If you're just tuning in, this year I'm attending all 12 Grandstand shows, as a feat of State Fair endurance, My interest in these shows ranges from mild to nonexistent. Make sure to check in each day as I lose more and more of myself to this misguided task.
Day 5: Beach Boys
8:45—The Righteous Brothers Bill Medley sings “Unchained Melody” solo. A contender for the greatest song of all time. Seeing it live is a treat.
9:30—The remnants of the Beach Boys race to their positions on stage. Video behind the set projects a montage of the band in their heyday.
9:32—John Stamos arrives, stands front and center playing a red, white and blue guitar. The same John Stamos who played Uncle Jesse in Full House tours with the Beach Boys.
9:42—Beloved popular entertainer Mike Love runs through fluff hit “Surfing USA.” The 77-year-old singer mimes riding a surf board during the chorus.
9:44—John Stamos given proper introduction. A satisfying answer for Stamos’ inclusion in the band is not given, leaving the audience perplexed.
9:52—The Beach Boys have a proxy Brian Wilson who takes the lead for “Don’t Worry Baby.” The song is still great if a proper reminder that the band is missing their genius leader and best vocalist.
10:06—Uncle Jesse gets behind the kit and plays a drum solo. It’s a surreal moment in a night full of them.
10:16—John Stamos is embraced at center stage by Mike Love.
10:21—The Boys run through “God Only Knows.” It’s apropos that John Stamos is still on stage.
10:30—A new Beach Boys song is played, presumably for fans of the band’s recent output?
10:37—“Wouldn’t It Be Nice,” the best Beach Boys song.
10:41—There’s a moment in “California Girls” when John Stamos takes over lead vocals.
10:54—The set closes with “Good Vibrations.” John Stamos will forever eclipse the music in my memory of having seen the Beach Boys.
Day 6: Jason Mraz
8:47—Jason Mraz takes the stage. It’s the smallest crowd of the Grandstands so far. This may be due, in part, to the fact that Jason Mraz is terrible.
8:58—Mraz is rapping now and it’s horrifying.
9:00—Jason looks like a guy who buys a Plan B pill before a first date.
9:05—If you think the Jason Mraz songs you’ve heard on the radio are bad, you should hear the rest of his music. This is painful.
9:07—“The Remedy” is an all-time stinker. I hate that I know the words to this song.
9:11—What podcast should I listen to?
9:15—Band is dressed in oversized one-piece jumpsuits. Mraz has a tiny barbershop quartet hat on which would look ridiculous if he weren’t Jason Mraz.
9:18—Mraz is for some reason giving a speech about why we should replace the word “fuck” with “love” in our vocabulary. Love off, Mraz.
9:22—There’s a giant sign advertising “Good Vibes” that’s hung above this relentlessly vibe-killing concert.
9:28—The rain is coming down. Presumably, God wants this concert to end too.
9:32—Jason Mraz writes lyrics with the care of a drunken carnival barker.
9:36—I’m watching a Jason Mraz concert in the cold rain. Karma is real.
9:38—How can someone who spends so much time scatting and hip-hoppin’ be this low energy? Time has ground to a halt.
9:45—I just don’t see why people like this shit. It’s repulsive. The lowest common denominator of music.
9:56—Hopeless Aretha Franklin tribute. Lightning inexplicably fails to strike Mraz.
10:03—“Why are we here? To say our hellos and goodbyes and disappear?” This is some of the philosophy of Mraz, a void of personal interrogation.
10:10—This is one degree removed from Christian summer camp entertainment. The gospel is all that’s missing.
10:22—“I’m Yours” is a horrifying reality of popular music. I want to dip my ears in acid.
10:30—Mraz is rapping again and this is unquestionably the worst concert I’ve ever been to.