Paul McCartney “Outside Lands Festival 2013” (No label)
Live at at Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA, USA, 9TH August, 2013.
Disk One – Intro / Eight Days A Week / Juniors Farm / Magical Mystery Tour / Listen To What The Man Said / Let Me Roll It incl. Foxey Lady / Paperback Writer / My Valentine / Nineteen Hundred And Eighty Five / The Long And Winding Road / Maybe I’m Amazed / I’ve Just Seen a Face / San Francisco Bay Blues / We Can Work It Out / Another Day / And I Love Her / Blackbird / Here Today (68:58)
Disk Two – MC / Your Mother Should Know / Lady Madonna / All Together Now / Lovely Rita / Mrs. Vanderbilt / Eleanor Rigby / Being For The Benefit of Mr. Kite / Something / Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da / Band On The Run / Back In The USSR / Let It Be / Live And Let Die / Hey Jude (59:35)
Disk Three – Encore / Day Tripper / Hi, Hi, Hi / Get Back / Yesterday (With the Kronos Quartet / Helter Skelter / Golden Slumbers / Carry That Weight / The End
Stereo Sound Board Recording from Webcast – Eight Days A Week / Junior’s Farm / Magical Mystery Tour / Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five / Something / Band On The Run / Let It Be / Live And Let Die (66:44)
DVD One – Intro / Eight Days A Week / Juniors Farm / Magical Mystery Tour / Listen To What The Man Said / Let Me Roll It INCL. Foxey Lady / Paperback Writer / My Valentine / Nineteen Hundred And Eighty Five / The Long And Winding Road / Maybe I’m Amazed / I’ve Just Seen a Face / San Francisco Bay Blues / We Can Work It Out / Another Day / And I Love Her / Blackbird / Here Today / Your Mother Should Know / Lady Madonna / All Together Now / Lovely Rita / Mrs. Vanderbilt / Eleanor Rigby / Being For The Benefit of Mr. Kite / Something (1hr 38 mins)
DVD TWO – Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da / Band On The Run / Back In The USSR / Let It Be / Live And Let Die / Hey Jude / Day Tripper / Hi, Hi, Hi / Get Back / Yesterday (With the Kronos Quartet / Helter Skelter / Golden Slumbers / Carry That Weight / The End.
Webcast – Eight Days A Week / Junior’s Farm / Magical Mystery Tour / Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five / Something / Band On The Run / Let It Be / Live And Let Die (1hr 39 mins)
The Outside Lands festival of San Francisco, CA has run annually from it’s inception in 2008. Imagine an American Glastonbury without the longstanding history and years of build but instead being produced as fully formed. The festival has a heavy bent on making itself almost specifically eco-friendly, ensuring that it’s attendees car-pool, the festival also features solar power stages, a refillable water program, a waste diversion program, a recycling program, and bike valet parking program as well as events where people can learn on how they can take come of the attributes home with them.
Possibly because of the environmental just of the event, they usually have a stellar list of music’s most talked about or admired acts. 2013 was no different as it was the turn of Paul McCartney to headline the festival.
Ahead of other acts as Vampire Weekend, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Willie Nelson, Jurrassic 5, the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs and D’Angelo, regular stars of the festival lights, Macca himself has become more accustomed to the outdoor stage over the past few years, I assume it’s the easiest way to get your message out there without going through the rigmaroles of working out the dimensions of hiring out a theatre and moving around too many stage materials plus theres the added bonus of a little kudos On his ‘Out There’ tour, Paul McCartney has continued to stretch his touring plans – including playing Brazil and getting back to Japan, his first visit back to the country since 2002. This return to California was also Macca’s first since 2010.
The (main)recording featured here is a very good audience taping. Rather brilliantly it captures just a few seconds of the bands intro music before they hit the stage along with the very brief warm up for the band as they arrive. A little distant from the stage, a few handclaps, whoops and hollers from the crowd but nothing over blown or out of the ordinary from a festival group. Especially nice is the fact that theres no distortion or wind from the recording, it’s all rather clear.
The show is pretty standard for Macca’s shows throughout the tour – plenty of Beatles, Wings and solo tunes with a touch of the new millennia gloss provided by a loved up Macca and his band of bright young things.
Highlights for me from the set include a crowd-rousing “Eight Days A Week” opener, giddy, “Juniors Farm”, in fact the set rocks on a a generous pace for the first 6 songs as Paul unwraps the very best of his re-issues and hits the audience with banger after banger – this heavier than a lead bible, “Paperback Writer” following a stupendous “Let Me Roll It”.
Things flag a little at “My Valentine” (Paul, you’re playing a new and edgy festival, please, please leave the damp cloths at home and bring out the spruce, regardless of promotion!) but lift again with ‘BOTR’s’”Nineteen Hundred And Eighty-Five”, “The Long And Winding Road” and “Maybe I’m Amazed”.
Curiously, Paul also includes the rarely played, “San Francisco Bay Blues”, obviously in homage to the city that’s supporting his appearance, maybe because he’s playing the headliner but it received a muted applause from the audience at least. A few people gamily sing along but it’s one for the heads mainly.
Theres a little more reaction for “We Can Work It Out” however but naturally, it is a little better known to a younger crowd. “Blackbird” is preceded by it’s song standing story and is then met with a roar of approval once it begins, tearing it up by the time Paul gets to the audience.
Another relative newbie to the set list, “Your Mother Should Know”, another of Paul’s so called granny pleasers is nice to hear but generally as a curiosity, the real blast comes straight after with the wheeze of a ghostly organ, that breaks down after a minute to break straight in to “Lady Madonna”, a beefy, strolling, tub-thump. Paul then comments on the glorious whiff of herbal cigarettes that’s wafting up from the audience before drifting off in to his least trippy song, “All Together Now”, a pallidly whimsical afterthought that Paul should really stop mining.
“Mrs. Vanderbilt” has Paul flexing his tongue at the speed with which it’s performed, he does admirably well (Certainly better than Dylan at this stage) and once again, it’s very nice to hear a little vintage Wings, especially with the cossack style build up towards the end.
Paul’s tribute to George in a Uke-styled “Something” is as uplifting as it gets without the mawkishness of “Here Today”, ingrained with a great version of George’s mighty solo it really is quite stunning as is a storming “Band On The Run”, a deftly bonded collision of many a great idea. “Back in The USSR” is big enough to strip the hair from the hippies and pummel along the fields, maybe it’s a little slower than usual but not lacklustre. Same for “Live And Let Die, however, rather than slowing down, this speeds up a tone and thunders along without looking back.
“Hey Jude” clocks in at a princely 7:10 this evening. Honestly, there’s not much to say about this song nowadays but luckily, I don’t have to – just listen to it! – It never fades, it never looses it’s lustre, it stands alone as crowd pleased du jour and no one could argue with that.
“Day Tripper” starts up disk 3, a crunchy battler, it’s coup is the sound of the guitars, slightly ragged as are the harmonies but with a grungy clip about them, just as shabby but fancy is the follow up, ”Hi, Hi, Hi”, reckless abandon, nonsense lyrics and a wild coda.
Following these is around 5 minutes of Paul McCartney, Ex-Beatle Paul Mcartney no less, inviting women on stage so he can sign their skin and they can have tattoos made. Honestly, it’s one of the most stultifying moments of mood killing duress you may hear. Without it’s visual accompaniment it rankles especially as Macca has to apologise for aiming his gaze a little incorrectly because “that’s the way to get the best angle”. One can only wonder what that angle was as Paul apologises profusely for it.
And so the grand finale. The Kronos String Quartet join Macca for a beautiful turn on “Yesterday”, the audience quietly join in on every single word. The recording obviously loses a little of the string work by design which is a shame but the story that follows is relatively new so that makes up for any lack of orchestrations.
Macca’s surprise almost-final track is “Helter Skelter”, not born out of mothballs for this one performance but now a regular attraction, the White Album track actually does Paul favours by raising his voice in estimation as so for those that said his voice was shot, it’s a nudge and a poke to prove that really, it isn’t and that old fab isn’t wringing it out badly but still rather sharp.
And so, the end for real – a standard show ending and part of the big-medley from ‘Abbey Road’, it still sounds amazing with out the boredom factor of a long standing précis moving the mood – Just like the rest, everyone knows it, you can sing along and the band get to go loose – Perfect.
The bonus tracks are taken straight from the web feed broadcast that was produced for the festival and they sound fantastic. There are cuts between the songs, this being a bit of a best of the set and so are slightly incomplete, audience wise, nether the less, the music is there in full and sounds just as good as the Japanese soundboard from the same tour is not a little better.
The DVD is a handheld video affair of the full show, filmed from quite a depth in to the audience but with quite an impressive zoom – It moves around from the source a little but then who would be able to hold their arm aloft or keep their camera tower still for that amount of time in a festival show – and because of the zoom, some of the white lights on stage seem to saturate Macca’s face. A bit like Marcel Marceau bawling out Beatles tracks. We do get to see tattoo gate though! Now theres a thing ..The webcast tracks however, are obviously better in quality but still a little pixelated in full screen, nothing too disturbing but on errs slightly to the side of good rather than excellent. The labels holding pages are excellent, animated affairs. Simple and clear enough to navigate.
The artwork – Covers and disks – is lovely. A true testament to their art department.
The full package is great to be fair. A storming audience recording of the kind the the No Label guys do very well. If you’re going soundboard, the Red Light Entertainment Tokyo CD is the way to go, if you’re going audio visual or you were there, I’d highly recommend this version for your collection.