Dec 122010

After the family party I attended Saturday night wrapped up I waited through a couple of seemingly horrible skits (I had the sound turned off) on Saturday Night Live to see what Paul McCartney had in store for viewers. I was treated to a sluggish, pointless version of “Jet,” then I went to bed rather than wait out more cue-card reading from the likes of Bill Hader and that one-trick pony of a poor woman’s Carol Burnett, Kristen Wiiiiigggg, or whatever her name is. (I’m no fan of mugging, self-satisfied Mr. Nice Guy, Paul Rudd, either.) Ugh! Then I learn that I missed some other McCartney goodies, just days after missing what sounded like an interesting appearance on Jimmy Fallon‘s show. Did he play the additional four songs at the end of the night, 1975-era SNL mini-concert style, or did he do stuff before I turned on, at 11:50? What did you think?


  23 Responses to “McCartney on SNL”

  1. BigSteve

    Paul seemed to be in not very strong voice that night. It can happen to anybody, but it’s wintertime and he’s 68 years old. You can’t reschedule a live show.

    I thought substituting Give Peace a Chance for the final third of A Day in the Life was … I don’t know, weird. I always love watching the drummer in his band though.

  2. Yeah, the drummer was the best thing about Paul’s performances on Saturday.

  3. mockcarr

    It was a drag, wadn’t it?

  4. Paul’s voice was in rough shape (and he has the Apollo show on Sirius tonight!) but after Jet he did better with Band On The Run, A Day In the Life/ Give Peace a Chance and a show ending Get Back. May have been the most music on a single SNL. Agreed, there was not much skit-wise. I did like Stumblin’ SNL Digital Short (to the tune of 9-5.. Stumbe out of bed, stumble to the kitchen, stumble to the street, stumble past my car….etc)

  5. Listen to Paul’s live records since Wings Over America (Tripping The Live Fantastic, Unplugged, Paul is Live, Back in the US, Space Within Us, Citi Field) and you can hear his voice going out over time. A 64 year old man is just not capable of performing these songs written for a man in his 20s to sing. He’s backed himself into a corner by making his show 85% Beatles material.

  6. True, jungleland2. I watched the other performances and found them much more enjoyable. After all these years I’d LOVE to hear what McCartney’s music might sound like if he’d re-arrange a few of his songs to better suit the man he is today, if he even knows who that man is. I’m not looking for a full-blown Dylanconstruction, but maybe more of an “unplugged” tour or even a “big band” approach for one year, maybe even incorporating “exotic” musicians from some other culture. ANYTHING but those same-old arrangements. And that drummer doesn’t really do it for me. He seems a little too deliberate.

  7. BigSteve

    Maybe coming out cold, after having appeared in skits, made Jet sound sluggish. They should have lifted weights first.

  8. mockcarr

    Yeah, Paul didn’t do squat(s).

  9. alexmagic

    The appeal to McCartney’s SNL appearances is what he does outside of his official musical spots. He’s developed a pretty funny quiet-weirdo comic persona for NBC over the last decade through his SNL and Late Night cameos. That held true this time with his Digital Short and Weekend Update guest spots, and his peak remains the 1993 episode with Alec Baldwin, where he showed up in one of my favorite obscure, unloved sketches, “The Mimic”. Perhaps Hamish Stuart ghostwrote that one. I’ll have to check the index of that Tom Shales SNL book for a “Stuart, Hamish sketches written by” entry.

    As for the performances this weekend, the sound was just terrible overall, as is par for the course on SNL. They seriously need to consider making some big changes in that regard if they’re going to have acts on who don’t fake it. The sound got a little better (or his voice got a little stronger) in the later numbers, and Band On The Run is one of those teflon songs that I think will always sound good. Plus, anytime he sings a John song, especially something on the level of A Day In The Life, I’m interested in seeing it.

    I’ve said this before, but his current band needs a look overhaul. The drummer, Abe, is fine, as “Big Dude Behind Drumkit” is a timeless look and he seems to be the most excited to be singing harmonies with a Beatle, which is a quality I respect. Wix Wickens on the keyboards should probably do something about his sideburns, but he may be grandfathered as far as look issues go as the lone holdover from the Hamish Era. It’s the two guitarists, though, who need some help. I’d make the one with dark hair wear a white satin Sgt. Pepper suit and make the one with the blonde hair wear a black satin Sgt. Pepper suit. All the time, in every public appearance. As it is now, they just look kinda like a cross between the non-Tyler/Perry members of Aerosmith and the non-Weiland guys from STP.

    Mod, on his music itself: not sure if you heard Chaos & Creation, the album before last (I haven’t heard the last one, as my “every other album” rule for McCartney has been serving me extraordinarily well), but that one has a lot of nice material that has peak-era Wings sounds to the songs, but everything seems to have been written to suit his current range, dropping the high register and the throat-killing screams. It ended up being a strong album that hit a sweet spot for what he can still do as a vocalist and the kinds of songs he thinks he needs to write to sound like Paul McCartney.

  10. alexmagic

    Lou Reed, with his extensive training in Tai Chi, should hire himself out as a trainer to the stars. He could teach guys like Young and McCartney some low impact, high energy training forms to get themselves ready for performances.

    If Lou’s reading, I think “Lou Reed: As Your Body Was Meant To Feel” would be a good name for this business venture. Call me, man.

  11. misterioso

    “As it is now, they just look kinda like a cross between the non-Tyler/Perry members of Aerosmith and the non-Weiland guys from STP.”

    That is hilarious, and accurate.

    I rather liked the performance of A Day in the Life, could have done well without the segue into Give Peace a Chance (how about just finishing A Day in the Life?). Band on the Run and Jet I found discouraging. God knows, as a booster of latter-day Dylan, I should not be picking on Paul for diminished vocal range, but nonetheless, the standards and expectations are different, and it is a matter of what one does with one’s diminished voice. Till now, Paul hasn’t figured out a way to make it work, at least not in live performance, in my opinion, and at times it sounds very awkward.

  12. But it wasn’t just Paul’s voice. The harmonies were frightening. One out of tune voice linked with another out of tune voice linked with a third out of tune voice. And all out tune differently. Maybe it was Paul’s little tribute to Yoko.

    Those two guitarists were ridiculous. Did they really need to do THAT much guitar posing?

    And how about that brief Iwo Jima with Paul and the guitarist on the left (Paul’s right)? Did John/Paul/George ever resort to stuff like that?

    And put me down on the side against the Give Peace A Chance bit. Didn’t fit to me. Maybe he should have tried All You Need Is Love instead if he wanted to insert an anthem.

  13. Was there a retro gear-porn element to the SNL performance? One title card was just a shot of the Hofner fiddle bass and there were Vox and Mesa amps set up between the front and back lines (and yet the sound wasn’t good, Alex? I can’t tell, I thought it was OK). I thought it was a nice straightforward performance, no mawkish tributes or dancing elves or anything embarrassing besides a little extra plastic surgery or hair dye.

  14. I saw Jet and Band on the Run. Thought both were sub-par. Funny that as mentioned above – the drummer was the best band member. I’ve previously hated him in videos I’ve seen. The Keyboard player was mugging and smiling too much and the lads on guitar were ridiculous.

    But worst of all was Paul. All of us in the room remarked at how low the vocals were mixed. And probably because his voice was bad that night. I also hate him for continuing to play that damn “Beatle Bass”. It looks stupid. I’d place it on par with pointy guitars that folks around here hate so much.

    And then…his hair. Enough with the hair dye dude. Your face is sagging and you look old. Embrace it. You’re still “handsome” I’d say. But you’d look better with natural graying hair. The dye job looks silly.

  15. Here, here! The Hofner “Beatle bass” needs to be retired! I mean, if that thing stays why not have his other band members dress up like John, George, Ringo, and Billy Preston?

  16. In 1986 Paul had gray hair and played his Ric (if he even played bass at all) , didn’t play Beatles songs and recorded original modern music that had nothing to do with the 1960’s…and everyone hated it (Press). The new/old Paul satisfies his largest audience: the one that wants him to represent The Beatles (TM). Of course Paul has a 2nd audience, the one that loves Red Rose Speedway and Venus And Mars (and like me “Back To The Egg”) and wishes he would give these “A Little Love” (sorry). Once he went “Beatle Paul” again (’89) he could never go back…. and that comes with a bottle of hair dye and a Hoffner bass.

  17. Did you guys know they made a full version of the fake Wings song from the movie Role Models?

    I found about this via Jon Wurster’s Facebook page. He’s playing drums on this.

  18. BigSteve

    Paul would be a good candidate for repertory concerts/tours. Announcing in advance that he would play only Wings music might be interesting, but perhaps the absence of Linda would probably make that a touchy subject for him.

  19. trigmogigmo

    Yeah, I mean I still enjoyed watching it (thanks for finding the link Mr. Mod), but…

    Keyboards way too loud in the mix, making more than one guitar solo practically inaudible.

    The concept of switching to “Give Peace a Chance” in honor of John’s 70th had potential, but despite the perfectly matched tempos the transition was awkwardly abrupt, and Paul could not have played a more rudimentary bass line. Plus, I realized later, “what happened to the verses?!” evrybody talkin bout bagism shagism…

    I won’t begrudge him using a favorite old axe, but Macca on the Rickenbacker 4001 just seems a lot more cool to me on an admittedly shallow level.

  20. Wow. I read the posts before I was able to see/hear/feel McCartney’s performance. Paul was good. His voice was tired, but still OK. You all know how BAD most of the performers are on SNL, and the sound usually sucks. Paul was so much better than almost everyone you see on that show.

    The stuff Y’all are complaining about: Why do the laws of time apply to McCartney? Why do I have to look at all those classic amps and guitars? The guitar players smiled too much? As St. Hubbins said, “that’s nitpicking really, idn’t it?”

    How can you be tired of the Hofner? It sounds great. It looks great. Do we need to retire Les Pauls and Strats too? I still love you Paul, oh yes I do.

  21. alexmagic

    This is exactly why chickenfrank wins the Most Beloved Townsperson poll year after year.

  22. Didn’t catch Sir Paul’s SNL appearance, but I coughed up the dough to see him at the Wells Fargo Center in August. He didn’t disappoint–although I wish he would have finished “A Day in the Life” rather than throwing in that jarring transition to “Give Peace a Chance.”

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