Brian Wilson: The Beach Boy who bonds father and son

Brian Wilson: His voice damaged but still fabulous

Brighton, England (CNN)The Beach Boys' "Pet Sounds" is acclaimed as one of the finest albums of the last 50 years; it has a particularly special place in my heart, as the CD was on repeat in our Brighton apartment while my partner Fiona was in the final throes of labor, about to deliver our first son.

The sublime masterpieces "God Only Knows," "Caroline No," and "Don't Talk (Put Your Head On My Shoulder)" helped to ease the pain and keep us calm when for the first, and possibly last, time in his life, Evelyn arrived before he was expected -- without a midwife present.
The way we were: Peter and Evelyn pictured in 1998
All turned out well though: I took the only decent catch of my sporting career; the midwife eventually turned up, and mother and baby were both thankfully healthy.
    Evelyn grew up into a fine young man with largely impeccable music taste. And unsurprisingly for someone whose arrival into the world was soundtracked by the Beach Boys -- but perhaps unusually for a teenager -- "Pet Sounds" is now his favorite album.
    So we were excited when the album's main creator Brian Wilson announced that in the album's 50th anniversary year, he would perform the album in full at Brighton's Together The People festival, within walking distance of our home -- especially as there are few occasions when a studiously cool 17-year-old is prepared to be seen in public with his parents.

    Good set of lungs

    "Pet Sounds" was a famously difficult album for Wilson to record, and the pressure of following it up left him a broken man. It's little short of a miracle that he continues to perform live given his fragile health, but I still feared the concert might be a disappointment for Evelyn, especially if the performance bore little resemblance to that of the original album.
    I need not have worried though: while the 74-year-old doesn't have the falsetto voice he had five decades ago, he still has a good set of lungs. An 11-piece band -- featuring Beach Boys co-founder Al Jardine on rhythm guitar -- perfectly recreated the rich and intricate melodies while the backing singers hit the notes Wilson couldn't quite reach.
    17 years on: Father and son at the Brian Wilson concert
    The experience of seeing Wilson live was special for our son too: "It was really emotional hearing the album I was born to being done live," he said. "I didn't even mind the pouring rain because 'Pet Sounds' is quite melancholy anyway."
    "The best song Wilson did was 'Sloop John B' -- it was just so perfect hearing a sea shanty sung in a park near the beach. I sang along to the whole album, and left the gig feeling warm and fuzzy -- it was wonderful hearing the album that's bonded me to my parents since before I was even born," Evelyn recalled.
    Of the hundreds of concerts I've been to over the years, this was one of the most amazing. To see Wilson in the local park where our children have played over the years, and at such a beautifully relaxed festival was a privilege.
    For any other act, the wet weather might have spoiled the occasion. But tonight, after sharing the experience with Evelyn of listening to a legend singing his greatest work, his voice damaged but still fabulous, the raindrops only merged with our tears of joy.