Skip to content Skip to footer

Live Review: The Beach Boys @ Wolf Trap — 6/2/24

The Beach Boys’ Endless Summer Gold Tour
Words by Dan Rozman
Photos by Mark Raker

As part of their Endless Summer Gold Tour, The Beach Boys brought their quintessential California sound to the perfect summer venue — Wolf Trap National Park’s Filene Center — on a recent beautiful afternoon. With mostly sunny skies, a nice breeze, and the lush trees surrounding the historic outdoor amphitheater, it was an ideal setting to revisit the timeless hits of America’s longest-running band. June marks the 50-year “Gold” anniversary of their classic Endless Summer album compilation.

The Filene Center at Wolf Trap, a pristine park located just outside Washington DC in Vienna, Virginia, has hosted countless legendary musicians since opening in 1971. With a covered pavilion seated area and the sloped lawn for picnicking, listening, and dancing, it makes for an incredible concert experience. On June 2, this sold-out Beach Boys show drew fans of all ages, from infants to those who saw the band perform in the 1960s.

The Beach Boys’ core touring members of original member Mike Love, Bruce Johnston, and friends have kept their musical legacy alive for decades. Additionally, this show featured special guest John Stamos. The actor first performed with the group back on July 4, 1985, in DC, beginning a lifelong friendship. Stamos’ love for the band shone through as he enthusiastically alternated between guitar, and drums, and even took the lead vocals on a few numbers.

The show kicked off around 3:15 pm following an intro video delayed slightly by backups on local roads. But once the band burst into classics like “Do It Again” and “Surfin’ Safari,” the energetic sing-along vibes quickly took over. The sharply dressed Stamos looked right at home pounding away on the drums for “Hawaii” before switching back to guitar.

The setlist spanned all eras of the Beach Boys’ career from their early surf rock anthems to their lush Pet Sounds/SMiLE period masterpieces. Highlights included a gorgeous “God Only Knows” dedicated to Carl Wilson, one of several ripping sax solos during “Shut Down,” the timeless harmonies of “Surfer Girl,” and Stamos’ heartfelt “Forever” dedicated to his late friend Bob Saget.

Watch a visualizer for “Surfer Girl” by The Beach Boys on YouTube:

Fun videos accompanied many tunes, adding SoCal nostalgia. Covers included the Ramones’ “Rockaway Beach” and Christian Love guesting on his “Sum Sum Summer.” Drummer Jon Bolton was a human whirlwind behind the kit, twirling his sticks while powering through the hits with fun-loving intensity. He even took lead vocals on “Wild Honey,” putting on an animated performance. The second set had gems like “California Dreamin’,” “Sloop John B,” and an epic “Good Vibrations.” A mid-set “Barbara Ann” saw the band invite kids to dance on stage. Bolton continued stealing the show on drums, trading licks with the animated Stamos.

Stamos, clearly living his dream, led “Forever” which he originally recorded with the band in 1992. At one point, he brought an excited Wolf Trap volunteer on stage for an impromptu dance. When on guitar, the beaming Stamos roamed the stage, jamming with different members.

The band summoned that magical spirit of youth and surf culture all afternoon. Wolf Trap’s intimate Filene Center provided a warm, laid-back vibe to hear the iconic tunes. With Christian Love and the other members’ involvement alongside Mike Love and Bruce Johnston, it’s clear The Beach Boys’ music will keep spreading good vibrations for years to come.

Certain aspects of the research and/or drafting for this piece may have employed AI


Set 1:
Intro Video
Do It Again
Surfin’ Safari
Catch a Wave
It’s OK
Rockaway Beach (Ramones cover)
Surfin’ USA
Surfer Girl
Sum Sum Summer (Christian Love cover)
Be True to Your School
In My Room
Don’t Worry BabyLittle Deuce Coupe
Shut Down
Little Honda
I Get Around

Set 2:
Disney+ Documentary Preview
The Warmth of the Sun (Dedicated to Brian Wilson)
God Only Knows (Dedicated to Carl Wilson)
When I Grow Up (to Be a Man)
You’re So Good to Me
Forever (with John Stamos) (Dedicated to Bob Saget with John Stamos on lead)
California Girls
California Dreamin’ (The Mamas & the Papas cover)
Sloop John B ([traditional] cover)
Wouldn’t It Be Nice
All Summer Long
Help Me, Rhonda
Wild Honey (Jon Bolton on lead)
Barbara Ann (The Regents cover)
Good Vibrations
Summertime Blues (Eddie Cochran cover)
Fun, Fun, Fun

Here are some photos of The Beach Boys performing at Wolf Trap on June 2, 2024. All pictures copyright and courtesy of Mark Raker.