Nearly four decades after he shelved what was thought to be his studio masterpiece, Brian Wilson brought his mythical album to London stages in February.
Fans and critics went wild for the Royal Festival Hall performances, and Wilson followed up with spring and summer shows across Europe.
The North American tour launches September 30 in Minneapolis, Minn., and hits theatres and concert halls for more than a month, wrapping November 2 in Los Angeles.
In 1967, the then-Beach Boy put Smile – his follow-up to the critically lauded Pet Sounds – aside after his record label and bandmates frowned on its complex, quasi-psychedelic compositions.
He claimed at the time that the album was not commercial, and it certainly would have made the band’s relatively straightlaced fans scratch their heads. Wilson described the album as a “teen-age symphony to God.”
Since then, it has gained a reputation as a could-have-been-great masterpiece, and bootlegs of the sessions have made the rounds among diehard Wilson fans.
The only song from the sessions that made it out wholly intact, “Good Vibrations,” with its strings and bizarre electronic instrument arrangement, has been one of The Beach Boys‘ most enduringly popular and critically lauded tunes.
Wilson and the Beach Boys released Smiley Smile in 1968, which owed much to the Smile sessions but was simplified for mass consumption.
All along, fans hoped Wilson would revisit his white whale, and word came out last year that he would stage the album in its entirety, as he originally intended, at performances in London.
The live debut of Smile at Royal Festival Hall February 20, preceded by a set of Beach Boys hits, received a five-minute standing ovation. By all accounts, it was worth the wait.
The story of the revival performance is the story of Wilson’s journey from a drug-addicted shut-in struggling with serious bouts of depression to a confident artist able to tackle the stage once again.
He returned to live performances a few years ago and last year staged Pet Sounds in its entirety, much to the delight of fans and critics across the globe.
This fall’s tour will feature Wilson performing with his 10-piece band, backed by a Swedish strings and brass octet. In addition to Smile, he’ll perform a number of classic Beach Boys songs and solo favorites, as well as selections from his recently released album, Getting In Over My Head.