Sunday, November 17, 2013

Paul in Japan 2013

Paul McCartney Finally Has a Good Tour in Japan

Paul McCartney Osaka Japan
Paul makes his grand arrival at the airport.

Paul McCartney arrives in Osaka, Japan in November 2013 on his "Out There" tour. Besides Osaka, he also was scheduled to perform in Tokyo for three shows.

The crowd was very excited to see Paul.

Paul McCartney Osaka Japan
Paul's Japanese admirers.

They were also very excited on a previous occasion. Sometimes, though, the show does not go on, as in the situation below. And, it did not go on as planned in 2013, either, as Paul came down with a cold and had to cancel a bunch of shows elsewhere in Asia (he made them up in 2015). But the show did go on in Japan, at least.

Paul McCartney Tokyo Japan 1980
Paul McCartney after being released from jail in Tokyo in 1980.

Paul's abortive Asian appearances paid dividends in Japan, at least. Paul's single "New" from the album of the same name climbed the Japanese charts to No. 4, becoming his first top-ten single in any major market since 2001 (in Canada, his "From a Love to a Friend hit No. 6). Setting aside charity performances, that's Paul's highest singles ranking on a major singles chart in, well, quite a long time ("Hope of Deliverance" made it to no. 3 in Germany in 1993, and "My Brave Face" reached No. 4 on the US AC chart in 1989). The Japanese musical market is said to be the second largest in the world, after the United States.

Paul McCartney Tokyo Japan 1980

McCartney's band in Japan:

  • Paul 'Wix' Wickens (vocals, keyboards, guitar, percussion, harmonica)
  • Brian Ray (vocals, guitar, bass)
  • Rusty Anderson (vocals, guitar)
  • Abe Laboriel Jr (vocals, drums).
Paul's setlist in Tokyo Dome:
  • Eight Days A Week
  • Save Us
  • All My Loving
  • Listen To What The Man Said
  • Let Me Roll It
  • Paperback Writer
  • My Valentine
  • Nineteen Hundred And Eighty-Five
  • The Long And Winding Road
  • Maybe I'm Amazed
  • I've Just Seen A Face
  • We Can Work It Out
  • Another Day
  • And I Love Her
  • Blackbird
  • Here Today
  • New
  • Queenie Eye
  • Lady Madonna
  • All Together Now
  • Lovely Rita
  • Everybody Out There
  • 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
  • Day Tripper
  • Hi, Hi, Hi
  • Get Back
  • Yesterday
  • Helter Skelter
  • Golden Slumbers
  • Carry That Weight
  • The End

The "Out There" tour is famous among Beatles fans for, among other things, being the first time that Paul played "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite" in public. He told Rolling Stone:
Mr Kite! is such a crazy, oddball song that I thought it would freshen up the set. Plus the fact that I'd never done it. None of us in the Beatles ever did that song [in concert]. And I have great memories of writing it with John. I read, occasionally, people say, 'Oh, John wrote that one.' I say, 'Wait a minute, what was that afternoon I spent with him, then, looking at this poster?' He happened to have a poster in his living room at home. I was out at his house, and we just got this idea, because the poster said 'Being for the Benefit of Mr Kite' – and then we put in, you know, 'there will be a show tonight,' and then it was like, 'of course,' then it had 'Henry the Horse dances the waltz.' You know, whatever. 'The Hendersons, Pablo Fanques, somersets...' We said, 'What was 'somersets'? It must have been an old-fashioned way of saying somersaults.' The song just wrote itself. So, yeah, I was happy to kind of reclaim it as partially mine.
Paul McCartney Tokyo Japan 1980


Friday, November 15, 2013

Paul McCartney's Letter to Vladimir Putin

Paul McCartney Greenpeace
Paul McCartney.

I post a below letter from Paul McCartney to Vladimir Putin simply to give it more publicity. Paul McCartney is trying to help a few people. You don't have to love Greenpeace or anything like that to respect an artist who stands up for someone else when he has absolutely no need to do so. Paul is doing the same thing that people did in the 1960s that people speak so glowingly and fondly of now, in retrospect at least. I'm sure John Lennon is applauding somewhere.

In brief, 30 international Greenpeace activists were arrested in September for protesting against Russian oil drilling in the Arctic and now face up to 7 years in prison on charges of "hooliganism." Their Dutch-registered ship was impounded. It is the general understanding that the activists simply boarded the ship and then waited for a Russian SWAT team inevitably to arrest them, without offering resistance. There was no property damage worth mentioning. As I said, this is a general understanding, perhaps there are other facts not known to us.

This really is not a political issue unless you are bound and determined to make it into one. Paul is on the Left side of the scale, for sure, but this is just a Humanitarian plea. Everyone will make their own assessment of such things, I'm just providing a little information.

At the time of this writing, the experts within Russia are betting that Paul's attempt to reach across lines here will be unsuccessful. It is highly unusual for such a high-profile figure to attempt to intervene in a matter such as this. That is not meant to diminish the direct efforts of other celebrities, such as "Xena" star Lucy Lawless, who support Greenpeace. However, they are acting politically, whereas Paul is acting in a purely humanitarian posture. That is a key distinction. As said, this is not really about Greenpeace unless you want to make it so.

Below is the entire posting from Paul's site. You may see the original here on Paul's own website as well.

Paul McCartney Greenpeace

Greetings from Japan.

Check out my letter below to President Vladimir Putin which he has not replied to as yet. The Russian Ambassador kindly responded saying that their situation ‘is not properly represented in the world media’.

It would be great if this misunderstanding could be resolved and the protesters can be home with their families in time for Christmas. We live in hope.

Paul McCartney


14th October 2013

Dear Vladimir,

I hope this letter finds you well. It is now more than ten years since I played in Red Square, but I still often think about Russia and the Russian people.

I am writing to you about the 28 Greenpeace activists and two journalists being held in Murmansk. I hope you will not object to me bringing up their case.

I hear from my Russian friends that the protesters are being portrayed in some quarters as being anti-Russian, that they were doing the bidding of western governments, and that they threatened the safety of the people working on that Arctic oil platform.

I am writing to assure you that the Greenpeace I know is most certainly not an anti-Russian organisation. In my experience they tend to annoy every government! And they never take money from any government or corporation anywhere in the world.

And above all else they are peaceful. In my experience, non-violence is an essential part of who they are.

I see you yourself have said that they are not pirates - well, that's something everybody can agree on. Just as importantly, they don't think they are above the law. They say they are willing to answer for what they actually did, so could there be a way out of this, one that benefits everybody?

Vladimir, millions of people in dozens of countries would be hugely grateful if you were to intervene to bring about an end to this affair. I understand of course that the Russian courts and the Russian Presidency are separate. Nevertheless I wonder if you may be able to use whatever influence you have to reunite the detainees with their families?

Forty-five years ago I wrote a song about Russia for the White Album, back when it wasn't fashionable for English people to say nice things about your country. That song had one of my favourite Beatles lines in it: "Been away so long I hardly knew the place, gee it's good to be back home."

Could you make that come true for the Greenpeace prisoners?

I hope, when our schedules allow, we can meet up again soon in Moscow.

Sincerely yours,

Paul McCartney

The protesters were released shortly thereafter.


Monday, November 4, 2013

'Save Us' - Live on Hollywood Boulevard

'Save Us' - Live on Hollywood Boulevard

On September 23, 2013 Hollywood Boulevard in LA was closed down for Paul to perform live for Jimmy Kimmel Live. This video has all sorts of shots of Paul arriving by helicopter at dusk, then playing into the night.

It's not a bad little record of the day, though I personally could have done without all the blatant "Jimmy Kimmel" signs. We get it, Jimmy, this was done for your show. I suppose that if you're a fan of both Paul and Jimmy, you'll be in heaven with this video.

As for the song itself, it's not bad. It's inoffensive, taken from the 2013 "New" album. "Save Us" is a generic pop tune, without a whole lot of originality, but certainly tuneful enough and with a somewhat catchy guitar riff. It is reminiscent of a lesser Billy Joel tune, a sound which Paul tends to mimic for some reason now and then, as in "Biker Like an Icon." Not bad as a filler tune on his new album, which overall is very popular.

Paul McCartney Jimmy Kimmel Live
A sound check before the show.

"New" (the album) has done quite well on the charts. As with virtually all of Paul's albums, it was top-3 in quite a few places, most importantly the major US, UK and Japanese markets. It even managed to squeak out a No. 1 in Norway, so, technically at least, it is yet another No. 1 album for the master. As far as I can tell, it is the first time one of Paul's original studio albums has hit No. 1 on any country chart (at least a country of any size at all) since his 1989 "Flowers in the Dirt," which was No. 1 in the UK and... Norway. That 24-year gap in time could be some kind of record, but Paul has so many of those records I'm sure nobody would even notice.

Paul is experiencing a bit of a late-career revival. Things certainly are looking better for him than they were in the "Driving Rain" to "Chaos and Creation in the Backyard" days, when he seemed to have run out of gas.

So, anyway, there you go. I guess the Norwegians are Paul's most loyal fans! But everyone still loves Paul.

Paul McCartney Jimmy Kimmel Live