We love you Brian! The spontaneous cry from the audience summed up the mood as former Beach Boy Brian Wilson launched into his first show in Oxford.

They were there to see a living legend. Not just the man behind all those bright and breezy Beach Boys' hits, but the genius whose imagination and technological irreverance revolutionised pop.

Such was the buzz of the crowd, it was impossible to hear what Brian said to his excitable admirer, but judging from the broad grins he flashed, he was clearly enjoying himself very much indeed -- as were the crowd, who were treated to one of the best shows seen in Oxford.

The warmth of the crowd was palpable, as Brian, accompanied by his charismatic backing band, launched into an informal, unplugged sing-along gathered around a mike stand left of stage, before assuming positions behind a vast array of instruments.

Starting with the obscure Hawaii, hits from Brian's back catalogue -- California Girls, Sloop John B , In My Room -- were combined with stuff from new album Gettin' in Over My Head, How Could We Still Be Dancin' and City Blues. But it was God Only Knows -- introduced by Brian as Paul McCartney's favourite song -- and Soul Searchin' -- which he announced as a tribute to his late brothers, Carl and Dennis -- were the emotional highpoints.

The second half featured a run-through of Brian's 'lost' masterpiece Smile. The crowd were mesmerized by the creative tour de force with its wild instrumentation from a 19-strong backing band wielding everything from xylophones, horns and violins to saws, hammers, bolt croppers, a tomato (!) and, of course, a theremin.

Wilson returned to the stage after a standing ovation for a feel-good round of Beach Boys' crowd pleasers -- including I get Around, Surfing USA, Fun, Fun, Fun, and Barbara Ann.

He left the stage to yet another ovation, walking off to the most rapturous applause of any performer I've ever seen -- and, most importantly, Smiling!