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Paul McCartney "....all gilt and flash."

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by rumblefish, Oct 18, 2005.

  1. I saw Paul last week at the Palace of Auburn Hills, Michigan.
    This highly anticipated show had been sold out for months.
    McCartney, 63, kicked off the show with "Magical Mystery Tour" then proceeded to fill the remaining 3 hours with a variety of his past and present hits. The light show was bright and showy, replete with fog machines and flashpots.
    If you saw his Superbowl performance last year, you've seen this colorful, digitally-controlled backdrop. He spared no expense to have good visuals, now if only his sound had fared as well.
    Here we are in 2005 and Paul unfortunately chose style over substance in his selection of the Hofner bass as his instrument that night.
    "Muddy and indistinct" best describes the tone offered to his adoring fans. Bass pioneer and musical innovator Paul could do no better than be locked in to partnership with the dubious "Beatle Bass" he popularized 40 years ago.
    For live sound I'd think he would have been better off using a Rickenbacker with a fresh set of Rotosounds.
    In his interview in last month's Bassplayer Magazine, Paul lists the benefits the Hofner bass, lightness, dry, thumpy sound and classic looks to which he is apparently wed.
    When Paul would switch to guitar, the other chap assigned to bass played, I believe, a Les Paul Bass. A Bass that, in theory, should be able to project some tone. No such dice.
    A wall of mud again flowed over the crowd with absolutely no individual bass notes being discernable over the vocals-heavy mix. The whole night was like that.
    I really wanted to hear Paul play his bass but I was unable to.
    My point? Here's one of the richest men in the world calling the shots on every aspect of his tour. He could have, at sound check, solo the bass, EQ it bright and punchy, then mix everything up around it so that IT was the center of his sound.
    I still like Paul and his songs, I really do, at least he is still rocking when others have burned out long ago. I just wish he'd give his concert sound some consideration. Bassplayers need to hear bassplayers.
  2. bassmonkeee

    bassmonkeee Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA

    Yeah, but the other 40k-50k probably got exactly what they were looking for. you want a bass show--go see Victor Wooten.
  3. slugworth

    slugworth Banned

    Jun 12, 2003
    So. Calif.
    I blame the sound guy. I've been to many, many shows in these huge barns where the bass sound is just as you described Paul's. I just cannot understand why this continues in this day and age with all the stuff available to get a good
    bass sound. Are the majority of sound guys deaf and incompetent? :rollno:

  4. BSR6P-Bob


    Apr 5, 2005

    I saw the Flecktones at Ravinia and Victor's sound was just mud.

    I'll see Paul at the United Center tomorrow night. (A gift to my wife.) Maybe the sound man will have it together there.

    The problem isn't Paul's bass.
  5. darkblack99

    darkblack99 Supporting Member

    He'd have obtained a more dynamic tone with a washtub bass...What a thrifty knight is he, probably still has the strings from the last tour on it.

  6. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    Remembe the place where the doors we smashed?
  7. dougjwray


    Jul 20, 2005
    Sorry about the sound... I'm convinced that there are certain rooms in which it is impossible to get a decent bass sound. When I saw him a couple of years ago in Hartford, Connecticut, I had the same problem. The huge (and arena-friendly) sound Abe Laboriel, Jr. produces can't help, either.

    Now, on to the important stuff...
    How were his singing, guitar playing, piano playing and [ahem] repertoire???? :D
  8. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    I'd say any area qualifies. Even large theaters are almost impossible.
  9. I guess when you're a living legend like Sir Paul you can play anything you damn well please. As much as live sound has improved from the 60's (when I started going to shows) it's still not perfect and will never be - particularly in stadium/enormodome kind of halls. Paul is ok in my book - at least he's still out there, and he does put on a tremendous show. Sure wish I could see him this go around. Hope it's not the last.
  10. For all the innovative bass things Paul has done over his career... his first priority is the songs. If you weren't a bass player, or even a musician- would you have noticed? I saw him on the 2002 tour and it was the best show of my life.
  11. soholounge


    Aug 11, 2004
    he didn't say he wanted a slap-circus bass show.
    he wanted to hear PM's great bass playing, that's all.

    if i went to the show, i wouldn't have wanted to hear muddy bass either.
  12. jetsetvet

    jetsetvet Banned

    Mar 24, 2005
    I can't disagree that some arenas are tough for the bass EQ, but still......in my youth I was a Deadhead and ended up at nearly 100 shows over the course of the years. Not once, ever, would I say that Phil Lesh's bass tone was muddy, nor was there a time when his notes were not clearly discernable from the rest of the mix. (....including shows at the Hartford Civic Center.) And I didn't even drop that much acid.

    The Dead, like 'em or not, are/were reputable for running some of the most elaborate and high-end sound systems out there. Decent sound in difficult spaces is achievable if the tech and $ committment are there.

    In its day, this system was above and beyond just about anything, anywhere, ever.......

  13. BSR6P-Bob


    Apr 5, 2005
    Yes, Paul left the mains sound up to the house crew (United Center) so as expected, muddy on the bottom and distorted on top. A bit better on the solo and acoustic guitar tunes.

    However, mains sound not withstanding, Sir Macca is alive and well and still kicking a$$. A 2 hour show and 3 encores and his playing/singing (while not done justice by the house PA)was in top form throughout. :bassist:
  14. sidviciousII


    Oct 20, 2005
    call me old (too late...)but amature bands are the best, the sound, the atmosphere. big gigs have a lot of hype and have to maintain standards. i went to see blink a while ago i paid 50 pounds and it wasnt worth it.sorry
  15. ducaticarl


    Oct 16, 2005
    I have to agree I am not a fan of the "old" muddy tone where you can't hear any of the notes the bass player is playing ...I remember seeing the Who back in 89 and was amazed at Entwhistles sound...not muddy at all..here is a guy who came from the same era as paul McCartney but had a totally different sound ...I actually have an old instructional vhs with entwhistle and his sound is very bright and he says that this is the same sound he uses live..but it just seems to cut through better......................