CHAUTAUQUA – Summertime is the perfect time for music made in California, beach balls and Hawaiian shirts.
Those enjoying the sights and sounds of Chautauqua Institution on Friday evening were treated to a performance by none other than the American classic rock band The Beach Boys.
Just about every seat in the house was filled during the event, and many onlookers stood or sat around the amphitheater. It’s not the first time the surfer-rock icons graced the stage at Chautauqua, and it was obvious by the sheer number of adoring fans.
According to Marty Merkley, vice president and director of programming at Chautauqua, upholding the tradition of having The Beach Boys back for another year is an honor.
“The Beach Boys are the iconic American soundtrack of the 1960s and 1970s,” Merkley said. “Everybody, whether you’re 3 or 93, knows the songs of The Beach Boys. The concert is 90 minutes, and straight through every song is a hit – that’s The Beach Boys. The crowd is back to the rafters, and everybody of every age loves it.”
The Beach Boys’ Chautauqua Institution performance featured original members Mike Love and Bruce Johnston, who were backed by a full band.
The group opened their set by performing tunes such as: “Little Honda,” “Catch A Wave” and “Hawaii.”
After about five songs, Love joked about taking an intermission because it was nap time, but instead he opted to do a slow song, to which he asked everyone in the audience to bring out their cellphone – classic lighter to the sky style.
“It’s nice to be back at this beautiful facility,” said Love.
The group also played a number of other classics, including: “Surf City,” “Surfer Girl,” “Surfin’ Safari,” “Getcha Back,” “When I Grow Up (To Be A Man),” “Good Timin'” and “Darlin’.”
Donna Sperry, New Visions employee, brought several of her clients to the event because they are huge fans of The Beach Boys, she said.
“I come at least twice a season with the individuals,” said Sperry. “Our clientele is just like everybody else, and we have some individuals who are absolutely crazy about The Beach Boys. Sometimes they’ll save their money for months, but it’s worth it because the accommodations here are amazing.”
Andrew and Karen Lewand, of Rochester, traveled to Chautauqua to see The Beach Boys for the third time.
“I’m very excited because their tunes represent essence of summertime – and this is a beautiful venue to have them at,” said Andrew. “Every time The Beach Boys come my wife and I drive from Rochester.”
Eric Barmore, of Gerry, sat front row center to be as close to the stage as possible because he loves The Beach Boys and their music, he said.
The Beach Boys’ most recent release, “That’s Why God Made the Radio,” was released in 2012 alongside the band’s 50th anniversary. It was the band’s 29th studio album.
Chautauqua Institution will host several other popular entertainment acts this summer, such as: Conversations with Paul Simon and Billy Collins, Friday; KC And The Sunshine Band and Village People, Friday, Aug. 23; and Amy Grant, Saturday, Aug. 24.
For more information, call 357-6250 or visit www.ciweb.org.