On a lovely sunny day last summer I put on some Beach Boys as I weeded the patio… on Saturday 16 November, 1973, CC and an English rose I’d met in LA called Caroline, who was working as an au pair in Santa Monica, drove down to Anaheim Stadium to watch The Beach Boys in concert. This was a really big deal for me. I’d loved The Beach Boys for years and seen them in London a couple of times but now I was going to see them in their own backyard, in Southern California, which to me was like seeing The Beatles in Liverpool or The Who in Shepherds Bush. I dressed the part, white jeans, tight t-shirt, trainers; Caroline too, and she was blond with an hour-glass figure which helped, though neither of us were sufficiently tanned to be the real deal. In the car park were woodies with surf boards on roof racks, so the locals took it as seriously as I did.
It was a fabulous concert, just a great big fun-filled party, all swept along by an arena-sized sell-out crowd that danced in the aisles and sang along to every word – and there’s nothing closer to Beach Boys nirvana than hearing REAL California girls, like thousands of ’em, singing along to ‘California Girls’: countdown… ‘I couldn’t wait to get back in the states’, ignition… ‘back to the cutest girls in the world’, lift-off... ‘I wish they all could be…’, and the whole sodding place simply exploded into song. Magic!
Caroline and I stayed at the nearby Disneyland Hotel that night and spent most of the next day at Disneyland so the weekend turned into a five-star California experience for us. Then, that evening, on the drive back to LA, she told me she’d decided to return to the UK, back to her childhood sweetheart in Kent who was studying to become a lawyer. Caroline No… sorry couldn’t resist that. Last I heard she was still married to him and is a grandmother now. C’est la vie.
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