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Brian Wilson Present SMiLE: The DVD


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11 replies to this topic

#1 of 12 OFFLINE   Patrick Larkin

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Posted May 27 2005 - 05:50 AM

Wow. I see no mention of this DVD. If I missed it, I apologize. Just came out this week. If you are a Brian Wilson fan, run out and get this DVD today.

I only managed to get through Disc 1 so far. It contains that terrific documentary Beautiful Dreamer. Its an excellent story of Wilson and SMiLE. The original footage of Wilson singing "Surf's Up" is worth it alone.

Disc 2 contains an entire live performance of SMiLE.

Highly Recommended!

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#2 of 12 OFFLINE   Steve_Knutzen

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Posted May 27 2005 - 03:42 PM

I definitely plan on picking this up as I'm a HUGE Brian Wilson fan. There've just been too many releases this month. I'll be seeing Brian in August. Can't wait!
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#3 of 12 OFFLINE   Matt Lucas

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Posted June 13 2005 - 02:05 AM

Hello all---

I'd highly recommend this release to any Brian Wilson or Beach Boys fan, as well as serious rock/pop music fans in general. For about 30 years, SMiLE was the most famous unreleased pop album of all time. I think it's important to note that SMiLE isn't for everyone; the music is at times adventurous, exciting, obtuse, goofy, ground-breaking, fun, and deeply moving. But it's probably the most unique pop-rock release of the last year [I'm referring to the CD]. I mean, how many rock-pop geniuses take 37 years to complete and release their masterpieces?

I'm a huge Beach Boys fan, so I was very skeptical when I heard that Wilson was rehearsing SMiLE with his great new band [including members of The Wondermints, former members of the Beach Boys' touring band, and many other talented musicians and singers]. I've heard the bootlegs of the original, unfinished SMiLE tunes. But the music---which is featured throughout the first disc and is presented in a live setting on the second---sounds fresh and modern, yet with a nice hint of nostalgia as well.

In short, Wilson pulled it off---he finally finished SMiLE, in spite of many mountains in his way [including some that he placed there himself].

For those unfamiliar with the story...well, if you get the DVD, the BEAUTIFUL DREAMER documentary pretty much tells it all. Back around 1966, Brian Wilson was on top of the pop music world, having cranked out numerous hits, culminating with PET SOUNDS, an album that often earns the top spot when people talk about the best pop album of all time. But Wilson wasn't finished---he followed PET SOUNDS with the "Good Vibrations" single, which---at the time---was like nothing anyone had heard before. The band had an unusual arrangement---Wilson would stay home to write and record music for the group's next album while the rest of the boys toured to promote the previous release. When they returned home to hear the work in progress, the boys were pretty much shocked to hear the music that Wilson had composed with collaborator and lyricist Van Dyke Parks. Gone were the surf, car and girl songs. They had been replaced with something strange and wonderous.

I don't want to ruin the story for those who haven't heard it and may see the DVD, but let's just say that several different things happen at the same time and caused work on the album to come to a screeching halt. Depending on who you talk to, the sprawling album was about 60 percent complete when work stopped. Some songs were nearly finished and ended up getting released on later albums ["Good Vibrations," "Wonderful," "Heroes and Villains," "Surf's Up," and a few others], while most of the remaining tracks lacked vocals and other parts.

BEAUTIFUL DREAMER tells the story in much more detail with the happy ending few Wilson fans ever thought would come true---the release of SMiLE. For me, the only problem with BEAUTIFUL DREAMER is that none of the Beach Boys were interviewed for the film. Granted, this would have been a difficult thing, because Wilson's brothers---Carl [singer-guitarist] and Dennis [drummer-singer]---have passed away and Wilson isn't exactly on great terms with the remaining members of the band. But it still would have been nice to hear their views firsthand rather than from others. Realistically, it probably couldn't have happened, and for all I know, the filmmakers attempted to contact surviving Beach Boys Mike Love, Al Jardine, and Bruce Johnston and the offer was refused. If that's the case, you couldn't blame them, because it would probably would not have presented them in a very positive light...

Anyway, this release comes with some wonderful [*wink*] extras, including some clips of Brian playing song SMiLE tunes at the piano, both solo and with friends. There's a great featurette on the recording of the SMiLE album, and it's amazing to see the "old" Brian [or as close as we'll probably ever get] come alive again as he leads the singers and musicians through the sessions.

The audio is great on this release, and the video is very good, too. It's presented enhanced for widescreen, which is always a plus for me.

regards,
mattl

#4 of 12 OFFLINE   Matt Lucas

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Posted June 13 2005 - 08:53 AM

Hello all---

According to this...

http://www.brianwils....r_tribune.html

...both Mike Love and Al Jardine were approached for interviews, but both declined. The same article also quotes Brian Wilson's keyboardist as saying that the original SMiLE was about 80 percent finished.

mattl

#5 of 12 OFFLINE   Anthony Thorne

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Posted June 13 2005 - 09:33 PM

Great disc. The concert set is wonderful, and I really like the doco. Very good release, this one.

#6 of 12 OFFLINE   PatWahlquist

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Posted June 14 2005 - 04:09 PM

Quote:
both Mike Love and Al Jardine were approached for interviews, but both declined. The same article also quotes Brian Wilson's keyboardist as saying that the original SMiLE was about 80 percent finished.


That's a really subjective percentage. No one, including Brian, knew how much of SMiLE was completed. Personally, I think it was closer to 60%. It's missing most of the main BB vocals, the backing tracks, numerous lyrical gaps, and the overall sequencing was never established in 1967. What's there is tremendous and I still hold out hope for an archival SMiLE box in the future.

I really don't think Mike and Al have anything to say about SMiLE. Mike was never for it as he didn't want to "f@@@ with the formula." Bruce has been very complimentary of it since the shows started in February, 04.

David Leaf should be getting the praise for the DVD. In listening to a couple interviews with him that came as a bonus CD from LSL, he details just how hard this project was, not only SMiLe, but BD. The love and enthusiasm he has placed in Brian and this project comes through and we should all recognize David's part in bringing SMiLe to the world.

The concert that was recorded for the DVD is great. I've heard numerous recordings of the tours and this may be the best of them. The bass seems lacking, however. Maybe a mixing issue.
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#7 of 12 OFFLINE   dave wright

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Posted June 15 2005 - 12:23 AM

Wonderful package,great documentry and incredible music.Will be seeing the tour here in jersey during august.

#8 of 12 OFFLINE   Steve Tannehill

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Posted June 15 2005 - 12:51 AM

Quote:
In listening to a couple interviews with him that came as a bonus CD from LSL


LSL?

Thanks - Steve

#9 of 12 OFFLINE   Matt Lucas

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Posted June 15 2005 - 01:00 AM

Hello all---

Pat wrote:
Quote:
That's a really subjective percentage. No one, including Brian, knew how much of SMiLE was completed. Personally, I think it was closer to 60%. It's missing most of the main BB vocals, the backing tracks, numerous lyrical gaps, and the overall sequencing was never established in 1967. What's there is tremendous and I still hold out hope for an archival SMiLE box in the future.

As I said in my original post [#4 in this thread], I think it was about 60 percent finished as well. The sequencing alone would have been a monumental task, particularly considering that it would have to have been done manually [it's a lot easier today because of digital editing software].

On the other hand, Darian's 80 percent estimate could be based on recordings that we haven't heard as well as ones we have. Even after all these years and the countless bootleg and official releases, there may still be SMiLE recordings that haven't reached the public.

But I agree with you, Pat, about the music. It's truly amazing. I don't know that anything could ever replace the original session recordings, but Brian's new SMiLE came closer than I ever thought it could. It truly is a masterpiece, and now that I've listened to it many times, the newer parts are starting to bleed together with the original ones, which---to me---is proof that Brian, Van Dyke, Darian, and the rest truly achieved what they set out to do.

Quote:
I really don't think Mike and Al have anything to say about SMiLE. Mike was never for it as he didn't want to "f@@@ with the formula." Bruce has been very complimentary of it since the shows started in February, 04.

Well, Mike Love isn't exactly known for being at a loss for words...! *grin* I would have preferred to have heard Mike and Al saying "We didn't really like it" or whatever themselves rather than having others quoting them. And I thought I remembered reading positive comments from Bruce in the past, but, again, I'd have liked to have seen him saying them himself in the documentary.

And you're right, Pat---in completing the documentary, David Lead pulled off a task that was, in its own way, probably just as difficult as the completion of SMiLE.

mattl

#10 of 12 OFFLINE   LaurenceGarvey

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Posted June 15 2005 - 09:23 AM

I'll just add my voice to those praising the whole project. I never thought I'd live long enough to see Brian "rediscovered" and it's particularly amazing to see a lot of young people enjoying SMILE. The new album takes its rightful place between PET SOUNDS and SGT. PEPPER and is a real keeper.

#11 of 12 OFFLINE   Nathan Phillips

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Posted June 15 2005 - 02:27 PM

I don't own this (don't kill me, but while I'm a **huge** BW/Beach Boys fan, I have yet to fall in love with "Smile", for various reasons too boring to approach here) but I must also mention that David Leaf's "Beautiful Dreamer" documentary is tremendous, and that's saying a lot because I dislike Leaf's writing intensely.

This post makes me sound ridiculously opinionated, but I guess that's what happens when a favorite subject comes up, eh? Posted Image

#12 of 12 OFFLINE   PatWahlquist

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Posted June 15 2005 - 02:29 PM

Quote:
As I said in my original post [#4 in this thread], I think it was about 60 percent finished as well. The sequencing alone would have been a monumental task, particularly considering that it would have to have been done manually [it's a lot easier today because of digital editing software].


There's a thread over at the Smileshop where Brian recently said that was a contributing factor to Smile's demise, that he lacked the technology to physically sequence it. Whatever, Brian and revisionist history.

Quote:
On the other hand, Darian's 80 percent estimate could be based on recordings that we haven't heard as well as ones we have. Even after all these years and the countless bootleg and official releases, there may still be SMiLE recordings that haven't reached the public.


Oh, there are more. In the hands of Beach Boys and their numerous associates, and quite a few collectors. What I wouldn't give for the rest of Surf's Up...

LSL is the DVD's production company. It may be David's company. LSL sold the DVD as a pre-order with a limited CD of interviews and the instrumental of Surf's Up and it was signed and numbered by David. They're still selling the DVD with the CD, but no longer signed and numbered. The interviews are awesome.
ISO "Lost" ARG prints from Kevin Tong, Olly Moss, Eric Tan and Methane Studios.  PM me if you want to sell!

All reviews done on a Marantz VP11S1 1080p DLP projector.

Displays professionally calibrated by Gregg Loewen of Lion AV.


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