Catching a glimpse of an ex-Beatle is like catching a glimpse of Haley’s Comet. First, it’s hard to believe that you actually saw it, and second it’s gone much too fast. On Tuesday, April 16, however, Paul McCartney extended that glimpse into a two and a half hour music fest and jammed with songs he has written over the last 35 plus years.
In his first tour in nearly 10 years, Sir McCartney has gotten over his fear of relying heavily on Beatles’ tunes. Opening the show with “Hello, Goodbye” the stage was set for an eclectic mix of songs that many of the 20,000 people in attendance will likely never hear played live again. He followed up “Hello, Goodbye” with “Jet,” one of Wing’s many signature songs. McCartney’s voice was right on target, hitting the high notes where the high notes went and transforming his voice into the menacing growl that we heard on the White Album’s “Why Don’t We Do It In the Road,” when the occasion called for it.
During “Carry That Weight,” McCartney forgot the words to the middle eight and substituted them with, “This is the bit where I don’t know the words,” proving that, yes, even Beatles are human.
The 59-year-old rocker waved or bowed after each song and the audience was with him every step of the way. Jumping between his Hofner bass, electric and acoustic guitar to piano and keyboard, McCartney seemed to be at home with whatever he was playing.
About 45 minutes into the show, the band left the stage and left McCartney standing alone. McCartney was optimistic and quipped, “I think I can handle it.” McCartney, grasping the nakedness of the acoustic guitar, played beautiful renditions of “Blackbird,” “Mother Nature’s Son” and his tribute to John Lennon, “Here Today.”
Playing a ukulele that George Harrison had given him as a gift, McCartney played “Something,” in memory of his recently passed band mate.
The band came back about five or six songs later and picked up right where they left off. Extremely vibrant and fresh versions of “Band on the Run” and “Can’t Buy Me Love” were soon to follow.
McCartney rounded out the show with “Live and Let Die,” which was accompanied by thundering pyrotechnics that left McCartney clutching his heart. McCartney and the band finished the concert off with number one Beatle singles, “Let It Be” and “Hey Jude.”
McCartney and the band left the stage, but were back before people started chanting “Paul, Paul, Paul” and the encore started. As far as encores go, this was as grand and fantastic as they come. The encore included hits like “The Long and Winding Road,” “I Saw Her Standing There,” “Yesterday,” “Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band” and “The End.” The energy in his voice and the excitement in his body and his face would be enough to make you think that this was the first time he had ever played these songs.
McCartney made sure that this wasn’t just a concert, it was an experience.
To listen to an excerpt from “Live and Let Die,” choose one of the following formats: Real Audio, Windows Media, or MPEG.
All of the tracks were provided by www.cdnow.com. They are not full tracks.