Monday, August 18, 2014

Closing Candlestick Park

"Thank you, San Francisco, for being so cool now and for being cool back then."- Paul McCartney, 14 August, 2014
Imagine this;

It's late August, the twenty-ninth to be exact, 1966, at 9;27pm. You're surrounded and pressed against sweaty bodies of all ages as your ears ring with the shrill and cries of teenage girls, and boys, when four men take their first step onto freshly cut grass making their way across a beloved baseball field. You find yourself leaning over and narrowing your eyes to get a better look, watching the men gripping onto sunburst guitars, a H√∂fner bass, or a pair of drumsticks, climb onto the stage. Ear piercing screams and thunderous claps arise from the other 25,000 fans in the stands when one of the men gets his bearings and breaks out into the Chuck Berry classic, "Rock and Roll Music". Screams and cries from yourself and your surrounding neighbors muffle the soft croons and shouts of the band as they continue to play ten more songs, from "She's A Women", "If I Needed Someone", "Day Tripper", "Baby's In Black", "I Feel Fine", "Yesterday", "I Wanna Be Your Man", "Nowhere Man", "Paperback Writer", to a Little Richard cover "Long Tall Sally". Before the band exits the stage, the same member who started the show with "Rock and Roll Music", plays the opening bars to a favorite of his and the audiences, "In My Life".

If you can imagine this, you just imagined yourself in the stands of Candlestick Park for The Beatles last (tour) concert. This post however isn't to take you back to 1966 and go into depth about the Fab Four's performance at the park but to take you just four days in the past (14 August, 2014) when Sir James Paul McCartney returned to Candlestick. This time he wasn't closing his touring days as he did with The Beatles, but he did however honor the park in a night of rock and roll making it the last performance Candlestick Park will see before it closes.
The Beatles at Candlestick Park, 29 August, 1966

Paul McCartney has been on tour since 2013, in promotion for his album, New, which was released in October of that year, accompanied by his band (Brian Ray, Abe Laboriel JR, Rusty Anderson, and Paul Wickens or as other know him by Winx) as they rock stages across the globe on their "Out There" Tour.  While McCartney has been traveling the world, Candlestick affiliates have been making plans for demolition of Candlestick Park, home of the San Francisco Giants and 49ners. Who better to close the park than Sir Paul (who also closed Shea Stadium in 2008 with New York musician, Billy Joel)? 

Paul McCartney emerged onto a stage filled with television screens - which before Macca's appreance showed a photo collage of McCartney's life as well as the many amplifiers blaring Beatles-Wings- McCartney classics and covers- at around nine o'clock in the evening.  The seventy-two year old, paced the stage, his eyes fixed around the stadium  then trailed towards the 50,000 fans (recorded by ABC News Radio) surrounding him,
"It's good to drink it all in. We're saying goodbye to Candlestick."- Paul McCartney, USA Today Paul McCartney is Candlestick Park's Closing Act

To start the night off, Paul crooned a Beatles classic, "Eight Days A Week". The show last about two and  half hours filled with Beatles favorites, Wings hits, Solo wonders, along with tributes to the late, great Jimi Hendrix with a small portion of "Foxy Lady" at the end of "Let Me Roll It". Amongst other tributes were "Here Today", a song McCartney had written after the sudden passing of ex-band mate and close friend, John Lennon, and continuing on with the night to play a ukulele given to him by George Harrison, Paul sang "Something" in remembrance of his ex-band mate and 'Baby- brother' 
The following is the set-lit of that night (thanks to );

(L-R): Anderson, McCartney, Laboriel Jr, Ray)
  1. Eight Days A Week
  2. Save Us
  3. All My Loving
  4. Listen To What The Man Said
  5. Let Me Roll It
  6. Paperback Write
  7. My Valentine
  8. Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five
  9. The Long and Winding Road
  10. Maybe I'm Amazed
  11. I've Just Seen A Face
  12. San Francisco Bay Blues (Jesse Fuller Cover)
  13. We Can Work It Out
  14. Another Day
  15. And I Love Her
  16. Blackbird
  17. Here Today
  18. New
  19. Queenie Eye
  20. Lady Madonna
  21. All Together Now
  22. Lovely Rita
  23. Everybody Out There
  24. Eleanor Rigby
  25. Being For The Benefit of Mr. Kite
  26. Something
  27. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
  28. Band on The Run
  29. Back in the USSR
  30. Let It Be
  31. Live and Let Die
  32. Hey Jude
  1. Day Tripper
  2. Hi, Hi, Hi
  3. I Saw Her Standing There
Encore 2:
  1. Yesterday
  2. Long Tall Sally
  3. Golden Slumbers
  4. Carry That Weight
  5. The End

 No one could of said it better than McCartney himself at the beginning of the show,
"It's sad to see the old place close down. But we are going to close it down in style."
And in style, they did.  Farewell Candlestick Park.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

George Martin In My Life (album)- Honoring Robin Williams

Recorded: March- August 1997
Released: 20 October, 1998
Producer: George Martin
Compiler: George Martin
Label: MCA
           The Echo Label

Yesterday, 11 August, 2014, the world grieved as we lost one of the most iconic comedians and actors of our times, Robin Williams. To honor the legendary man and to keep this article related to The Beatles, for it is a Beatles website, I have done some research and was happy to come across George Martin's In My Life album, an album filled with other celebrities from Goldie Hawn's "A Hard Days Night" to Jim Carrey's version of "I Am The Walrus" with the opening track "Come Together" preformed by Bobby McFerrin and Robin Williams, himself.

The album was recorded from March 1997 to the following August with the following track listing;
  1. "Come Together"- Vocals by Robin Williams and Bobby McFerrin
  2. "A Hard Day's Night"- Vocals and keyboards by Goldie Hawn
  3. "A Day In The Life"- Guitar by Jeff Beck
  4. "Here,There, And Everywhere"- Vocals by Celine Dion
  5. "Because" - Violin by Vanessa-Mae
  6. "I Am The Walrus"- Keyboards and Vocals by Jim Carrey
  7. "Here Comes The Sun"- Guitar by John Williams
  8. "Being For The Benefit of Mr. Kite" - Vocals by Billy Connolly
  9. "The Pepperland Suite" - Which was originally released in The Beatles 1969 album, Yellow Submarine. This  version has a few new arrangements.
  10. "Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/ The End" - Drums, percussion, and vocals by Phil Collins
  11. "Friends and Lovers"- a George Martin orginal
  12. "In My Life"- Vocals by Sean Connery
  13. "Ticket To Ride" - Vocals by Menians Cantoras de Petropolis
  14. "Blackbird"- Vocals and keyboards by Bonnie Pink
The album was released on 20 October, 1998 and lasted forty-three minutes and fifty-eight seconds.

Now to remember Robin Williams. Born on the 21 July, 1951in Chicago, Illinois to former Model, Laura McLaurin, and senior executive of Ford Motor Company, Robert Williams, no one could of expected that this new baby boy would grow up to become the phenomenon  and idol he did.

Williams would grow up in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan where he attended Detroit Country Day school before the family had resided to Marin County in Californina where he picked up his studies at Redwood public High school. He was accepted and attended Claremont Men's College, now known as Claremont McKenna College, before he left after he was one of twenty who were offered a full scholarship to Julliard School, he was also one of two to be selected into the Advance Program held at Julliard that year,  where his passion for entertainment soared.

Mrs. Doubtfire
Robin's first television performance was on the The Richard Pryor Show which lead to Garry Marshall casting William's as an alien by the name Mork in the 1978 episode of Happy Days, a move that would change his life and career. Mork had not only landed in the Cunningham's living room but to his own television show, Mork & Mindy, which ran for four years. Williams would go on to land some of the most iconic roles of all time, from his fun, comic classic roles in Jumanji , Mrs. Doubtfire, to portraying Teddy Roosevelt in the Night At The Museum trilogy; To his children film appearances as Genie from Disney's Aladdin, Happy Feet, Flubber and Hook; Even to the more serious side as an English teacher in Dead Poets Society, to many many other great films that generation from generation have all grown up with.

Unfortunately fame isn't everything and Robin Williams soon began to struggle with the pressure of an actor and comedian turning to cocaine and alcohol as a coping method. John Belushi, another great comedian, was a good friend of Robin's and had taken his own life after overdosing, during this time William's had just had his son, Zak, and describe the situation and his drug use as ;
"Was it a wake-up call? Oh yeah, on a huge level. The grand jury helped too." 
In 2003, twenty years after being sober, William's had found himself holding onto the bottle again. Three years later he became well aware of what was going on and checked himself into a rehabilitation center in Oregon and would declare in 2010 that he had already gone back to alcohol but found help and will do everything thing to never turn back to cocaine. In 2009 Williams had a successful heart surgery to replace his aoritc valve on 13, March.

Yesterday morning at 11:55 am (Pacific time) a 9-1-1 call was placed describing that a man had been found unconscious and not breathing. At 12:02 the man was identified as Robin Williams, dead to an appear suicide that's being investigated today, 12 August, 2014.  Many people were deeply hurt about the loss of the legend, friend, husband, father... His wife, Susan Schneider spoke about her husbands death in the following;
"I lost my husband and my best friend, while the world lost one of its most beloved artists and beautiful human beings. I am utterly heartbroken." 
Long time friends like Steve Martin and Eric Idle wrote via Twitter;
"I could not be more stunned by the loss of Robin Williams, mensch, great talent, acting partner, genuine soul."- Steve Martin
"I can't believe my lovely friend is gone. My heart goes out to his wife and his beloved children. He brought us so much joy and laughter."- Eric Idle with follow up tweet, "I am sick with grief."
Today lets remember Robin Williams not for his flaws with alcohol and drugs but as we take one day to grieve lets remember all of the other days, years, decades, that he spent making us laugh and smile. With that said, thank you Robin Williams, you will be sorely missed.

The following video is McFerrin and William's version of The Abbey Road opener, "Come Together";

"Seize the day. Because, believe it or not, each and everyone of us in this room is one day going to stop breathing, turn cold and die."- John Keating (Portrayed by Robin Williams), Dead Poets Society