Al Jardine & His Endless Summer Band

Al Jardine & His Endless Summer Band • May 25, 2024 • Scera Shell Outdoor Theater

Reviewed and Photographed by Josilyn Wakkuri Lybbert

On May 25, 2024, The Music of The Beach Boys brought by Al Jardine, Carnie and Wendy Wilson, and Matt Jardine was the kickoff show for the season for Scera Shell Outdoor Theater in Orem! 

It was my first time at this venue. I was so impressed with the kindness of the staff there. My husband was equally as impressed with their reasonable concession prices! Venue workers all adorned leis. There was a vintage Volkswagen Beetle with surfboards, and beach balls were scattered throughout the area. This made for a perfect setting to welcome one of the founding members of The Beach Boys and many of his friends and family who all played their own role in The Beach Boys in different seasons of the iconic, legendary band!

Leading up to this concert, I kept thinking about when I was eight or nine years old and, for months, would anxiously and excitedly count down the days until I got to go to a Beach Boys tribute show in my little hometown in Washington. It’s shows like these that I wish I could go back in time and tell younger me about! 

With less than thirty minutes to show time, it began to rain. The stage crew brought out tarps to protect the equipment. I was worried that the show wasn’t going to materialize due to Utah’s unpredictable weather patterns! Luckily, the rain didn’t last too long, and the crew started to uncover the equipment again! While I waited for the events to start, I got to chat with some fans who had been following The Beach Boys since their early days. It was really fun to hear about their experiences!

Before the concert began, a group of local veterans from Orem gave a very reverent, touching presentation for Memorial Day. They displayed flags and honored each branch of the military, prisoners of war, and all veterans. “Taps,” was played by a trumpeter and was followed by a 21-gun salute.

Following that, part of the band got settled on stage, and the announcer let the crowd know that unfortunately Al Jardine was very ill and would not be joining the band that night. But the show would still go on with his son, Matt Jardine, and the Beach Boy mastermind Brian Wilson’s daughters. Who are also well known for their band Wilson Phillips, Carnie, and Wendy! They opened up the night with, “California Girls”. It was a sweet sight to see fans of all ages, but especially those who have been fans for decades, immediately light up in response to the classic hit! I’ve said it before, but, while photographing any show is a joy, for the avid music fan that I am, it’s a beyond special feeling to be able to sing along to songs that I love while taking pictures. That’s exactly how I felt during, “California Girls!”

After the first song, Matt, Carnie, and Wendy introduced themselves and assured the audience that they were in very good hands even with Al’s absence. Just from the first song alone, there was no doubt about that! Between the three with The Beach Boys quite literally in their blood, and their all-star band, including a fifty-year Beach Boys veteran Bobby Figueroa on drums, Randall Kirsch on bass who has toured with many members of The Beach Boys, and more, Debbie Shair on keys who has also played for Heart and The Beach Boys, and Rob Bonfiglio on guitar who is married to Carnie who said, “he tours a lot,” – clearly, the show really was in phenomenal hands!

Matt, Carnie, and Wendy talked about how proud they are of their Beach Boys heritage. Carnie shared that at the premiere of “The Beach Boys,” documentary earlier that week, she took a touching photo of her father’s silhouette watching the film as an image of him as a young man was displayed on the screen!

During, “Catch A Wave,” a group of girls were up and dancing. A woman seated next to me also had some good dance moves. She said, “What they should be doing is the jerk, pony, and swim! That’s how we danced to these songs back in the day!”

They all then told the story of a song that Brian Wilson had submitted in a music class that his teacher gave him an F on. Decades later, he took that song back and received an A! The song was the beautiful, endearing, “Surfer Girl.” The harmonies were tight and smooth in a way that only a Beach Boys song can be. Matt provided that iconic falsetto tone unique to the band and the Wilson sisters harmonized beautifully with him!

Carnie sang lead for the beginning of, “Don’t Worry Baby.” Her voice was perfect for that one! Her tone brought a sweetness that matched the sweetness of the lyrics. It was a beautiful rendition. Prior to the song, she told the story of how the song came to be. When The Beatles released Rubber Soul, Brian Wilson told Carnie’s mom, Marilyn, that he didn’t know if he could compete with it. She responded, “Don’t worry baby, it’s going to be great.”  

Part of the way through the show, Carnie took a video of the crowd singing, “We love you, Al, oh yes we do,” to send to him as a get-well wish from everyone. Band members said we all sounded good and lovingly joked that it sounded like a choir was in attendance!

They dedicated, “God Only Knows,” to Brian. The song is his favorite, and they mentioned that it’s Paul McCartney’s favorite Beach Boys song, too! (While I’m most certainly not Brian Wilson or Paul McCartney, it’s my favorite too!) It was the second time that I’d seen this song performed live, and I was awe-struck! The harmonies and the vocal arrangements are an absolute spectacle on the track and even more so in person! Between the musicality and the lyrics, it’s such a lovely song!

After, “Sloop John B,” Matt told a story about his father, Al, and Brian. They had gone on tour together in 2022. He noted that it was likely Brian’s last tour (UCR was lucky enough to catch them on that tour). When they would sing, “Sloop John B,” instead of singing the lyrics, “This is the worst trip I’ve ever been on,” they would sing, “This is the best trip I’ve ever been on,” and would look and smile at each other. What a heartwarming story!

During, “Help Me, Rhonda,” the band brought up someone on stage who had a, “Help Me, Rhonda,” shirt on to sing and play the tambourine. They also brought another person on stage to sing along, too! The energy was really up for this song! Beach balls were being passed through the crowd and more people were up dancing! It was a fun scene!

For one of their encores, Carnie and Wendy sang their popular hit from their time in Wilson Phillips, “Hold On.” This one also got everyone excited and dancing! 

Bassist Randall Kirsch took the lead on vocals for the final tune of the night, “Fun Fun Fun!” His voice sounded awesome with that one! All the fans, as the song would encourage, were having so much fun! 

After the show was over, the members of the crowd that still remained got to enjoy an impressive fireworks show set to a variety of well-known songs!

Though there’s no doubt that Al Jardine was missed. Matt Jardine, Carnie Wilson, Wendy Wilson, and the talent-packed band put on such a wonderful show that their Beach Boys family and friends should be so proud of! It was a joy to be there listening to beautiful renditions of all of our favorite Beach Boys songs! I am, as I’m sure all in attendance were, so grateful that the show still went on! Here’s to sending well wishes to Al for a speedy recovery!

2 Replies to “Al Jardine & His Endless Summer Band”

  1. I LOVE the Beach Boys! I love Carnie and Wendy too. I’ve lived in Connecticut for 26 years now. I am from Salt Lake City and the Scera Shell and Theatre is a favorite venue of mine. I saw the great Charlton Heston speak there and Arnold Freiberg’s Ten Commandments movie paintings were displayed in the lobby that evening! I also saw Frankie Valli perform at the Shell!

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