Friday evening's misty fog did nothing to dampen the mood of the thousands of music fans who streamed into the Polo Fields in Golden Gate Park, where The National's set of somber rock perfectly matched the weather. Bright spots were illuminated by special guests the Kronos Quartet, who added strings throughout, and Bob Weir (whom not many of the younger fans seemed to recognize) on the band's closing number "Terrible Love."
One got the sense that the 9-to-5ers were saving their energy for Saturday and Sunday's lineup, while contemporaries of Paul McCartney and underage partiers alike were going all out. Outside observers might have thought the young crowd surging against the barriers at Wavves had a hint of Beatlemania for frontman Nathan Williams, while Yeasayer's electro-poppy set kept the Twin Peaks stage dancing while the sun went down.
On the main stage, many contemporary acts probably could have pulled off a three-hour set, but none would be nearly as packed full of hits as Sir Paul's alternatively sweet and explosive playlist. The set spanned his entire career from "Blackbird" to a rendition of "Live and Let Die" that featured enough onstage flamethrowers and fireworks to make Metallica's pyrotechnics crew from last year's festival take notice. Always a gentleman, McCartney plucked two young fans out of the crowd and "tattooed" them with a sharpie. In awe of the whole thing despite our typical cynicism, the only appropriate response for this SFist correspondent was to text my mother and make her jealous. Macca played us out to the Medly from Abbey Road — aww, you're gonna be in my dreams, tonight.
Rose Garrett also contributed to this report