Paul McCartney & Neil Young Rock Desert Trip
By Sal Cirrincione
October 9, 2016
When Neil Young was asked what he planned to play at Desert Trip he said, “We have no plans... we won't know what we're gonna play until we walk out there.” Neil should have made a plan: his nearly two-hour set Saturday night at the three-day festival in Indio, California had more valleys than peaks.
He started out strong with solo acoustic performances of “After the Gold Rush” and “Heart of Gold,” but then began to lose the crowd with such less-familiar songs as “Comes a Time,” “Mother Earth (Natural Anthem)” and “Out on the Weekend.” “Harvest Moon" was another peak, but then recognized the weak response he was getting and asked, “How you doing out there?” and “How’s the other person?”
Things picked up during a 22-minute rendition of “Down by the River” in a segment with “Powderfinger” and “Rockin' in the Free World.”
Neil tossed in a plug for Sunday’s finale with Roger Waters, saying, “Come back tomorrow ’cause Roger is going to build a wall that will make Mexico great again.”
Paul McCartney did many of the same songs he's been playing all year, but there were a few surprises. The first was the first live performance of The Beatles' “Why Don’t We Do It in the Road?” with a Neil Young guitar solo. (Neil also joined in on “A Day in the Life,” which went into a bit of “Give Peace a Chance”). And, for the first time since 1993, he played “I Wanna Be Your Man,” the song he and John Lennon wrote for The Rolling Stones, as a nod to the Stones, who covered The Beatles’ “Come Together” Friday.
Unlike Young, McCartney mostly gave the people what they want. At one point he said, “We know what songs you like hearing. It lights up with your phones like a galaxy of stars during certain songs, like Beatles ones. When we play one you don't know, it's like a black hole. So here's another black hole," as he went into "Queenie Eye" from his last album, New.
The first weekend of Desert Trip wraps up with The Who and Roger Waters. The same line-up repeats next Friday, Saturday and Sunday: Bob Dylan and The Stones on Friday; Neil Young and Paul McCartney on Saturday; and The Who and Waters on Sunday.
Paul McCartney's Desert Trip set list:
- A Hard Day's Night
- Can't Buy Me Love
- Letting Go
- Day Tripper
- Let Me Roll It w/Foxy Lady
- I've Got a Feeling
- My Valentine (dedicated to his wife: "We got our wedding anniversary tomorrow, so this one's for you Nance!")
- Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five
- Maybe I'm Amazed
- We Can Work It Out
- In Spite of All the Danger
- I've Just Seen a Face
- Love Me Do (dedicated to George Martin)
- And I Love Her
- Here Today (dedicated to John Lennon)
- Queenie Eye
- Lady Madonna
- Eleanor Rigby
- Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!
- A Day in the Life/Give Peace a Chance w/Neil Young
- Why Don't We Do It in the Road w/Neil Young
- Something (dedicated to George Harrison)
- Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da
- Back in the U.S.S.R.
- Let It Be
- Live and Let Die
- Hey Jude
- I Wanna Be Your Man
- Helter Skelter
- Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End
Photo: Getty Images