Paul McCartney – Ed Sullivan Theater – New York

My favorite Paul McCartney era in terms of live performances has to be during the years 1989 through 1993. McCartney worked with a stellar group of musicians including Robbie McIntosh, Hamish Stuart and Wix Wickens. I saw Macca live on both tours during that time (1990 and 1993) and have collected a bunch of boots from that era. One recording that stands out among all the live boots from those tours is the 1992 show at the Ed Sullivan Theater that was done for the MTV special “Up Close”. Macca’s album Off the Ground was about to be released at the time and so the show was part of the whole promotional campaign for the album. The world tour was still a few months off so the set list for this show was pretty unique with songs that never made it on tour, including:

Big Boys Bickering – a non-album B-side that features Sir Paul singing the F word. It’s pretty weird. it’s like hearing your grandfather cussing or something. It’s probably the reason why it was dropped from their live set especially since fans bring their kids to the shows and all. Well that plus maybe the fact the song wasn’t all that good to begin with.

I Owe It All to You – a deep cut off the new album. I’ve always liked the melody and the instrumental portion of the song (especially McIntosh’s fantastic guitar work) but the lyrics are sadly cringe-tastic!

Can’t Buy Me Love – yes, the song has always been part of Macca’s live set but this version was performed in an interesting pseudo-bluegrass style. Pretty fun to listen to. I’m not sure if the way they did the song was simply a spur of the moment thing but it was never done that way again.

There are several versions of this show circulating among fans. I don’t know if there’s a sound quality difference among the versions but I highly recommend getting your hands on one of the recordings of this show. It’s fantastic and definitely *a must* for any McCartney fan. McCartney sounds relaxed and on the top of his game during the show and the band is absolutely flawless. I love the way Robbie McIntosh plays and Hamish Stuart voice blends well with Sir Macca’s. Oh and I have to add that Blair Cunningham drums with restraint which is what these songs need as opposed to sir Paul’s current basher of a drummer, Abe Laboriel Jr. Man, Abe hits his kit so hard that it would seem that he’d require a new set of drums and cymbals every night!!

LG Chocolate Touch Review

LG Electronics, in conjunction with IZEA, sent a brand new LG Chocolate Touch for me to try out and review. The timing couldn’t be more perfect since my two year contract for my VX8600 (a clamshell version of the LG Chocolate) just ran out and I’ve been looking for a replacement for it. I’ve experienced nothing but great things with the previous version of the LG Chocolate so I was more than happy to try out the VX8575. This version stays true to the other Chocolate phones with its sleek design and superb music capabilities. The most significant update obviously is the gorgeous 3 inch touch screen.

The very minute I received the new phone in the mail, I went online to activate it on my existingVerizon account. I was a bit surprised to find that I wasn’t allowed to complete the activation over the web. It probably had something to do with this being a review phone and not something that I purchased through my personal account. I’m pretty sure if I had purchased the phone through Verizon, activation would have been a whole lot smoother. Anyway, after speaking with Verizon customer service on my other phone, I was up and running within five minutes.

The touch screen interface took a bit of getting used to but once I became more familiar with dragging my finger across the screen, everything fell into place. I think the technique I had the most difficulty with was pushing items upwards in order to scroll down the screen. The 240 by 400 display is crisp and colorful and the touch screen features haptics vibration feedback which helps when typing on the screen. The other nice feature is the internal accelerometer which will rotate the orientation of the screen depending on how the phone is held in your hands. For instance, when you’re creating a new text message, turn the phone to its side and a full QWERTY keyboard appears on the screen.

And now, on to the music capabilities. First of all, thank you LG for including a 3.5 headphone jack on this phone. This basically means you can use your normal set of headphones to listen to music and not have to purchase an additional item designed with a specific sized jack. The phone has a decent-sized 1 GB of internal memory. And if that’s not enough (and for us music fans, it’s never enough), LG included a microSD slot so that you can add up to 16 GB of additional storage. Another big positive about this phone is that LG/Verizon doesn’t require you to use their software to transfer music files onto the phone. You simply have to hook up the phone with the included USB cable. The trick is to go to the music menu on the phone and hit the “sync” button or else you won’t be able to see the “internal memory” folder via windows explorer. Once the phone is in “sync mode”, you can drag and drop your selections into the music folder. The Chocolate Touch recognizes both MP3 and AAC tracks. Once the mp3s are on the phone, you can create customized playlists or simply listen by genre, album or by artist. I’ve listened to the tracks using both my trusty old Sennheiser headphones and my Shure E3C sound isolating earphones. Honestly, the music on the VX8575 sound as good as on my ipod nano. The music player even features Dolby Mobile for enhanced clarity and simulated surround sound.

LG also includes the ability to play along with your music tracks using the virtual drum andpiano interface. It’s a bit of a novelty and it’s not something you would use extensively since the touch screen only allows one-input at any given time. In other words, you can’t play more than one note on the keyboard at a time. And on drums, that’s a bit of a hindrance when you want to recreate those big “Phil Collins” drum solos on the phone!!

Another nice added feature is the FM tuner. The radio definitely comes in handy when I want to listen to the news while out on my walks. Oh and don’t worry about missing any calls, even while listening to the radio or the mp3 player, the phone will automatically pause the music and let the call come through.

And thank goodness the LG Chocolate Touch isn’t that restrictive with ringtones. Most wireless companies try to lockdown their phones to try and force their consumers to only purchase ringtones through them. But with this LG phone, all you have to do is transfer your favorites mp3s into the “my ringtones” folder on the microSD card. I simply customized 30-sec snippets of my favorite songs on an audio editor like audacity and then used a SD card reader to transfer the files to phone’s microSD card. When you re-insert the card, the phone automatically recognizes the new ringtones in the folder. sweet! I absolutely love this phone.

To sum up – the LG Chocolate Touch is geared toward people like me that don’t necessarily need the power of a smartphone. The VX8575 is sleek and hip and yet very simple to use. Call quality is excellent and the phone has great signal range. And on top of all the solid phone features is the fantastic music player. LG continues to be a top-notched phone manufacturer and the VX8575 is just another great update on an already well-regarded Chocolate brand.

Todd Rundgren 2010 Spring Short Johnson tour dates

Here we go again. Todd Rundgren is back out on the road! This time around, he’s on tour to support his upcoming Hi Fi Recordings release, Todd Rundgren’s Johnson. You would think it’d be wise to have the product available for purchasing during the tour but it seems Hi Fi won’t have the 12-song CD of Robert Johnson covers available until June. I’m not a marketing genius but the record label seems to be missing the boat on this one. Just like how they botched the Arena release back in 2008.

Surprisingly Hi Fi did at least manage to get a three song digital EP out on iTunes and Amazon Mp3 today titledTodd Rundgren’s SHORT Johnson. So, I guess that’ssomething. Honestly, if this is the type of “support” Todd is going to get from this particular record label, he might as well release all his albums himself. anyway, go out and support the man. The legendary musician has been working his ass off out on the road these last few years. check ‘em out!

Date Night Opens this friday – Steve Carell – Tina Fey

The highly anticipated comedy “Date Night” opens this friday, April 9th. Two of the biggest stars of must-see comedy thursday pair up in what looks to be this spring’s bona fide big-screen smash. Steve Carell and Tina Fey portray your typical suburban married couple deeply entrenched in the day to day routine. They impulsively take another couple’s table reservation at a trendy restaurant one night and that’s when their troubles begin. They’re mistaken to be the ones who stole some information from a mobster and are then chased after by some no-good henchmen.

I’m a huge fan of both Carell and Fey and it’s great to see them work together in this project. There’s some good buzz surrounding the flick and early reviews say the pair have great chemistry together. The neat thing that I’ve heard about the movie is that it has a positive take on the couple’s marriage. Yes, the couple is in a rut and may appear bored with their lives but screenwriter Josh Klausner made it a point to show their marriage in a good light. In fact, he has been quoted in saying that the movie is “a love letter to marriage.” With so many crude and obnoxious comedies topping the box office, it’s actually refreshing that “Date Night” has some heart to it.

The Date Night Movie was helmed by director Shawn Levy who has had a string of hit movies including “Night at the Museum” and “Cheaper by the Dozen”. The movie also features a great supporting cast including Ray Liotta, James Franco and Mila Kunis. It opens this weekend so be sure to grab your spouse and make it a date night. I know I will!