The Beach Boys' long history as a touring band saw them gradually transformed from the five original members -- Brian, Carl, and Dennis Wilson, Mike Love, and Al Jardine -- into a large unit of uncredited sidemen led by some combination of the founders. Brian Wilson stopped touring in 1964, eventually replaced by Bruce Johnston; Dennis Wilson died in 1983; and after Carl Wilson's death in 1998, Jardine split from Love and Johnston, who retained the group name. At the end of the '90s, there were three separate factions on the road playing Beach Boys music: Brian Wilson, Love and Johnston's Beach Boys, and Jardine, who mounted a group featuring his sons Matthew and Adam, Brian Wilson's daughters Carnie and Wendy (formerly of Wilson Phillips), and some of the Beach Boys' longstanding supporting players, such as Billy Hinsche (formerly of the '60s group Dino, Desi and Billy). Jardine was sued by Love and Johnston, and was ultimately forced to drop all references to the Beach Boys in his band's billing, leaving it to be called "Al Jardine, Family & Friends" Jardine's Live in Las Vegas was recorded in November 1999, relatively early in the band's existence, but it gives a good sense of the band's attributes. Jardine rarely sang lead on Beach Boys' songs (a major exception being the hit "Help Me, Rhonda"), so there are precious few original vocalists singing the Beach Boys songbook here. But Jardine did spend his adult life touring in the Beach Boys, and the arrangements are exact. For a night out, the group recreates the Beach Boys' sound almost as well as the band that was touring under that name at the same time, but a recording inevitably suffers in comparison to the original recordings. Jardine adds an amusing protest song, "California Energy Blues," as a bonus track.
AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann