Same corner, different outcomes
An acquaintance of mine tapped me on the shoulder at the bar on Saturday evening.
"Goin' to the McCartney gig?", he asked.
I shrugged & said I wasn't, not really my thing, I added. He looked at me aghast. McCartney, a local icon, one quarter of the band that reinvented popular music, & I wasn't going?!
"I'll be seeing Springsteen in Manchester on Wednesday," I added.
He pulled a face & said, "Ah, but it's not quite the same, is it?"
Wishing to curtail what I knew would be a pointless conversation, I just smiled & said nothing.
It's certainly the case that the Liverpool Sound concert at Anfield on Sunday will be impressive. The spectacle of Anfield hosting a rock gig is a novelty in itself (the Hillsborough Justice concert in the early 90s notwithstanding). The line-up, too, is beginning to take shape with Dave Grohl, Kaiser Chiefs & the Zutons putting some meat on what was looking an alarmingly threadbare bill.
Comparisons can be invidious, so I won't go down the McCartney/Springsteen back catalogue album by album, etc. However, it is clear that New Jersey's finest continues to make records which strive to say something. As a live performer, too, Springsteen still throws himself into the spirit of the evening, as has been noted by the UK media of his Dublin shows over the weekend (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/arts/main.jhtml?xml=arts/2008/05/26/bmbruce126.xml ).
David Cheal's review echoes my own view of Springsteen the live performer:
"Whenever I see him on stage, everyone else fades into the background; all those so-called globe-conquering acts are thrown into sharp relief by the glorious wall of sound and waves of emotion that pulse from the man and his band."
Meanwhile, ahead of the Anfield concert on Sunday, the relics from the Mersey Beat scene have ambled out of the Matthew Street hostelries where they regale American tourists with less than riveting anecdotes about the good old days. Pete Best, the man who was sacked by the rest of the band as the Beatles' drummer & replaced by Ringo Starr, has extended what's being described as an olive branch to Macca (http://www.starpulse.com/news/index.php/2008/05/25/original_beatles_drummer_hopes_for_reuni ).
Let bygones be bygones seems to be the message from the man who worked in a bakery at the same time as the Fabs were recording Sgt. Pepper. Best later suffered a mental breakdown & reportedly attempted suicide.
If I were McCartney, I'd feel safer in the company of Mark Chapman & Heather Mills than in a hotel room with Best.