Wednesday, February 4, 2009

More thoughts on Paul at Coachella

Paul might find himself in a tricky spot with Coachella. If he was to focus his set around Electric Arguments , his well-regarded and most recent album, he could reasonably present himself as having operated within the spirit of the festival, i.e. playing artful and somewhat experimental music that's askew of the mainstream. I mean, what's more hipster than a 66 year-old Brit serving up varied electro-pop? At the same time, if I was an average Coachella-goer (and not, for the sake of argument, a Beatlemaniac), I could imagine thinking that if I'm going to see The Paul McCartney play, I might as well get a healthy fix of Beatles songs. Sure, Paul isn't as dynamic of a performer as he once was; and sure, those renditions of Fab Four classics that consist of a single Beatle flanked by nameless musicians never really come together as you'd hope. So what? It's Paul McCartney, one-fourth of pop's greatest-ever group. How about some "I Saw Her Standing There" or "Eleanor Rigby" or "Why Don't We Do It in the Road" just so you have the chance to partake of all that history and grandeur (even if it's in a qualified form). This desire would generally seem stronger and more widespread than any tendency to squirm about Paul's age or style or the apparent disconnect between his music and what the other Coachella acts have to offer (and I don't mean a disconnect in terms of the broad sweep of pop music history). Maybe Paul can put together a set list that accommodates both sides of what I've discussed here and avoids the hazard of a disjointed or uneven feel. It's a danger that lurks in the task of bringing together songs separated by multiple decades. Let's then conclude by saying, perhaps obviously, that Paul and the minds behind Coachella should want to figure out ways they can creatively assemble and manage this performance. After all, Paul is an icon, and he's almost certainly more "important" than anyone else slated for this mammoth festival.

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