Beach Boys at a Drive-In Concert — For the First Time in Decades? Wouldn’t It Be Nice to See a Traditional Concert?

Slowly, some entrepreneurs are striving to bring back a taste of live music. At Del Mar Fairgrounds last weekend The Beach Boys played two shows at a drive-in concert.
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 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.

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 Mike Love. His son Christian handled some of Carl Wilson’s vocals, with aplomb.
Vintage footage supplemented the live camera work on the screen surrounding the stage.
If you are remotely familiar with The Beach Boys, 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.

Brad Auerbach has been a journalist and editor covering the media, entertainment, travel and technology scene for many years. He has written for Forbes, Time Out London, SPIN, Village Voice, LA Weekly and early in his career won a New York State College Journalism Award.