Paul McCartney – Hard Rock Calling / The Library Of Congress Gershwin Prize For Popular Song (King Snake KS024)

Hard Rock Calling
The Library Of Congress Gershwin Prize For Popular Song
(King Snake KS024)

Hyde Park, London, England – June 27th, 2010:  Intro., Jet, All My Loving, Letting Go, Got To Get You Into My Life, Let Me Roll It, Long And Winding Road, Let ‘Em In, My Love, I’m Looking Through You, Blackbird, Dance Tonight, Mrs Vanderbilt, Eleanor Rigby, Band On The Run, Obla Di Obla Da, Back In The USSR.

Hard Rock Calling / The Library Of Congress Gershwin Prize For Popular Song on King Snake collects together two Paul McCartney television appearances from the past summer.  Both are in excellent video quality, recorded straight from the telecasts in their respective countries.

Hyde Park was on June 27th.  McCartney headlined the show which also included Elvis Costello and Crosby, Stills and Nash.  Telecast on the following day, it contains most of the set performed on that day.  Given the time limitations, many songs are omitted including :  “Venus and Mars/Rockshow,” “Highway,” “1985,” “Two Of Us,” “Here Today,” “Ram On,” “Something,” “Sing The Changes,” and the final third of the show with “I Gotta Feeling,” “Paperback Writer,” “A Day In The Life,” “Let It Be,” “Live And Let Die,” “Hey Jude,” “Day Tripper,” “Lady Madonna,” “Get Back” and the encore set of “Yesterday,” “Helter Skelter,” “Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band” and “The End.”)  Omitted also is the “Foxy Lady” and “Tequila” references in “Let Me Roll It.”

The editing are in line with other current McCartney telecasts.  There are copious amounts of close ups, audience shots, and use of the moving camera to produce some a dynamic sense of the event.  What is here is very good and makes a good addition to the collection.  However, the editing is really poor since all of the interesting parts of the show are missing.  It makes me wonder what the BBC were thinking in airing this (unless there is a part two I’m not aware of).  

The White House, Washington, DC – June 2nd, 2010

Introduction by Barak Obama / artist line-up / Paul about the Gershwin Prize / rehearsal / arriving at the White House, Paul McCartney – Got To Get You Into My Life, Stevie Wonder – We Can Work It Out, The Jonas Brothers – Drive My Car, Jerry Seinfeld, Jack White – Mother Nature’s Son / That Would Be Something, Faith Hill – The Long And Winding Road, Herbie Hancock & Corinne Bailey Rae – Blackbird, Elvis Costello – Penny Lane, Emmy Lou Harris – For No One, Lang Lang – Celebration, Dave Grohl – Band On The Run, Paul McCartney & Stevie Wonder – Ebony And Ivory, speech Barak Obama / presentation of the Gershwin Prize / speech Paul McCartney, Paul McCartney – Michelle, Eleanor Rigby, Let It Be, Paul McCartney & guests – Hey Jude, Paul McCartney & The Loma Mar Quartet – Yesterday

The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song is given to a particular performer to recognize a lifetime of achievement in popular music.  The event was telecast on PBS stations.  King Snake use a copy made from WILL in Illinois. 

Established in 2008, Paul Simon and Stevie Wonder were the first two recipients.  McCartney is the first non-American to win the prize.  The telecast opens with a brief interview with Paul where he discusses how honored he is to receive it, and short footage of him rehearsing with the band.

After the president enters the room, Paul performs “Got To Get You Into My Life.”  Stevie Wonder then performs “We Can Work It Out,” repeating the title before a crowd of politicians.  He later joins Mr. McCartney for a duet on “Ebony and Ivory.”

The lineup also includes Herbie Hancock, Elvis Costello, the Jonas Brothers, Emmylou Harris, Faith Hill, Corinne Bailey Rae, Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters, and Jack White of the White Stripes, backed by Mr. McCartney’s touring band.

The president addresses McCartney’s influence upon popular music and jokes “we stole you” when acknowledging him being a British musician receiving an American award.  

Lang Lang, the Chinese classical pianist, performed one of Mr. McCartney’s classical compositions, “Celebration.” The rest of the concert was drawn from the Beatles and Mr. McCartney’s later career.

Elvis Costello sings “Penny Lane” after saying that Penny Lane was half a mile from where his mother grew up, and that when the song came on the radio, “Myself, my mum, my dad and the cat all stood up and took notice.” In a red dress uniform, Master Sgt. Matthew Harding, a member of the United States Marine Band, played the piccolo-trumpet solo.

Jerry Seinfeld adds a comic interlude (for some reason), interpreting some of Paul’s more absurd lyrics such as “She was just seventeen / you know what I mean” from “I Saw Her Standing There.” 

When accepting the Gershwin Prize, Paul applauded President Obama by saying, “Getting this prize would be good enough,” Mr. McCartney said. “But getting it from this president …”  He added that despite “difficult times” for the president, “you have billions of us who are rooting for you.” Then, with the first lady in the front row, Mr. McCartney sang “a song I have been itching to do at the White House” while leading the band into “Michelle” (President Obama’s wife’s first name).

Mr. McCartney ended the concert with a song that’s ideal for an all-star sing-along, “Hey Jude,” with the first family joining in.  This is the strongest and more interesting of the two telecasts on the DVD and makes it worth having alone.  The video quality is again pristine and the sound is very clear and enjoyable.   

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