the future, 7/18, lit lounge, nyc
For stylistic purposes I have chosen to combine the Paul McCartney and The Future reviews in order to represent both ends of the rock spectrum that I experienced in these 26 hours of bizzarro.
This concert was a totally unexpected prize. Partially through the week my friend Mark invited me to see it with some of his running crew at the brand new home of the New York Mets, Citi Field (atrocious name, why not "Shea II"?). Paul McCartney. The Beatle, Paul McCartney. The CUTE Beatle, Paul McCartney! How could anyone say no to that? The hitch came when Mark announced we'd be taking a Rocks Off boat up the East River to the stadium. A huge obstacle because I'm horrible on boats (I wanted to off myself during a Soulive boat cruise a few years back). I never actually puke, but the nausea is enough to prevent me from boarding in the first place. It would be quite a challenge, but I would do it for Paul McCartney*. Even if I had to "Scooby Doo" it the whole way.
Mark timed it correctly so we would be the last people to board the boat = less time for me to want to die on the boat. Jake from Wetlands does the boat cruises and gave us a tour up the East River, which included not only Riker's Island, but also the NYC DOC converted-barge-floating-prison! Sounds like hell! There's also a supplement to a LaGuardia runway that juts out into Flushing Bay that left me feeling uneasy. Or maybe that was the boat. It was probably the boat.
The plan to sit me down seemed to work as I only felt myself turn green just a once. About an hour later we docked and walked right into the Citi Field parking lot. This was a pretty swank way to go to a show (and ballgame probably) and I recommend it if you like boats & booze (in that order). Next, Rocks Off is getting hovercrafts for the St. Patrick's Day parade.
After finding Mark's crew in the lot (There was no Shakedown Street or grilled cheese to be found anywhere), we headed into the ballpark. My last trip to Shea was about 3 seasons ago, I always found it kind of a monstrosity. It was very industrial looking and sort of ugly. First impression of Citi Field: it kinda reminded me of Chelsea Market. Very cool, greys, bricks, separate kiosks scattered for food. You don't get the feeling that you're in NYC (except for the constant planes from LGA flying directly overhead). The open air design really did feel friendly w/ plenty of food to choose from. Way nicer than Shea. Then we walked by the MTV Rock Band Beatles stage, blaring the Beatles and featuring the vocal stylings of Mr. Pete DeGrazio. What a treat!
Not long afterwards, Sir Paul McCartney walked out and opened with Drive My Car. It was so odd to witness an actual, real life Beatle before me- it was almost surreal. He is still a mop-topped Liverpudlian and even fussed with said mop-top throughout the show (it drove the ladies wild). There were more stage sets than I've ever seen in my life. Lights and monitors were readjusted, raised, and removed for every song! The monitors played footage and photo montages including the Beatles Rock Band game animations (that was kind of a lame sellout moment). It was a ridiculous and massive production. Spectacular, really. And a real life Beatle!
He reminisced many times during the set about the Beatles legendary concert at Shea in 1965, explaining the difference in production values. The Beatles had to be piped through the stadium's PA system and you couldn't actually hear the music over the screaming girls. Right on cue, all the ladies would scream. He mentioned it like 3 times during the show. I hope it was cuz he wanted to hear all the shrieking again and not because he has dementia. Seriously. Paul fucking McCartney.
The crowd was a multi-generational, well-behaved, and plastic poncho wearing mix that included many who had been to the '65 Shea concert and returned to rock out. Bonkers. It was a real "thumbs-up" kinda crowd.
The setlist had a handful of Beatle's songs, then some of his solo and Wings stuff. He played touching tributes to: John Lennon, George Harrison, and Linda McCartney. Also, Heather Mill is a legless whore! He didn't say that but he was totally thinking it.
The show was great but didn't really start rocking until Back In the USSR. It warmed up the entire stadium. There was some hippie action going down during Give Peace a Chance. But when Live and Let Die kicked in- three words: pyro fucking technics! Fire! Awesome! At least a handful of concertgoers pooped their pants.
In 2008, Paul joined Billy Joel during his concert at Shea. So Billy Joel-- a painfully sunburned (the kind that burns when you sweat) Billy Joel returned the favor and sat in on I Saw Her Standing There. Perhaps a reference to both their recent divorces?
This Paul McCartney show was a once in a lifetime opportunity. Another name to cross off the list***! Mark, I owe you some cookies.
I was hardly recovered from Friday night when Huiwen and Caprice convinced me to go out for a Girl's Night in the Citay. The centerpiece of the evening was when Caprice's friends, The Future, would take the stage at Lit Lounge. To up the ante, Miss Phatty Girl would be performing interpretive dance during a few numbers.
Lit Lounge. The place is every bit the shithole you'd expect. I walked inside and was met with the exact smell of the Bellvue Bar's bathroom- with the addition of incense (to try and cover it up-- that always works). My eyes watered and my nostrils instinctively constricted to avoid the toxicity of my surroundings. Close your eyes and imagine drowning in the blue liquid that flushes airplane toilets. And incense. The NYPD has flyers up both inside and outside the bar, warning people to watch their belongings. There were no warning signs about the watered down vodka or the 2nd nastiest bathroom in the world****.
We wandered downstairs to the basement and The Future hit the stage. They've got a loud sound to 'em. Power pop, heavily influenced by Zappa, Primus, and GWAR (and possibly Lady Gaga). One guitar lick was a total rip-off of Primus' Ballad of Bodacious. Don't think I didn't notice.
Their stage antics were a throwback to legendary performers, Ominous Seapods and included the tragic dismemberment of an innocent puppet. Of course, one can't talk about The Future's stage show without discussing the one and only Miss Phatty Girl, The Future's private dancer, dancer for money. It was Miss Phatty Girl's birthday, so the boys in the band got her some cupcakes, which she promptly redecorated herself with. It's fair to say Miss Phatty Girl services a specialty market in the adult dancing world, but it's nice that she can break through the barriers of weightism and expand her--- uh... audience.
Let me once again praise the goodness of my 15dB musician's ear filters, because there are only a scant few musicians I would willingly destroy my hearing via. Custom molded and worth every cent of the $150 (if that?) they cost. Handy whether you're in an extra loud bluegrass show or cement basement with low ceilings and too many speakers. Unsolicited Advice: Go get your damn hearing tested, cuz it's only getting worse.
After it all, what I still find fascinating and the reason for combining these two reviews into one, is that however many degrees apart Paul McCartney and the Future are, they are still connected. A band like The Future, would not exist without a man like Paul McCartney, but I am fairly certain Paul McCartney had never envisioned The Future (or Miss Phatty Girl) when he was helping create the genre known as Rock n' Roll. That *SNAP* you just heard was your mind being blown.
I'm still ranking them separately because- let's be honest, (even though he dyes his hair) Paul McCartney is a fucking Beatle. A BEATLE! Paul McCartney: 9 HUZZAHS!** Many many thanks to Mark, he is the Hospitality King.
The Future feat. the dance spectacular known as Miss Phatty Girl: 7.5 HUZZAHS! The spirit of the Seapods lives on.
Paul McCartney, 7/17/09, Citi Field, Flushing, NY
Drive My Car / Jet / Only Mama Knows / Flaming Pie / Got To Get You Into My Life / Let Me Roll It/Purple Haze / Highway / The Long and Winding Road / My Love / Blackbird / Here Today / Dance Tonight / Calico Skies / Mrs. Vanderbilt / Eleanor Rigby / Sing the Changes / Band on the Run / Back in the U.S.S.R. / I’m Down / Something / I’ve Got a Feeling / Paperback Writer / A Day in the Life/Give Peace a Chance / Let It Be / Live and Let Die / Hey Jude
ENCORES: Day Tripper / Lady Madonna / I Saw Her Standing There (with Billy Joel) / Yesterday / Helter Skelter / Get Back / Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band/The End
* If you're not gonna do it for Paul McCartney, who are you gonna do it for? (I would also do it for God Street Wine)
** Dude. BEATLE.
*** LIST: People to see before they die.
**** 1st is The Monopole's basement.