One performer after another attempted to re-create Brian Wilson’s artistic vision — a blend of rock, classical and harmonic elements — on Friday night at the Hollywood Palladium.
Fifteen performers saluted the Beach Boy, and Recording Academy’s MusiCares person of the year, then let the honoree lead his band through spirited versions of “Heroes and Villains,” “God Only Knows” (with India.Arie), “Good Vibrations” and “Love and Mercy.”
Among the performers, Michael McDonald and Billy Preston turned in a soulful reading of “Don’t Worry Baby”; Jamie Cullum, backed by the gospel act Fred Martin and the Levi Camp, had similar results on “Sail on Sailor”; Jeff Beck turned the intricate melody of “Surf’s Up” into a guitar tour de force; and Neil Young had a ball with “In My Room.”
“Brian Wilson did whatever it took to bring those good vibrations to the world,” said Van Dyke Parks, Wilson’s collaborator on “Smile,” the album that was begun in 1966, abandoned a year later and completed in 2004. Evening opened with Wilson Band guitarist Jeffrey Foskett auctioning a leather-bound collection of lyrics and lead sheets for the songs on “Pet Sounds” handwritten by Wilson. The one-of-a-kind collection went for $105,000. A silent auction was held during the evening’s cocktail reception.