With the possible exception of the cult favorite “Temporary Secretary” from his 1980 solo album McCartney II, the song least familiar to Paul McCartney’s ardent fans during his sold out 2 hour 45 minute show at the Wells Fargo Center on Sunday night was called “Hope For The Future.”
His baby boomer fans - on average a good three decades older than the youngsters who sang along at the Firefly Festival in Dover, Delaware two nights before - may not know it, but Sir Paul has been writing music for video games.
Specifically for Destiny, a sci-fi first-person shooter for which he composed elements of the score as well as penning “Hope,” a song that (naturally) rides a soaring melody to (of course) express a cheerful confidence about the shape of things to come.
It doesn’t get much cheerier than the scene round about midnight on Friday at the Firefly Music Festival. The world’s greatest surviving Beatle was bringing his headlining set at the largest music fest on the east coast to a crescendo by leading scores of thousands of fans - most more than forty years younger than he - in a singalong, dance-in-the-mud version of “Hey Jude.”
For Paul McCartney, who turned 73 on Thursday, the celebration had begun two hours earlier when he began his set on the main stage at The Woodlands at Dover International Speedway singing an exultant, rocked-out rendition of his former band’s “Birthday” before a sold out crowd of 90,000 spread over Firefly’s sprawling grounds, which had been soaked with heavy rains earlier in the week.
“Good evening, Firefly!” the enduring cute Beatle said in greeting the crowd early on, before following “Save Us” from his 2013 album New with a robust “Got To Get You Into My Life.” “It’s a bit of a party, isn’t it?”
Nobody bonds with their audience like Taylor Swift, and on Friday night in South Philadelphia, the 25 year old pop superstar from Wyomissing, Pa. spent more than two hours connecting with 50,000 of her closest fans in the first of back to back sellout shows at Lincoln Financial Field.
This is the tour for 1989, the 2014 album named after the year of her birth that is closing in on selling an astonishing 5 million copies in the U.S. It’s completed Swift’s trajectory from teenage country singer to unabashed pop artist who’s left curly haired precociousness behind and is now finding her way as a young woman on the biggest stage.
To make that theme clear, Swift began her show just a few minutes after 9 p.m. (the Fine Young Cannibal’s “She Drives Me Crazy,” which, yes, came out in 1989, was the final lead-in music), with “Welcome To New York,” the album opener that celebrates reinvention with synth-pop buoyancy. “Everybody here was someone else before,” she sang, as she moved about the massive stage with a dozen male dancers lit to appear as if they were stuck in black and white, while the singer alone came of age in living color.
One of the most mind blowing musicians of all time, jazz great Ornette Coleman has died at the age of 85.
From the beginning, Coleman was an energetic innovator intent on moving the music forward. The saxophonist, who was raised in Fort Worth, Texas and played early on with Pee Wee Crayton's band and a Silas Green from New Orleans tent show, started off his solo career in 1958, leading a band that featured trumpeter Don Cherry on the appropriately titled Something Else!!!!.
His next two releases, Tomorrow Is The Question! and his 1959 debut on Atlantic Records, The Shape Of Jazz To Come, also made it clear that Coleman was an avant gardist at heart. His band didn't include a piano or guitar, he often played a plastic alto saxophone and played keening 'harmolodic' runs - a self-coined term that conveyed a mash-up or harmony and melody - with a timbre that cound sound harsh, and or convey staggering beauty.
It's Black Music Month, and time for the 12th annual African America Heritage night at Citizens Bank Park tonight as the Phillies play the world champions-as-usual San Francisco Giants.
Sound of Philly stalwart Bunny Sigler will sing the National Anthem, and in a 6:30 p.m. preshow concert, The O'Jays will perform their two of their three greatest Philadelphia International hits "For The Love Of Money," and "Love Train" (what, no "Back Stabbers"?) and Jean Carne will do her 1978 hit "Don't Let It Go To Your Head."
The O'Jays and Carne will receive the Phillies Gamble and Huff Community Partnership Award.
The great Merle Haggard, the triple threat songwriter, singer and musician-bandleader who belongs on any discerning listener's list of the top five country artists of all time, plays the Keswick Theatre in Glenside tonight, with his sterling band The Strangers behind him.
The 78 year old Hag is just out with a new collaborative album with Willie Nelson called Django & Jimmie, referring to their respective admiration for gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt and country music father figure Jimmie Rodgers, who was also the subject of one of Haggard's best records, the 1969 classic Same Train, Different Time.
Nick Cristiano's Inquirer review of Django & Jimmie is here.
Roots Picnic goers: Here's what you've been waiting for: The set times for Saturday's day-long concert at Festival Pier.
Important times: The Roots, who will play with Erykah Badu as part of their headlining set, go on at 9:15 p.m.
Donn T, Questlove's sister, is the first act on stage, at 12:30 in the afternoon.
We're up to episode eight on The Dan and Dan Music Podcast, the bi-weekly music show I do with Dan Reed, music director and drive time deejay on WXPN (88.5-FM).
The week's show features an interview with Schoolly D, the West Philly father of gangsta rap noted for such mid-1980s singles as "PSK, What Does It Mean?" and "Gucci Time" who went on to score movies with film noir provocateur Abel Ferrera and get into the Cartoon Network game with his theme song to the stoner's delight animated show Aqua Teen Hunger Force.
Besides Schoolly, topics under discussion include Prince, Pandora, the demise of American Idol and the most popular drugs at music festivals. You can listen below, follow the podcast on Twitter, like it on Facebook and subscribe on iTunes.