Paul McCartney
Citi Field, NY July 17-18 & 21, 2009

Concert report by Tom Frangione for Beatle Brunch

Following his historical appearance with Ringo Starr at Radio City Music Hall in April, Paul McCartney rolled back into New York City for yet another round of appearances, kicking off with a mini-concert performed atop the marqee at The Ed Sullivan Theatre, where the Beatles introduced themselves to America some 45 years ago. But that was just a taste of things to come, as McCartney returned to the scene (well, almost) of yet another historic Beatles gig just a few miles away, at the new Citi Field, built on the site of Shea Stadium, where the Fabs launched the era of stadium rock shows back in 1965.

Joining the many fans, were Beatle Brunchers Lauren and Nick, who thanks to Lauren’s mom, Marianne, were seeing their first Macca show, sitting in Joe Johnson’s personal seats in the front section.

Many other fans could be spotted surveying the scene, wondering exactly where Shea once stood in relation to the new state of the art facility. While locals and loyal Mets fans had no trouble navigating the plots, there are (quite touchingly) metal plates embedded in the pavement of parking lot “B” marking where each of the bases once stood. Many stopped by 2nd base, where the Beatles stage was set up, to raise a glass and take a photo.

The significance of the shows was definitely on McCartney’s mind, with much of the between-song banter recalling the shows (the challenges of being able to hear themselves, above the screaming girls and playing through the baseball P.A. system), and nods to a couple of key New Yorkers – one by birth, and one by adoption - in his life, the former Linda Eastman and one John Lennon.

And while Paul is not in the midst of a full blown tour, the set list closely mirrored those of earlier gigs done this year. The 2-hour 40-minute show ran the gamut from Beatles classics to Wings hits and even a couple of songs from the recent Electric Arguments disc, released under the moniker, The Fireman. Even seasoned McCartney concert-goers generally found something in the set list they’d never seen him do live, which had been road tested on intermittent gigs since his last full-blown American tour in 2005.

The opening night show on Friday had a very strong “buzz” as it was another “first” in McCartney and New York history. Even the dodgy weather, with a light but steady rain for a good chunk of the show, couldn’t put a damper on things.

To mark the occasion,I’m Down, a centerpiece of the Shea set list (and concert film) was added to the repertoire, marking only the second time Paul performed it in his solo career. The previous performance was at the 2001 Concert for New York following the 9/11 attacks. Another highlight was a guest appearance by hometown hero Billy Joel, who gave the last concert at Shea last year, for which he invited Paul to join him and rightfully bring things full circle.

Following a gracious introduction acknowledging their mutual respect, Paul and Billy rocked on I Saw Her Standing There.

With the sound tweaked a bit based on the initial show, the combination of a weekend date and beautiful weather made for a delightful night on Saturday, with the tailgaters out in full force, with many opting for the nearby Worlds Fair Marina to add a bit of scenery to the proceedings. Joining our own pre-show festivities were Beatle Brunch Club members and Fest for Beatles Fans fixtures Mark & Carol Lapidos, Gary Hein, Al Sussman and Warren Melnik, and a couple of Paul’s old label mates – Smithereens lead singer Pat DiNizio and Apple Records own David Peel joined in the fun as well. Discussing the unprecedented demand for tickets for these shows, Peel pointed to the upper deck and observed “I’ll be sitting closer to John & George than to Paul”.

The finale on Tuesday night faced a threat of heavy rain, which, thankfully did not come to pass (only a light mist fell during the actual show). The sound, again, was improved based on having a couple of shows in the rear view mirror. And while all three shows were being filmed (presumably for DVD release), there were no special guests held for the 3rd night, despite strong rumors that Ringo might appear. As with the previous nights, Paul was in top form, and especially forthcoming in his thanks to everybody involved in putting the shows together.

And while not a full blown tour (see itinerary), there was a wide selection of shirts, programs, posters and other merchandise emblazoned with “Summer Live ‘09”. Speaking of shameless plugs, the 28-page program includes a couple of adverts for the Beatles Rock Band game coming in September, the graphics of which were used as part of the stage scenery during the concerts (duly pointed out by Paul on the final night). In addition, a demo booth was set up for folks to try their hand at it.

Photos by Bob Gannon

 

 

 

 

Beat It! The Doggone Songs are Mine

What’s the Future of The Beatles Song Publishing Catalog?

By Joe Johnson

The untimely passing of Michael Jackson is pitting the King of Pop against the greatest pop catalog in the world…and here’s where it all began.

In 1982, Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson recorded a duet for Jackson’s “Thriller” album called, “The Girl is Mine”. Penned by McCartney–Jackson, it was a fluffy pop number, that despite reaching number two, million selling status on the charts, was seen as silly by fans and reviewers, especially the playful argue-fest that Macca and Michael engaged in near the end of the song. Well, two years later, that playful arguing turned real, when Jackson bought The Beatles’ song publishing catalog while McCartney was asleep at the switch.

While recording with Jackson in 1982, Paul has routinely said that he and Michael had conversations about where to invest their money. Macca told Jacko that song publishing was where he put his spare cash (Paul’s MPL owns Buddy Holly’s catalog as well as hundreds of other songs that have paid off well). Jackson reportedly told Paul then and there, that he would one day own his songs.

When the publishing rights for The Beatles catalog owned by ATV Music came up for sale in 1984, Paul planned to “get his babies back”, and rung up Yoko Ono, who represents John Lennon’s half of the Lennon – McCartney publishing. Macca told Yoko that the catalog was for sale for £20-million, and figured if they each contributed £10 million, they could split the purchase 50-50. Yoko reportedly told Paul that she thought they could get the catalog for £5 million. A short time later it was bought by Jackson for $47.5 million. Jackson ended up owning nearly all of the Lennon – McCartney songs, except for two early numbers owned by Dick James Publishing, “Please Please Me”, and “Ask Me Why”, and any songs written by Harrison or Starkey.

In the years since 1984, Jackson’s financial problems forced him to sell off half of his shares in ATV Music to Sony, leaving him with 50 percent of his original purchase. Keep in mind that while Jackson was getting money for the royalties that would otherwise be going to Lennon & McCartney had he not acquired their catalog, McCartney (and Lennon’s estate) were still getting half, “I get plenty”, Paul said to Joe Johnson in an exclusive interview in 2005, when asked if he ever wished to buy back the Beatles catalog.

 

But now, since the death of Jacko, one of the questions that has been floated, is what will happen to his share of The Beatles catalog?

Internet rumors were ripe early this year that Jackson had willed his share of the catalog, 50 percent, to Paul and Yoko if he should die first. There has been no substantiating source to that rumor, and It would be difficult to make happen anyway, considering that the catalog is not solely owned by Jackson, but was also the property of Sony/ATV Music Publishing.

It's been a question on a lot of Beatles fans' minds recently: Is it possible that the Beatles catalog could be wrenched away from Michael Jackson's ownership now that he's gone?

It's Sony that has the right of first refusal on the catalog, according to internet gossip columnist Roger Friedman, who has written much about Jackson through the years, "To settle his estate, whoever the trustee and executor are may eventually be forced to make that sale," Friedman says.

If the trustee decides to sell and Sony, for some reason, passes on it ... if both things happen -- and probably only if they both happen -- an outsider might be offered the opportunity. Underscore might. It may not happen at all.

Jackson died with reported red ink of $400 million, which would most likely eat up his share of song publishing ownership, including the 251 Beatles songs, everything from “Love Me Do” to “Give Peace a Chance”. He has three children and two mortgages, plus reportedly took a $5 million advance on a tour that was supposed to start a few weeks ago in London. Of course there are many creditors standing in line, ready to moon walk to a pile of cash, if there is one.

According to Friedman, Sony Music has the right of first refusal to buy Jackson’s half of the company. To settle his estate, whoever the trustee and executor are may eventually be forced to make that sale. Jackson owes HSBC and Barclays Bank over $320 million secured by that asset.

Then there’s the case of Neverland. Colony Capital LLC has the note on the property. It’s unclear how much their refinancing of Neverland gave to Jackson, but it could have been around $25 million over the $23 million on the ranch. It’s what Jackson was living on for cash in the last year. Neverland, now, will most likely be sold, or opened up as a tourist mecca, much like Graceland. Jackson has one other asset, his MiJac Music Publishing, which contains his own songs, and those of artists like Sly and the Family Stone.

Beatles author/historian Bruce Spizer, who is Board Certified in estate planning and administration by the Louisiana Bar Association, believes that Jackson's estate may be able to retain its publishing interest in the Lennon-McCartney catalog if it can get creditors to hold off for a while. According to Spizer, "Michael Jackson's death has caused a huge surge in sales of his recordings, videos and downloads, which will continue for several months. In the week after his death, Jackson albums made up 9 of the top 10 albums sold that week and was number one in downloads as well. Meanwhile, “Thriller” has returned as the number one selling album of all time, so the money is flowing in, while Jackson is no longer spending extravagantly.

This influx of cash in performance and publishing royalties to the Estate and the anticipated huge sales of The Beatles Remastered catalog and Rock Band game this fall will bring in tremendous publishing royalties to the estate. Although much debt is owed, there will be a great influx of cash coming soon."

The truth to Jackson’s finances will play out in different verses over the next many months. One thing is for certain, Jackson, like Elvis Presley, could be worth more in death than alive where he is no longer free to spend millions a month on a lavish lifestyle.

This story was supplemented with material from Roger Freidman, Steve Marinucici and Bruce Spizer as well as snopes.com.

 

 

 

 

A Fab Faux-tified Night in Ft Lauderdale

Fab Faux leader Will Lee told Beatle Brunch’s Joe Johnson after a Faux concert several years ago, that all thing being equal, he would prefer to make his living playing Beatles songs if he could.

That’s not to take anything away from his musical prowess as bass player and lead singer in “The CBS Orchestra” on The Late Show with David Letterman”, a gig he’s held since 1982, but based on the Faux’s performance July 18th in Ft. Lauderdale, he could easily get his wish.

When The Fab Faux played Ft. Lauderdale a week ago. Lee and the boys tore though some 30 Beatle songs with the passion of the man who co-wrote most them, who coincidentally that same night, was also playing a different set of them live 12 hundred miles away in New York.. But you might have thought that Sir Paul himself was in two places at once, as the sold out crowd at the Parker Playhouse was on their feet, and in some cases, in tears, as the boys put their game at the Toppermost of the Poppermost.

The Fab Faux are Will Lee on Bass, Jimmy Vivino on guitar and keyboards, Jack Petruzelli on keyboards and rhythm guitar, Frank Agnello on guitar, and Rich Pagano on drums. All Faux members handle vocals and some are more than memorable, like Jack’s searing vocal on “Oh! Darling”. But the show is anything but your typical Beatles tribute show. The Faux don’t don Beatle wigs and Shea Jackets. Those gimmicks only cloud the mind. The Faux play accurate, note perfect performances of songs you don’t normally hear at a Beatles soundalike show, and rather perfectly, I might add.

Songs you’re likely to hear at a Faux Shaux include “The Word”, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” (complete with a mix in of George’s gentle demo), “Tell Me Why”, “Another Girl”, “Rain”, “I’m Only Sleeping”, “And Your Bird Can Sing” and “Honey Pie”, to name a few, complete with Will’s “now she’s hit the big time” on megaphone in the intro.

Adding to the realism and to the category of “songs The Beatles Never Played Live”, are The Hogs Head Horns (featuring Tom Bones Malone from The Blues Brothers Fame) and Crème Tangerine Strings, who take on the flavor or “Penny Lane” and “I Am The Walrus” with stunning accuracy.

Catch the Fab Faux in their off time, fronting a band that clearly offers the most amazing portrayal of how Beatle records shaped our lives, and theirs too, of course.

Here’s the set list from the July 18th show in Ft. Lauderdale.

Magical Mystery Tour
Lady Madonna
All My Loving
Good Day Sunshine
The Ballad of John & Yoko
Help!
Come Together
Glass Onion
Something
I am the Walrus
The Word
Tell Me Why
Penny Lane
Got to Get You Into my Life
And Your Bird Can Sing

Another Girl
Rain
I’m Only Sleeping
While My Guitar Gently Weeps
Eleanor Rigby
Strawberry Fields Forever
Honey Pie
Yes it is
I’ll Be Back
Baby You’re a Rich Man
Oh! Darling
Golden Slumbers Medley
I’m Down
Let it Be

Read more about The Fab Faux at www.thefabfaux.com and see Joe Johnson’s excellent videos of the band and on air interviews with Will Lee on youtube at the “joeatradio” section.

Catch Will Lee and the boys on their return to Ft. Lauderdale on July 24, 2010. Get tickets at www.parkerplayhouse.com

 

 



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Live Chat With
Ken Mansfield
Sunday, August 2nd at 5PM EST

Please join us in a live, on-line chat with author, Ken Mansfield. He wrote The White Book, an excellent read about his time as U.S. Manager of Apple Records and his friendship with The Beatles. Now, Ken traces his career in his new book, Between Wyomings.

 

 

PEACE & LOVE

Take a look back to the year 1969 and celebrate the 40th Anniversary of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s “Bed-In For Peace”.

The Queen Elizabeth Hotel, where it all began in 1969, will feature Vickie Rehberg’s Art Vision Exhibition, “Give Peace An Chance” … a collection of beautiful, never before seen photographs by Gerry Deiter.

The travelling show will make its U.S. debut June 12th, at The Museum at Bethel Woods, in Bethel New York … the site of the famous 1969 Woodstock Festival, also celebrating its 40th Anniversary in August.

Beatle Brunch listeners who play Mind Games have an opportunity to win a fabulous poster from the collection PLUS 2 free admission tickets to The Museum at Bethel Woods, but remember you gotta play to win!

 

 




CRUISIN’ BRUNCHERS SELL OUT

The Beatle Brunch Silversea Cruise of the British Isles is officially SOLD OUT and we thank The Brunch Gang who helped make it possible.

Joe looks forward to entertaining and sharing a little R&R with Beatles fans on board the Silver Cloud for 10 luxurious days at sea and in exciting ports of call. We thank the brilliant staff and operators of Silversea including all others who made it possible for Beatle Brunch to be a part of their theme. We look forward to more Five Star Beatles sailing with Silversea Cruises. Stay tuned for The Beatle Brunch Silversea Radio Special and follow up on this website.