Brian Wilson will bring good vibrations to Atlanta

BY MELISSA RUGGIERI

Brian Wilson has watched “Love & Mercy,” the new theatrical adaptation of his life, four times.

“Each time I liked it even more. I was fascinated with the people who portrayed me. They were very well done,” Wilson said last week.

Chatting briefly after a flight from northern California to San Diego, where he would perform the second of his 20-date summer tour with opener Rodriguez, Wilson praised the accuracy of the film — which stars Paul Dano as “Pet Sounds”-era Wilson and John Cusack as the musical legend in the ‘80s — and acknowledged that “the harder parts of my life were difficult to watch.”

Wilson’s complicated life story is certainly ripe for Hollywood and is handled with sincerity and sensitivity in “Love & Mercy.” Even the love story with wife Melinda (astutely played by Elizabeth Banks) earns validation from Wilson, who said he was pleased with the portrayal of the couple.

But while the Hollywood-ized story of Wilson’s life is nestled in theaters alongside summer blockbusters such as “Jurassic World” and “Inside Out,” his current musical journey has steered him back to the stage. He will perform in Atlanta on Friday at the Fox Theatre.

The career-spanning set lists from the first few dates of the tour have so far included Beach Boys chestnuts “Heroes and Villains,” “In My Room,” “God Only Knows,” “Little Deuce Coupe” (with tour guest Al Jardine), “Sail On, Sailor” (with other tour guest Blondie Chaplin on lead vocals) and the two songs Wilson said he enjoys playing most in concert “because they’re good records” — “California Girls” and “Good Vibrations.”

The show also includes a trio of tunes from Wilson’s current album, “No Pier Pressure,” released in April. “Sail Away,” “Runaway Dancer” and “One Kind of Love” are the choices Wilson plucked to play from the new release.

Wilson said he's seen "Love & Mercy," the movie about his life, four times.

Wilson, who turned 73 last week, worked on the album for about a year and was joined by younger artists including country darling Kacey Musgraves and Fun frontman Nate Ruess. The celebrated songwriter said he knew the album was ready to roll, “by the harmonies … we tried to make a lot of harmonies on the album.”

While he hadn’t yet met tour opener Rodriguez after the first night of the tour, Wilson was eager to shake hands with the man who was the topic of the fascinating 2012 documentary “Searching for Sugar Man.” The film won an Academy Award the following year for best documentary feature and turned the once-reclusive folk performer Sixto Rodriguez into a cult favorite who has now achieved single-moniker recognition.

Rodriguez is the only other name joining Wilson and his crew for the near future.

When asked if there were any plans for another Beach Boys reunion concert, such as the one in 2012 in celebration of the band’s 50th anniversary, Wilson responded resolutely, “At this point, no.”

CONCERT PREVIEW

Brian Wilson

With Rodriguez. 8 p.m. Friday. $46.50-$96.50. Fox Theatre, 660 Peachtree St. N.E., Atlanta. 1-855-285-8499, www.foxtheatre.org.

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About the Author

Melissa Ruggieri
Melissa Ruggieri
Atlanta Journal-Constitution staff writer Melissa Ruggieri covers music and entertainment news for the AJC. She remembers when MTV was awesome.  
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