Sunday, August 3, 2014

Concert Review: Paul McCartney at Target Field

The logo for Paul McCartney's Out There tour.

Last night Paul McCartney brought his “Out There” tour to Target Field in Minneapolis. It was a fantastic show from a musical legend. Paul played 39 songs over two hours and 45 minutes! I’m amazed at his energy and stamina. I saw Paul live in Milwaukee last summer, and although the set list was nearly identical, it’s always a pleasure to see him in person. I took my parents and my wife to last night’s show, and it was great to share Paul’s music with the people who are most important to me. My Mom introduced me to The Beatles’ music, and this is the third time I’ve seen Paul live with her, which is pretty cool. 

McCartney’s catalogue of songs is second to no one in rock music. He’s created so many wonderful songs over more than 50 years in the music business. When you go to a Paul McCartney concert you have to remind yourself sometimes, “Oh yeah, he actually WROTE all of these songs!” His discography is so deep that he could play another three hour show filled with the hits that he doesn’t play in his normal set list. 

McCartney’s voice still sounds terrific. After he sang “And I Love Her,” from 1964’s “A Hard Day’s Night,” I turned to my Mom and said, “He still sounds pretty good 50 years later, doesn’t he?” She said, “He sounds the same. It’s amazing.” 

Paul’s backing band is fantastic; they’re able to replicate the sound of The Beatles almost perfectly. Keyboardist Paul “Wix” Wickens handles all of the odd instruments, from accordion on “We Can Work It Out” to kazoo on “Lovely Rita.” Guitarists Rusty Anderson and Brian Ray are both extremely skilled at replicating George Harrison’s guitar sound, but they also make the songs their own. And drummer Abe Laboriel, Jr. holds down the backbeat and has a blast doing it. 

McCartney played Beatles songs that he had never played live before last year, like “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da,” and “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!” It was a treat to hear some of those Beatles songs from the group’s studio days that they never performed live. And it was interesting to hear Paul sing “Mr. Kite,” because John sang the lead vocal on “Sgt. Pepper.” The only new additions to the set this year were four songs from Macca’s latest album, the aptly titled “New,” which came out in October 2013. The songs from “New” all sounded great; he still has his gift for creating beautiful, melodic songs. 

One of the highlights of the show for me was hearing Paul play an extended ending on “Paperback Writer.” That’s one of my favorite Beatles songs, and it was nice to hear a little bit more of it. Paul played the same Epiphone Casino guitar that he had played when The Beatles recorded “Paperback Writer” in the studio, which was a fun bit of history for a Beatlemanic like myself.

As usual in concert, McCartney displayed his instrumental virtuosity, switching effortlessly between piano, guitar, and bass. Some of the emotional highlights of the show were the sing-alongs to “Let It Be” and “Hey Jude.” It’s pretty amazing to go to a concert and have 30,000 or 40,000 people singing along to a song. Other highlights for me were Paul’s tributes to John Lennon and George Harrison. Paul’s beautiful song “Here Today,” which he wrote after Lennon’s murder, is a tender and touching imaginary conversation with his friend and songwriting partner. As a tribute to George, Paul got out his ukulele and told the story of jamming with George and telling him “I’ve learned one of your songs on ukulele.” Paul then started to play “Something” solo on the ukulele. Even though I’ve seen Paul sing “Something” as a tribute to George before, last night it was very emotional. Halfway through the song the rest of the band came in and played it in the traditional Beatles style. It was beautiful to hear, and moving to see Paul pay tribute to his fellow bandmates. 

I’ve been lucky enough to have seen Paul McCartney in concert four times now. I can vividly remember every time I’ve seen him, as it’s not very often you get to see one of the greatest songwriters and musicians ever in person. The Beatles have been my favorite band since I was 11 years old, which is more than 20 years ago now. So seeing Paul in concert is always a special and emotional moment for me, as I’m sure it was for everyone else at Target Field last night.

Paul McCartney set list at Target Field:
Eight Days a Week
Save Us
All My Loving
Listen to What the Man Said
Let Me Roll It/Foxy Lady
Paperback Writer
My Valentine
Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five
The Long and Winding Road
Maybe I’m Amazed
I’ve Just Seen a Face
We Can Work it Out
Another Day
And I Love Her
Here Today
Queenie Eye
Lady Madonna
All Together Now
Lovely Rita
Everybody Out There
Eleanor Rigby
Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!
Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
Band on the Run
Back in the U.S.S.R.
Let it Be
Live and Let Die
Hey Jude

First encore:
Day Tripper
Hi, Hi, Hi
Get Back

Second encore:
Helter Skelter
Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End

1 comment:

Uncle E said...

That was a good read, and what a great setlist! I've only seen McCartney once, back in the '90's, but it remains one of my all time favorite shows. Live and Let Die LIVE is a surreal experience to say the least. I thought I met Ringo at the show, but it turned out it was just a look-alike.

Or was it...