Saturday, June 30, 2007

The Walrus Was Paul

Paul McCartney took his show to Hollywood's Amoeba Records. I was not there, but I can enjoy it via the magic of YouTubery.

I see Ringo made it out. That's pretty neat but also really sad. These two hanging out together is as close to a Beatles reunion as the world will ever see.

Also, how can Sir Paul possibly be this much of a dork after all these years? He's been a world-famous entertainer for more than four decades. "We're gonna rock it up"? What does that even mean?

LAist points out that Paul appears to be reading from a teleprompter during "Hey Jude." Are you fucking kidding me? He doesn't remember the words to "Hey Jude"? It's not like it's all that complicated. I mean, half the song is "na na na na na na na na na...hey jude."

It's weird...I definitely knew this was happening and probably could have arranged to get over there, but the thought never even crossed my mind. I mean, I love The Beatles. Love love love The Beatles. And clearly, I'm not totally averse to waiting in long lines. So why not queue up for 1/4 of the greatest rock band of all time?

I think it's a general distaste for rock n' roll nostalgia. With a few exceptions (the Pixies reunion at Coachella kicked all kinds of ass), reunions are a huge letdown.

I was thinking yesterday about this incredible Soul Coughing show I saw at The Palace (now the Avalon) right before the release of their criminally underrated "El Oso" album. The band broke up not long after that and it turned out to be my one and only chance to catch them together, which is a shame, because their music translated surprisingly well to the stage. (I'd go on to see lead singer Mike Doughty in concert many times until his music got all bouncy and poppy be honest...completely ear-splittingly lame).

You can't recapture the experience of seeing an awesome band at its peak; that's the whole idea of going to the trouble of seeing a big concert, particularly a crowded and/or inconvenient one. It might be the only chance you get to see that group in that form playing those songs well.


yancy said...

Lonnie, you're a terrific writer and a good guy... but why are you SUCH a douchebag about rock and roll!? You're such a ageist-Nazi about it, so consistently, that my mind reels. I understand that nobody likes to admit that they're living in a sort of slack and boring era, and that praying to the older holy cows can feel like "glorifying the past while the future dries up"... but sometimes, the past is worth glorifying, and sometimes the present/future can seem a little underwhelming.

Yes, Paul's a "dork", he's always been a "dork" - he's also, to my mind, just about the most signficant living human, and an absolute genius, a living remnant of an epoch when the best band in the world were also the most popular, a confluence that led to much great energy in the culture... that will NEVER happen again, or at least not soon.

To take what looked like a fun, singular experience that I wish I could have been at (the Paul show at Amoeba) and spin it in only negative ways like you do... what's the point? What do you gain? Who do you make happy with this "he's old and lame and I wouldn't want to see it anyway" bit?

And you are indeed ageist: You would NEVER listen to McCartney's new record (which is the best he's done in a long time) because you're so sure of this ethos that only youth rock means anything, etc. So you'll listen to groups that sound like pale imitations of bands that sputtered out 30 years ago, but you won't listen to the new work from living members of that golden age - because old people aren't supposed to be able to write songs that young people can get into? This is Paul McCartney we're talking about!

Can't we just recognize that, in the medium of rock, the heights have already been scaled. You and me and all of us are living in an age JUST after the golden age of rock, and that's just the way it is. And as excited as you get in your top ten lists about new bands like Arcade Fire and The Barking Spiders, they're only all as good as the memories of the better, more urgent, older bands they remind us of.

What does this blind allegiance to youth get you?

And why, again, be SO negative about something like this? A Beatle, still alive, still can play, still in fine voice, playing a free show at a record store... what is so offensive about this?

And for the record, yes, Paul has the lyrics on a screen, but he doesn't appear to look at them during the HEY JUDE footage.

I mean, the guy is going through a painful divorce. Can't you cut him a break?

Lons said...

I don't know, Yancy...I think you're mistaking honesty for negativity. I'm not really that down on Paul, I'm just giving my impressions of the video starring him. (The main point of the post was the put out there a video of Paul McCartney, which is actually kind of positive. I was SHARING his performance with my blog readers.)

Should I have NOT mentioned that I felt his commentary was kind of dorky? Or that the LAist noted the lyrics on that screen? I mean, I'm just trying to be amusing here...There's nothing direct or offensive towards Sir Paul in the entire post, save my calling him a dork, which isn't really all that mean. (He IS a dork, and always has been, even in the Beatles time! What's the problem?)

And how is my general impression that old rock veterans are no longer that exciting to see any different than your impression that old rock veterans are the only musicians that are exciting to see. This...

Can't we just recognize that, in the medium of rock, the heights have already been scaled. You and me and all of us are living in an age JUST after the golden age of rock, and that's just the way it is.

is more judgmental and "ageist" than anything in my post.