The Swiss embassy grounds looked like a typical Washington garden party Saturday - with straw hats, parasols and white pinafores - until Beach Boy Mike Love and his summer touring partners Celebration arrived in their flamboyant Hawaiian shirts.
Love and Celebration are on the road this summer promoting their soundtrack album for the upcoming movie "Almost Summer." Most of the tour dates are free concerts (MCA/Universal is footing the bill for the sake of the film and soundtrack), and Celebration donated its time Saturday to the Salvation Army Auxiliary's annual garden party.
Love and Celebration had approximately an hour to play, the first half of which consisted of tracks from "Almost Summer." The numbers were, for the most part, just the pale imitations of Beach Boys songs one might have expected.
The band managed to spur the audience to some excitement when they switched to a medley of old Beach Boy hits, but then they ran smack into a second problem: They weren't up to the material.
Vocals are essential to any rendition of "Fun, Fun, Fun" or "Barbara Ann," especially the high falsetto harmonies for which the Beach Boys became famous. Unfortunately, Love - who has been singing lead for the Beach Boys for years in concert, and has been known to sound terrific - only occasionally took command of the melody, and what harmonies could be heard, shouldn't have been.
Love, who has been "heavy" into transcendental meditation for years, invited the audience to a lecture he was giving that night on TM and its effect on creativity.He then went into a song dedicated to the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi which was a curious - not to mention out of tune - display of "creativity."
"Everyone falls in love with you. But you can't fall in love with anyone."