All Points West Gets Soaked; Newport Gets Folked; Paul McCartney Thrills, FedEx Doesn't Deliver



Headlines: It was a muddy one up in New York this weekend for the All Points West Festival. Rain wreaked some havoc, mostly on Sunday when the show was delayed a few hours and the first batch of acts was canceled. The theme for the festival? Covers. Friday's headliner was Jay-Z, pinch hitting for the on-the-DL Beastie Boys. He opened with "No Sleep Till Brooklyn," as fitting a tribute as there is. Friday also featured a reunion from '90s underground hip-hop faves Organized Konfusion and sets from Vampire Weekend and Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Saturday "belonged to Tool" according to the Village Voice. St. Vincent covered "Dig a Pony" by the Beatles -- maybe we'll get the same treatment at FreeFest. My Bloody Valentine did its usual thing. Some loved it, some didn't. (Quite possibly those were impatient Tool fans.) Arctic Monkeys played lots of new material. Coldplay closed out the festival with a set that included a Chris Martin solo take on "Fight For Your Right To Party." Hmm. They also did "Billie Jean." Echo and the Bunnymen served up the hits while MGMT served up a new song.

NPR's coverage for Folk at Newport is basically all you need. They've archived many of the performances, with set lists and some extra features as well. Here are a few to check out: Langhorne Slim, Mavis Staples, Fleet Foxes, Josh Ritter, Neko Case. That should keep you busy for a while. Pete Seeger always seems to steal the show. The festival concluded with sets from original folkies Joan Baez and Arlo Guthrie.

The big show in D.C. -- well, Landover -- this weekend was Paul McCartney. That's my review and, well, that's about as excited as I get. I mean, it's not exactly a news flash that one of the greatest songwriters ever trotted out tons of his best and most beloved songs, played them with passion and -- what do you know? -- it was great. Bob Dylan will forever be my favorite, but it's striking to note the differences between a current-day McCartney and Dylan show. McCartney is generous in doling out his hits; Dylan hands out a few, and they are barely recognizable versions. McCartney bounces around from instrument to instrument; Dylan mostly stands at an electric keyboard. McCartney interacts with the audience like he's old pals with each and everyone of them; Dylan might not stand sideways if he's in a good mood. Granted, these differences help define both legends -- if McCartney wasn't the rock star that lived to give and Dylan wasn't the inscrutable weirdo, we'd ask ourselves what was wrong with them. Just some observations. Meanwhile, plenty of people seemed to have very negative observations of FedEx Field as a concert venue, which is about as surprising as McCartney delivering a great show. I was lucky -- minimal traffic getting there, got out in literally 90 seconds, and experienced no problems with lines, bathrooms, etc. But there's a reason I avoid stadium shows at all costs. Well, there are many reasons and most of them can be found here.

By David Malitz |  August 3, 2009; 10:25 AM ET Morning Mix
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They should have hit up Tori instead, one of her best shows IMO.

Posted by: Hemisphire | August 3, 2009 11:17 AM

I picked up last minute (half price!) tix for McCartney through Stub Hub on a whim on Saturday. No traffic on the way in via E. Central Ave., minimal traffic getting out, no restroom issues, plenty of Guinness available...and once the concert finally got started, I was glad I'd decided to go. Funny thing is, the song that's stuck in my head ever since is "Maybe I'm Amazed," which he didn't perform but SHOULD have, instead of the lame "My Love." Whoa whoa whoa whoa - not the highlight of his songwriting career.

Posted by: kbockl | August 3, 2009 11:40 AM

I think it's something particular to FedEx Field. The Ravens stadium and RFK don't have these kinds of problems since, well, you can get there in some way other than driving and there's more than one road to the place. They're also both in better repair.

Yes, RFK is in better shape the FedEx Fail.

Posted by: EricS2 | August 3, 2009 1:25 PM

DM - Thanks for the McCartney review, which saves me a lot of trouble and explaining. If anyone asks me how it was I just refer them to your review. Only highlight of mine you didn't mention was 'Paperback Writer' which I was SO psyched he played.
I couldn't believe how happy it made me to belt out the Hey Jude Na na nas...that was just fantastic.

Posted by: catymac | August 3, 2009 2:20 PM

We drove from Pittsburgh, PA to see Paul McCartney in concert, Sir Paul didn't let us down his voice was awesome, hearing his old songs from to his new the fireworks with Live and Let Die, to his 2 encores was all heaven sent, I enjoyed hearing Paul talk to us before each song, like we were all his long time of the best concerts I have seen in the last 40+ years... I will never go back to FedEX field even if I was given free ticket's...

The concert was fantastic the 7 mile drive from our hotel to FEDEX field was a nightmare, over 2 hours to drive 7 miles, there was 8 lane of traffic funneled into two lanes in to one to drive all the way around the field to park, 1 hour and 50 minutes to exit the parking lot after the show. the traffic controllers need to come to Pittsburgh, PA and see how traffic is moved smoothly in and out of venues in downtown, Pittsburgh and Bergetstown, this venue is out in now mans land and they have no idea how to handle traffic. there is also no nice restaurant's around the FedEX field.

Posted by: joanna336 | August 3, 2009 3:00 PM

Well ,there are some across the beltway over at the Blvd. at Capital Center, but it's not walkable.

Posted by: EricS2 | August 3, 2009 4:30 PM

Great concert, but the traffic control was poor. The Redskins spokesperson tried to blame the traffic delays on the people coming not knowing alternative roads in. They should have expected that would be the case since it wasn't a Skins game and not had the electronic sign boards on the Beltway approaching the stadium directing everyone to Exit 16.

Also, that may have been a problem on the way in, but it was NOT the issue on the way out. Traffic was not moving out of the lots to even have the choice of other exits. The exit I was parked near had 3 lanes in and 3 lanes out. It was after midnight, they could have easily turned two of the lanes in to out lanes and moved traffic quicker. But they didn't do that and even had one of the 3 out lanes blocked for a 20 yard stretch for no apparent reason so that everything had to merge down to 2 lanes for 20 yards before going back to 3 lanes. Also, they had the lights working normally with no officers directing traffic once the traffic got to the main roads outside the stadium. If it had been Sunday afternoon, ok I can see there is a lot of normal traffic on the road so work the lights as normal. But at past 1 am when most of the traffic in the area is from the stadium, do what you need to do to move the traffic. Even with 50,000 people needing to get out, there is no reason it should take over an hour to just get out of the lots onto the exit roads INSIDE the stadium grounds. The way they have all the concrete barriers throughout the parking lot limits your ability to get around in the parking lot to try other exits. I'm glad I decided not to get tickets to DC United vs Real Madrid this Sunday, but will have to put up with the traffic for U2 this fall.

By contrast, I've been to events in Philly where they have all the stadiums and arenas next to each other sharing the same lots. I've been there when there have been three different events going on at the same time and you still got out in under 15 minutes.

Posted by: thrh1 | August 3, 2009 6:42 PM

Up the road apiece at Merriweather we took in the Prog Nation event, also Saturday night, featuring Dream Theater, Dweezil Zappa and Queensryche, Big Elf and Scale the Summit. We arrived too late for the Elf and STS, but mostly enjoyed the other 3. Dweezil gave note-for-note museum performances of many of his dad's hits, including Apostrophe and Montana. None of the off-color pieces, though, oddly. We were disappointed in the sound quality of DT-- on many occasions much of their artistry was lost in a muddy wall of noise-- particularly the vocals and Petrucci's guitar. They played primarily songs from the new CD. Queensryche sounded on the whole better than the last time we saw them, about 4 years ago at Nissan opening for Judas Priest.

Posted by: lauraoev | August 3, 2009 10:39 PM

It's all true. Pitifully appalling "people" support by FEDEX Field. Absolutely amazing concert by Paul McCartney.

Posted by: rgrmfrjrr | August 3, 2009 11:15 PM

No joke, I heard Fight For Your Right to Party over the speakers at Williams-Sonoma on Sunday. Chris Martin must be on to something.

Posted by: gfriday | August 4, 2009 9:54 AM

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