Paul McCartney – Here And There Live! Vol. 2 (Audiofön AF-08)

Here And There Live!  Vol. 2 (Audiofön AF-08)

Party At The Palace – June 3rd, 2002:  Dame Edna, Her Majesty, Blackbird, George Martin, While My Guitar Gently Weeps (with Eric Clapton), Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band / The End, All You Need Is Love, Prince Charles, Hey Jude (complete), I Saw Her Standing There, The Long And Winding Road, With A Little Help From My Friends.

Air Canada Centre, Toronto, ON, Canada – April 13th, 2002:  Mull Of Kintyre. 

74th Annual Academy Awards, Kodak Theater, Hollywood, CA – March 25th, 2002:  Vanilla Sky.

Tribute To George Harrison, Liverpool Empire Theatre – February 24th, 2002:  Yesterday

Superbowl finale, New Orleans Superdome, New Orleans, LA – February 2002:  Freedom, A Hard Day’s Night.

The Party at the Palace was a pop concert held in London in 2002. The event was in commemoration of the Golden Jubilee of Elizabeth II held over the Golden Jubilee Weekend June 1st to 4th, 2002. The concert itself was held at Buckingham Palace Garden on June 3rd, 2002. It was the pop equivalent of the Prom at the Palace, a classical music event.  The event was touted as the greatest concert in Britain since Live Aid or possibly ever. Tickets to the event were determined by a lottery. 12,000 people attended the concert. An estimated 1 million people watched outside the Palace in The Mall and around the Queen Victoria Memorial, and 200 million on television. The concert included performances of many hit songs from the reign of Queen Elizabeth II. The event was the culmination of a national day of partying. The BBC Music Live Festival also occurred on the day. At 1:00 towns across the United Kingdom had bands play “All You Need Is Love” before church bells were rung around the country.

A minor controversy occurred in Britain after it was announced that the Rolling Stones would not perform at the concert. A controversy was also started after Tony Blair conducted an informal walkabout and some also expressed displeasure at Cherie Blair for what they perceived as excessive dancing and singing.  Most of the set was released on silver soon after on Her Majesty’s Request (Now Disc NOW03) in 2002.  Here And There Live! Vol. 2, the new release on Audiofön is an improvement since it includes a complete “Hey Jude” and three songs not present on Now, “I Saw Her Standing There,” “The Long And Winding Road,” and “With A Little Help From My Friends.”  The sound quality for the set is excellent except for “I Saw Her Standing There,” which comes from a good audience recording.  

McCartney is introduced by Dame Edna introducing Paul as “our next contestant.”  He begins with “Her Majesty” from Abbey Road.  “I had to do it” he says afterwards.  After “Blackbird,” Sir George Martin speaks for a couple minutes about how wonderful The Beatles were to work with, especially the late George Harrison who passed away nine months before.  He then introduces Eric Clapton and Paul McCartney to sing one of Harrison’s compositions “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.”  Clapton sings the verses and duplicates his solo from The Beatles while Paul plays on the psychedelic colored piano, Phil Collins plays drums and Ray Cooper plays around on percussion.  Following is “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band” segued with “The End” in the same arrangement McCartney introduced on tour before. 

“All You Need Is Love” is introduced as something “I think you just might know it.”  The orchestra starts with the opening melody of “God Save The Queen” before beginning the Beatle tune.  McCartney is again joined by Eric Clapton and Phil Collins but this time is also joined by Brian May of Queen, Rod Stewart, Joe Cocker, Brian Wilson (standing behind the psychedelic piano but not playing), and a whole bunch of people who wander on stage to sing the chorus.  Stewart takes the first verse but has a faulty microphone so is barely audible.  Cocker takes the second verse while Paul takes the third.  Prince Charles speaks for about a minute, thanks everybody for coming to the party and leads all in a cheer for “mum.” 

“Let It Be” features Eric Clapton, Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Bennett, Dame Shirley Bassey, Joe Cocker, Phil Collins, The Corrs, Brian Wilson, Sir Elton John, Tom Jones (with Kermit the Frog on his shoulder), Annie Lennox, Ricky Martin, Rod Stewart, Steve Winwood, Sir Cliff Richard, and many more for a rousing finale.  “I Saw Her Standing There” is merely fair quality, but is good to be included.  “The Long And Winding Road” is performed by The Corrs from earlier in the day.  Andrea delivers a gorgeous rendition on vocals with Sharon playing the melody on violin.  The final song from the Queen’s Golden Jubilee is Joe Cocker’s cover of The Beatles “With A Little Help From My Friends” in the same arrangement that was a hit for him in 1968.  Although neither of these tracks feature McCartney, it is nice to have these Beatle covers in this collection.

Audiofön include one track from the April 13th, 2002 Toronto show, “Mull Of Kintyre.”  This comes from a very good but slightly distant audience recording.  “Vanilla Sky” comes from an excellent soundtrack recording from the 74th Academy Awards ceremony on March 25th, 2002.  This song, for the Cameron Crowe film of the same name, was nominated for an award but lost to “If I Didn’t Have You” by Randy Newman for the film Monsters, Inc.  “Yesterday” comes from the George Harrison memorial concert held in Liverpool on February 24th, 2002.  His appearance was a surprise since he wasn’t on the bill but appeared when fans encouraged him to attend.  The source comes from a very good audience recording.  Paul speaks for several minutes about growing up with him before dedicating the song to George.  The song is sung a capella with the audience singing the chorus and with the lyrics changed to say “why he had to go / I don’t know / he wouldn’t say.”  It is a poignant performance and this three minutes is the highlight of the entire disc.  

The disc closes with Paul’s two songs for the pre-Super Bowl party on February 3rd, 2002 at the Super Dome in New Orleans.  He sings “Freedom,” the song he wrote in response to the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center six months before.  The disc ends with a thirty second snippet of McCartney singing “A Hard Day’s Night” with Terry Bradshaw.  “I remember when he had hair” McCartney says to the reporter.  Both tracks come from a professional source and is in excellent sound quality.  Just as the first volume focused upon the resumption of Paul’s career after Linda’s death in 1999, volume two focuses upon material from 2002 with the death of George Harrison looming over the events.  The label use several screen shots from the events taken straight from the television (hence pixelation issues), but the sound quality and the well thought out arrangement of the tracks make this recommended. 

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