Shippensburg trades snow for sand with The Beach Boys

Original beach boys, Mike Love, alongside of Bruce Johnston, who joined The Beach Boys in the mid 1960s, lead the band in its cover-all set list.

The Beach Boys combated the spring snowstorm that coated Shippensburg in more than 14 inches of snow with buoyant tunes — hoping to thaw the frozen memories of salty waves and warm sunrays.

Mike Love, an original member of The Beach Boys, told the crowd that the previous day’s show in New Jersey was canceled due to the wintry weather. However, the band still managed to make its trek to the H. Ric Luhrs Performing Arts Center on Thursday, and so did the majority of the sold out show ticketholders. 

The concert commenced with a flashback video that revisited the highlights of the band’s three decades of glory. This reminiscent compilation was appropriately followed by a performance of the song that started everything for The Beach Boys — “Surfin’ Safari.” 

Throughout the night the group did not hold back momentum, and instead flooded the venue with the pleasing sound of its popular songs, including “Catch a Wave,” “Do It Again” and “Surfin’ U.S.A.”

After several songs, Love played “the age card” on the audience as he comically admitted that the perpetual late nights that touring demands is catching up to him. 

“An intermission followed by a nap sounds good right now,” Love joked. 

But The Beach Boys delayed the intermission and powered through the inflated feeling of exhaustion with a song that Love dedicated to the ladies in attendance — “Surfer Girl.”

During “Surfer Girl” the audience was encouraged to pull out their smartphones, activate their flashlight applications to mimic lighters, and sway their devices back and forth to the song’s fluid rhythm. One by one, several hundred gleaming dots illuminated the dim orchestra and balcony areas. From the stage the starry lights resembled the brilliant Milky Way, Love said. 

However, the somber aura that “Surfer Girl” emitted was resurged to liveliness, with succeeding songs, “Good to My Baby,” “Darlin’” and “Be True To Your School.”

“Be True To Your School,” prompted clamor among the Pennsylvania natives in attendance as The Beach Boys flashed candid pictures of cheerleaders and the logos for Ohio State and Penn State universities on the screen hung behind the stage. The venue fell silent when Ohio State appeared on the screen, but expectedly rose to a roaring frenzy in support of the culture that surrounds Penn State athletics.

The Beach Boys wrapped up the first half of the show on a spirited note with hit songs, “Little Deuce Coupe,” “409” and “I Get Around,” before briefly unwinding during the sought-after intermission that Love teased of earlier.

The band returned from the break with renditions of The Mamas & the Papa’s “California Dreamin’” and traditional Bahamian song, “Sloop John B,” before jumping back into a series of The Beach Boys’ beloved original hits. 

While the audience received a taste of fan favorites early on with “Surfin’ U.S.A” and “I Get Around,” The Beach Boys delayed the delivery of others until the show’s wind down, including “Wouldn’t It Be Nice,” “God Only Knows,” “Kokomo,” “Help Me Rhonda” and “Good Vibrations.”

In addition to old hits, the band also highlighted the continued artistic growth of Love by incorporating songs from his 2017 solo album “Unleash the Love” into the set list. Some of Love’s personal songs that he introduced the audience to were title song “Unleash the Love,” “Cool Head, Warm Heart” and “All the Love in Paris.”

Covering remarkable ground by performing a total of 37 songs throughout the course of the show, The Beach Boys kept the songs rolling and the fans on their toes with bottomless tunes, so that the end was a happily distant uncertainty. 

Even when the band left the stage to signify the end, it was still not the end. Motivated by the crowd’s generous cheers, The Beach Boys returned bearing more songs in a two-song encore of “Barbara Ann” and “Fun, Fun, Fun.” 

And with 37 songs chiming in the ears of fans as they headed to their vehicles to embark in the second part of their snowy round-trip, at least they could say that The Beach Boys made the trip well worth it.

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