Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Hey Jude at Liverpool Street Station


The public at Liverpool Street train station in London had a spontaneous reaction when the Olympic opening ceremonies at the TV screens reached "Hey Jude".

Similarly to the failing microphone on "Let It Be" during Live Aid back in 1985, McCartney's appearance on the opening of the olympics had issues. McCartney was supposed to partially mime his performance. His live vocals were the ones that would be heard in the stadium, while his pre-recorded studio-perfect vocals were to accompany the television broadcast. 'The End' went great: the 3 lines were lipsynched perfectly. The live vocals could be heard in the stadium, and his pre-recorded vocals was on TV. Then drummer Abe Jr. started counting off with his hi-hat, very likely hearing the click-track provided by musical director of the band and keyboard player Paul "Wix" Wickens in his ears. McCartney may also had in-ear monitors with the click-track for this occasion, it would make sense since he had to start the song, and he immediately realized what was going on. Then trouble began: McCartney started one bar and a half too soon with playing, resulting in hearing the audio on television as planned: just like on 'The End' no 'live' direct feed from the stage with only the stadium atmosphere microphones on, pre-recorded audio on full. But since those were out-of-sync because of McCartney missing the cue, you could hear a disastrous mix of them playing 'Hey Jude' in the stadium, with a bit later the pre-recorded version. Quickly the television audio crew turned off the backing track, and turned on the live band and vocals. If you look at the band members during the very first seconds of the song, notice Wix possibly trying to save something by skipping the backing track a bar and a half, which is technically possible. So that's what we heard at the live worldwide broadcast. Of course, for the tape-delayed butchered NBC version on the American television, this was 'fixed' by muting the pre-recorded 'backing track' from the very start. This resulted in hearing McCartney noticeable laughing about the huge mess-up, because he undoubtedly knew what happened.
Thanks to "nobodytoldme" for explaning what happened. And clearly, the mix-up didn't matter to the audience over on Liverpool Street Station.

6 comments:

Brian Fried said...

63Thanks for the information. From the way we saw it here in Canada, Paul didn't look happy about it at the end (we didn't get the shot of him laughing).

Hopefully they won't have this problem at the closing ceremonies — where, I believe, Paul has confirmed he's playing too, right?

Roger Stormo said...

No, I haven't heard anyting about Paul McCartney playing at any closing ceremonies... Meanwhile, Daily Mail practically asks Paul to stop performing ever again. Very harsh, indeed.

42N said...

Wow, great story. Yes I noticed the broken beginning to Hey Jude on NBC's version and immediately thought of the Live Aid technical mess. Thank you for shedding more light on this. In the end it really doesn't matter, we got to watch a great opening ceremony and hear from the gold medal winner of rock, Paul McCartney. Plus he performed my all time favorite song. Keep the stories coming!

Just a Beatles fan said...

BM I mean DM is horrible.

David B said...

Thanks for explaining where the mess came form. He shouldn't stop performing (Rottredam this year was really great!) but he should not do these one of a kind huge gigs anymore. He needs longer to warm up. And he should not make use of backing tracks!!!

Lizzie Bravo said...

hi roger, thank you so much for explaining what happened - i was wondering... and as far as his concerts go, they don't need to be 3 full hours long, he could sip a little water here and there and lower the keys to some songs just a tiny bit and he would probably be fine. let's hope someone close to him can lovingly make some suggestions! he is still an amazing performer - he just has to remember he is no longer 20 years old (neither are many of us, his fans).