Monday, October 25, 2004

Just watched the documentary Beautiful Dreamer: Brian Wilson and the Story of SMiLE that's airing on Showtime, and it's a fascinating look at the history of the album, with lots of commentary from some interesting people. It also shows his touring band (aka the Wondermints) rehearsing the material with a initially reluctant Brian (he said he even went to the hospital after the first day, he was so agitated), who begins to warm up to the task. It also shows a lot of the nuts-and-bolts of piecing the eccentric song suite together, even to the point of getting original lyricist Van Dyke Parks back in to write new words, and courtesy of keyboardist Darian Sahanaja's webcam - we get to see them at work. Finally, the whole thing culminates in concert footage of the group performing the album with the likes of Parks, Paul McCartney and George Martin in attendance. In fact, one of the film's most touching scenes gives us Parks' reaction after the show is complete and the crowd is giving Brian and Co. a standing ovation; he's quite visibly overwhelmed, moved to tears, unable to get out of his seat. Fortunately, Brian manages to get him up when he asks him to join the band onstage for another ovation.

If you've been digging SMiLE- and if you have I hope it's because you were persuaded to check it out by my comments on it a few weeks ago- you owe it to yourself to catch this when you get the opportunity. It's one of the best music documentaries I've ever seen, for sure, and further affirms what a wonderful thing has occurred with this whole project.

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