Sunday, January 02, 2011

McCartney recalls DC, IFC picks up classic comedies

Paul McCartney and others recalled the first-ever Beatles concert in Washington, DC back in 1964. I own the VHS tape of The Beatles First U.S. Visit so I have seen footage of the concert.
Paul McCartney: We'd seen a lot of British stars come back from America with their tails between their legs. We made a promise to ourselves to not go until we had a No. 1. We were so excited to be madly popular in America, which was to us the Holy Grail because every shred of music we ever loved came from there. It was euphoric, and now we were heading to Washington on the train, which was very glamorous. And to cap it off, there was that beautiful snow.[...]

McCartney: The press conferences were quite funny. It was always: "Hey, Beatles, is that hair real, or is it a wig?" Well that's a very good question, isn't it? How dumb are you? But we didn't mind it at all. We expected it. It was a completely different world. It's not like now where you'll find all these kids writing for the internet. It was elderly, balding gentlemen who smoked a lot -- grownups looking disapprovingly at the children having too much fun. We knew it wasn't hard to beat that kind of cynicism. It was like a chess game. And the great thing was, being four of us, one of us could always come up with a smart-ass answer.[...]

McCartney: That was the first time we'd ever played in the round. We said: "Do we have to do it?" "Yeah. We've sold tickets everywhere. You'll have to turn around." How the hell are we doing to do that? "Well, just do a few numbers east then shuffle around north. Then do a few numbers north and shuffle around west." We said: "What's Ringo doing to do?" He had to shuffle the kit around himself.

The idea that we had our backs and sides to three-fourths of the audience at any point of the show was awkward. We were used to getting them and holding them -- paying attention to them and having them pay attention to us. There were a few things we did once with the Beatles, and playing in the round in Washington was one of them. I don't think I've done the in-the-round thing ever since.[...]

McCartney: It was terrific. We'd been used to it in smaller doses. But in our minds, it's only right that it should get bigger. And where better for it than America, where everything is bigger? It was very exciting, just having that many people -- predominantly girls, all screaming.[...]

McCartney: Opening with "Roll Over Beethoven" wasn't a statement. Every time we did shows, we did the same as I do now: You just feel the climate; you put your finger in the air and whichever side goes cold is the way the wind's blowin'. We didn't plan those things. It was just: "Let's start with George doing "Roll Over Beethoven." It's rockin'. " In retrospect, I should be telling it was a calculated move to show the world of classical music that it was time they rolled over and made way for the delightful young sound that's going to take over.[...]

McCartney: I don't remember thinking we played particularly well. But looking back, time has been very kind to us. It was a cool gig.[...]

McCartney: We had been asked somewhere what is your favorite sweet, and we said jelly babies. So the fans took to throwing them onstage, and this had reached Washington. In England, they're soft and always in the shape of babies. What do you call them? Jelly beans. They're hard. They stung, and we're playing in the round, and they're being thrown from everywhere. It was very unsettling. After that, we said the time has come for us to tell people we hate these damn things. They were only trying to be cute; throw the cute bits at the cute boys, that will be fun. But if you caught one of those in the eye, that was none too pleasant.[...]

McCartney: I'm sure we got pissed off by not being able to just enjoy ourselves and always having to answer some dumb question about this that and the other -- like what toothpaste we were using. We saw ourselves as sophisticated dudes in those days and there was a little bit of irritation at the undue attention we were getting. But at the same time, we asked for it. We knew what it was.[...]

McCartney: The idea of going to an ambassador's party was sort of amusing and vaguely interesting, but it wasn't our scene. It was a little too aristocratic. It was a little jolly hockey sticks. "Oh, the Beatles, how delightful! How amusing!" Yeah, alright love. Then one of these debutantes came up with a pair of scissors and tried to snip our hair, like she was walking up behind some mannequins. Okay, time to leave! We knew we were famous and up for grabs, but that was most definitely out of order. Finally somebody had crossed the line majorly. It was unfortunate. But the great thing about memories is that the good bits are the ones that tend to that remain. The trip to Washington is a very romantic time in my memory.
In other news, IFC is allowing you to revisit some classic comedies from the 1990s including The Larry Sanders Show, The Ben Stiller Show, and Mr. Show with Bob and David.
The vintage series that IFC will present as part of a nightly 90-minute comedy block are “The Larry Sanders Show,” the HBO series about a self-loathing late-night host played by Garry Shandling; “The Ben Stiller Show,” a short-lived but influential Fox sketch show that helped introduce viewers to Mr. Stiller and pals like Janeane Garofalo and Andy Dick; and “Mr. Show With Bob and David,” a slightly longer-lived HBO sketch show created by Mr. Odenkirk and Mr. Cross, both “Ben Stiller” veterans.

These three series will begin showing on IFC next month (with “Larry Sanders” to have its debut on Jan. 3; “Ben Stiller” on Jan. 5; and “Mr. Show” on Jan. 7), along with new interview and retrospective segments hosted by the comedian Scott Aukerman, another survivor of “Mr. Show” and a founder of the Los Angeles comedy showcase Comedy Death-Ray.
IFC has also aired Freaks and Geeks, Undeclared, and Arrested Development in syndication.

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