In 2009, a stellar group of musicians got together in support of The David Lynch Foundation, a charity primarily devoted to helping reduce the damaging effects of stress, anxiety, depression, and substance abuse. “There have to be dozens of these concerts floating around out there” I hear you say. Another concert with Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and a host of others? No, not really, but you have to either read between the lines or pay close attention with your ears, there are a few things that set this show apart from the others.
The first thing that sets this apart is irony and a sense of this being more than a musical reunion of McCartney and Starr. There’s an appearance with Donovan who does a spot-on rendition of Hurdy Gurdy Man, with Paul Horn on flute and near the end, a guest appearance by none other than Beach Boys founding member Mike Love. Remember the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction back in 1989 where Love commandeered the podium and stated, “The Beach Boys did about 180 performances last year, I’d like to see the mop tops match that,” and then proceeded to call Mick Jagger “chicken shit” for not performing with him? Well, apparently McCartney and Starr aren’t, but Jagger still hasn’t taken him up on the challenge. What was Love doing at this show? The David Lynch foundation is a big proponent of Transcendental Meditation, something that has connected The Beatles and The Beach Boys since the two were together in Rishikesh with the Maharishi in 1968. Also in attendance at that famed TM retreat? Paul Horn and Donovan. So this is actually bigger than the sum of its parts, strictly from an irony standpoint.
It does however take more than irony to make for a compelling watch, and there is more, lots more. Eddie Veder does an a capella rendition of “Rise” that’s stellar. Ben Harper joins him for an inspired version of “Under Pressure” (ironic again, consider the title)…. Before McCartney brings out his band, one of my favorite drummers, Steve Jordan provides rhythm, Cheryl Crow is there for vocals on “Yellow Submarine,” and Ben Harper with some very solid lap pedal steel guitar work.
If the lineup isn’t compelling enough for you to pick this up, there’s the audio quality. The concert took place at the venerable Radio City Music Hall a place that has almost perfect acoustics. the acoustics translate quite well for the home viewer. I just wonder why this wasn’t released earlier.
Natural Blues – Moby, Betty LaVette, TM Choir
Rise – Eddie Vedder
Under Pressure – Eddie Vedder & Ben Harper
My Sweet Lord – Sheryl Crow
Hurdy Gurdy – Donovan & Jim James
Isle of Islay – Donovan and Paul Horn
It Don’t Come Easy – Ringo Starr
Boys – Ringo Starr
Yellow Submarine – Ringo Starr
Baby You Can Drive My Car – Paul McCartney
Jet – Paul McCartney
Got To Get You Into My Life – Paul McCartney
Let It Be – Paul McCartney
Here Today – Paul McCartney
Band On The Run – Paul McCartney
With A Little Help From My Friends – Paul McCartney & Ringo Starr
Cosmically Conscious – All members
I Saw Her Standing There – All members