Photos And Review | Outside Lands Day One | San Francisco

Scott Bernstein's Friday Highlights:

Band Of Horses – 3:30-4:30 p.m. – Lands End Stage

[Photo by Joe Russo]

There's no better sign that you've enjoyed a set as when it's over and you're left wanting more. Band Of Horses's 13-song, one-hour performance flew by in what seemed like a heartbeat and made me crave more from the Seattle-based band. Ben Bridwell and Co. offered one anthemic and earworm-y song after another in front of a huge crowd at Outside Lands' main stage. BOH expertly alternated tempos throughout the set from the powerful "Is There A Ghost" to the bittersweet "No One's Gonna Love You" through to the expected and climactic "Funeral" closer. It's telling that the set only contained two songs from 2012's Mirage Rock and 2010's Infinite Arms, while 2006's Everything All The Time and 2007's Cease To Begin were represented with four and five songs respectively. Let's hope the next album is more like their early LPs than the more recent ones.

The National – 5:00-6:10 p.m. – Lands End Stage

[Photo by Joe Russo]

I'll admit it - The National's brand of indie-rock never really did it for me. Yet, by the end of the band's set at Outside Lands I "got it." Their dark and moody songs were expansive in concert and fit the setting of Golden Gate Park like a glove. It didn't hurt that they were augmented by the legendary Kronos Quartet at various points and were joined by San Francisco icon Bob Weir for an exceptional set-closing version of 2010's "Terrible Love." The Kronos Quartet helped bring out the nuances in The National's impressive originals, while the always-underrated rhythm work of Weir added a jolt of energy to "Terrible Love."

Paul McCartney – 7:10-9:55 p.m. – Lands End Stage

[Photo by Joe Russo]

When I was in high school I lived and breathed The Beatles. I was a McCartney guy as opposed to many Beatles fans who were bigger fans of John Lennon. Macca's set at Outside Lands was the sixth or seventh time I've seen the legendary performer and he's the rare case of someone who gets better with age. Paul continues to mine his solo, Wings and Beatles' repertoires for gold as his current set might be his best one yet. Highlights were plentiful including a bold take on Wings classic "Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five," an amazing version of "Something" which starts with McCartney on ukulele before a full- band finish and of course the pyro-laden "Live And Let Die." The former Beatle even tipped his hat to the Bay Area with a super-rare cover of Jesse Fuller's "San Francisco Bay Blues." The noted marijuana connoisseur bantered often about the smell of weed in the air and provided a light moment when he brought up a few fans to sign autographs on their wrists for what will soon be tattoos. If you haven't seen Paul McCartney in concert, you're missing out.

[Published on: 8/16/13]

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