokomo.”

Johnston said the group will play many of their popular numbers but also some of the less-heard songs on their album.

“Like to keep it fresh so the audience does not get bored,” he said. “We change the show every night so it is always different.”

Other members of the band include: Christian Love (guitar / vocals), Randell Kirsch (bass / vocals), Tim Bonhomme (keyboards / vocals), John Cowsill (percussion / vocals) and Scott Totten (guitar / vocals).

Gary Latshaw of Latshaw Productions of Greensburg is the show promoter.

This is a very, very strong area for vocal harmonies. The audiences here are wise to the intricacies of vocal harmonies, and they appreciate groups like The Beach Boys that definitely have their own sound,” Latshaw said. “That is one reason they sell out. The other is, their music has a way of touching your soul, and you remember where you were and what you were doing when you first heard their songs. That is why they were one of the best shows we have ever had at The Palace.”

The Beach Boys will perform one show only on Monday: 8 p.m. at The Palace Theatre, 21 W. Otterman St., Greensburg. Ticket prices are $55, $65 and $75 and can be purchased online at www.thepalacetheatre.org or by calling the box office at 724-836-8000.

Linda Harkcom is a freelance writer.

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