Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Sir Paul McCartney

I swore off big stadium shows this summer, and when I saw McCartney coming around, I thought about it for about 30 seconds and decided that I wasn't interested. But then my brother Ed told me he got me a ticket for the show at the new Citi Field. The three Wilk bros and Harry B. I was prepared to pretend to enjoy the show just to be polite, and to appreciate it for it's historical value... it's not every day you get to see a Beatle doing Beatles songs. But Paul is known for the more hokey Beatles songs (Honey Pie) as well as the slow sentimental ones (Yesterday), so I was nervous.

Well it turns out the show really ROCKED. He chose mostly upbeat and high energy songs... even broke into Foxy Lady instrumental for a few minutes. (hey, did you know Paul could actually play guitar?) They inserted several honest to God arena-rock type jam sessions. They did a rocking versions some otherwise slow-ish songs like Elenore Rigby and A Day in the Life (into Give Peace a Chance). Began the slow George Harrison song "Something" on the ukelele before the band drifted in. I was especially pleased when they broke out into Helter Skelter... wow, totally rocking! Taxman, Drive My Car, and some of the old Rock and Roll era numbers kept people on their feat. Add a few Wings numbers like Jet and Band on the Run... and you got yourself a real Rock Show ! Also, they went APESHIT with pyro and fireworks for Live and Let Die. And perhaps best of all was the finale... Sargent Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (the reprise version, you know, the one that ROCKS) into one of my favorites from Abby Road (the rocking jam that ends with "... and in the end, the love you take is equal too the love you make").

Sure, he brought it down a few times with Yesterday and Hey Jude and a love song he wrote for Linda. But that included a rendition of Blackbird, so I was happy. Also, some nice little anecdotes in between songs was appreciated.

Band was fairly minimalist, flanking him were two additional guitars, one of whom swapped for a bass when needed, keyboard player, and an amazing Samoan drummer (looked like a villain henchman from a James Bond flick). Paul swapped often between his signature bass, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, mandolin, ukulele, and piano. Of course everybody on stage was brilliant, but they also cold sing the ooohs and ahhhs in the high pitched Beatles style (at first I was looking for the black girls singing backup when I realized it was all just them). I can't say enough about the drummer. He was banging the drums with GUSTO from the beginning to the end.

McCartney did not hide behind his band to cover his ass, you could always hear him in the mix. For a few songs Paul was on stage alone w/ just his acoustic. He is known for a wide vocal range, which makes a lot of his songs hard to sing. Well he hit the high notes, the low notes, the gravelly "Helter Skelter" notes, the bluesy skat-improvs.. simply put, he delivered the goods.

Paul took the stage at 9pm and went on to 11:30, did well over 30 songs, and put on a great rock show. My hat is off to this great performer.


Anonymous said...

According to various co-workers :

Monday night , Billy Joel showed up (perhaps to return the favor of Paul playing at the final show at Shea last year) and then Wednesday night (with my co-worker's wife in attaendace), Bruce 'the Boss' Springsteen showed up and did a mini-set with Paul which came off well done.

SciPunk said...

Yes, two nights had a special guest, two did not. Not sure, but I don't believe anybody special showed up at The Garden.