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Fifty Years Ago Today, Part 3

 

Peter Frampton on a 64 335 along with the very talented Steve Lukather.

Peter Frampton on a 64 335 along with the very talented Steve Lukather.

Adam Levine on a 63 or 64 335.

Adam Levine on what looks like a 63/64 335. Could be a reissue judging from where I’m sitting but maybe not. Wrong tuners but, really, who cares.

Rusty put down the blonde 59 'cuz he needed a whammy and this 59 or 60 ES-355 seemed to do it. Knock of $1000 for the missing pickup cover.

Rusty put down the blonde 59 ‘cuz he needed a whammy and this 59 or 60 ES-355 mono seemed to do it. Knock off $1000 for the missing pickup cover.

There wasn’t going to be a part 3, actually but I feel compelled to write a little more – mostly about the CBS “Tribute” Show that aired last night (Sunday Feb 9). If nothing else, it certainly was an ES fest. Without going back through the show, I would say more ES guitars showed up on stage than any other. Adam Levine on what looked like a 63/64 block, Dave Grohl on the blue Trini, Peter Frampton playing a red 64, Rusty Anderson on his blonde dot neck and what looked like a 59 or 60 ES-355. But the show wasn’t about guitars, although some very fine playing was in evidence. There was also a big dose of nostalgia (always fun), some really dopey choices (c’mon, circus acts up in the air?), unforgivable overproduction and way too many shots of Tom Hanks and Mrs. Hanks. And Yoko Ono but at least she’s part of the family. I always wonder who you have to know to get tickets to events like this or for the Sullivan Show in 1964. When they interviewed some of the “girls” from the 1964 audience, one was named Sarnoff. What a surprise -David Sarnoff owned RCA and NBC (I know-it was on CBS but connections are connections). Sir Paul generally puts on a good show and he was in great form although at his age some of the high notes, as Ringo would say, don’t come easy. Ringo was just wonderful. Same old Ringo having fun and being fun to watch. I should look that good at the age of 73.

As far as the acts went, it was a pretty mixed bag. I’m neither a TV critic nor a music critic although I’m probably a lot more qualified to critique the program as television-40 years as an editor gives me that right. As television, the show was kind of a mess but a fun mess. I enjoyed the Letterman interviews in the Ed Sullivan Theatre (where I worked for almost 20 years). As music, it certainly had its great moments. As something of a Beatles aficionado, I don’t like covers of Beatle songs and I really don’t like “interpretations” of them. As talented as Stevie Wonder is, I didn’t think “We Can Work it Out” was anything more than Stevie does his version of a Beatles tune. Fair enough. The other end of the spectrum, I suppose, was Maroon 5 doing All My Loving. It sounded very Beatles like and I would be happy if my Beatles cover band could do it that well. But there were moments that soared (and not necessarily the ones the real critics are wetting their pants over) and some that landed with a thud. Sorry, Annie Lennox’ “Fool” didn’t do it for me nor did John Legend and Alicia Keys’ “Let it Be” although they all have wonderful voices. I thought seeing Dhani Harrison (hello, Mr Director, there’s a third guy on the stage-how about including him) doing “Something” along with Joe Walsh and Jeff Lynne was quite moving. He looks so much like George, it’s scary. The singing hats doing “Here Comes the Sun” was simply dull. Katy Perry? Don’t get me started. John Mayer and Keith Urban’s guitar pyrotechnics on “Don’t Let Me Down” were impressive but out of character here. So, what did I like? “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” was fab with Joe Walsh, Gary Clark, Jr and Dave Grohl just tearing it up out there. But the high point for me (and probably very few others) of the non Beatles performances was “Hey Bulldog.” There’s a vibe to a Beatles song-it’s not always the same vibe but if you can capture it, it almost doesn’t matter who is performing. The essence of the song was there.  Dave Grohl and Jeff Lynne (and the piano player who was just great) were having a ball out there and the spirit of John was alive and kicking on the stage. Steve Lukather nailed the guitar break but the director totally missed it. Despite that, it was magic.

When it was time for real Beatles, there were some great moments-“Sgt Pepper” being performed live with French horns was wonderful and you knew the famous Ringo was coming out next the moment they started the song. Loved it. The first two numbers “Birthday” and “Get Back” showed us that Paul can still hit the high notes but not without a fight. His band, especially his very hard working drummer, were tight as ever (love the black SG that Brian Ray was playing). Finally, “Hey Jude” was the appropriate closer and everybody looked appropriately exhausted by the time it was over. Even Tom Hanks.

Dave Grohl, who stood out as the guy having the most fun-in the audience, behind the drums and playing guitar. Jeff Lynne didn't look like he was having that much fun but "Hey Bulldog" was the highlight for me. Nice Trini, Dave but not as nice as the one I offered you two years ago.

Dave Grohl stood out as the guy having the most fun-in the audience, behind the drums and playing guitar. Jeff Lynne didn’t look like he was having that much fun but “Hey Bulldog” was the highlight for me. Nice Trini, Dave but not as nice as the one I offered you three years ago.

2 Responses to “Fifty Years Ago Today, Part 3”

  1. RAB says:

    Yup, some memorable guitar moments which would have been even better if the sound-engineers got the lead guitar levels right on many of the tunes! And nice old git-tars including Brian Ray’s LPTV double cut!

  2. cgelber says:

    That, too.

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