We have been following the tour of Paul McCartney in Europe, during these past two weeks. He’s been “Out there” in London, Liverpool, Marseille, Paris and other European venues.
We’ve been on tour with Paul several times, since the European Tour of Wings in 1976, with the always-to-remember gig in Venice.
We saw the former Beatle aging during the years, however not that much as one could expect: in a few days the lad from Liverpool will turn 73, but he practically holds on his mid-nineties look that we remember at the times of the Beatles reunion in 1994.
His music did not age as well. Since the mid seventies, Paul has abandoned his natural reluctance in playing Beatles songs, and now almost half of the setlist is from the Fab period (from 1963 I saw her standing there (with Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters as a guest star, just in London) to 1970 Let it be, and The long and Winding Road). Some Beatles hits are missing, however Paul should play 4 hours just to go through them all, and his show is not The Beatles Anthology. Among the other numbers, we point out to “Being for the benefit of Mr. Kite“, that actually was cowritten and sung by John Lennon, and the first live rendition ever of “Another Girl“.
The Wings period is represented too, however true Wings fans will miss the band’s gigs of the late seventies: Hi hi hi, Band on the run, Let me roll it, 1984, Mrs Vanderbilt, just to name a few, are maybe not enough to avoid missing true Wings oldies like Getting Closer, Jet, Old Siam Sir, Helen Wheels: that’s just the opinion of an original Wings fan, however, as we are indeed.
The solo career of Paul is now longer than his Beatles and Wings ones together, and he picks up some numbers spanning from 1970 Maybe I’m amazed masterpiece, to the recent ones: New, Queenie Eye, and Hope for the Future: those are the ones we liked more among the recent material.
The fireworks during “Live and Let Die” are now so big, with 10-meters-high flames, to probably be a nightmare for the Fire Safety Authorities in each city where Paul plays. We were personally and happily covered, being close to the stage, by some dust and felt the heat of the big flames (see video).
During the 2 hours and 45 minutes of his concert, first and second encores included, Paul takes no pauses, and we actually saw him sweating a bit just during Live and Let Die, however because the firewoks rase temperature on the stage close to 35 C. He is changing his guitar ( the Hofner violin bass, two acoustic guitars, electric guitars) quite often, and he spends around 45 minutes at piano.
Talking with the sold-out audience is reduced to minimum, however we noticed a bit more of that while playing in Liverpool, still his home.
Best number in Paul’s concert is by far “Temporary Secretary“, a little known song from his 1980 album “McCartney II”, that he plays live for the first time. Abe Laboriel jr., Paul Wix Wickens, Rusty Anderson and Kevin Winters are powerful and flawless and have been playing with Paul since 2002, for many, many tours and albums, like the most recent “New“.
During this leg of the tour, Paul spoke with us of the press in a handful of occasions, and we learnt from him only good news. In particular:
– He quit pot smoking after he became a grandfather. The old times are over, and we’re happy about this decision as we were when he was declaring – in the past – the contrary: as Paul declared, we think this is a private question in everyone’s life, and you are not harming anyone if your doing that, or not.
– He bought a several million dollars apartment in Manhattan, NY, with Central Park view. We comment this as the girl that was a neighbour of Paul in Fortlin Road in Liverpool did in the fifties, when Paul said he saw her knickers hanged to dry outside her home’s window: “Well, they’re clean, and they’re paid for”….
– He’s been quite happy to receive a prize while in London celebrating the 50th anniversary of “Yesterday” and we’re happy too that he’s not annoyed to play it again and again, in each concert: after all, it’s Paul’s trademark.
– Paul has recently encouraged the Gallagher brothers to re-unite and get back to Oasis. In the twentieth anniversary of “Definitely Maybe” we completely agree with Paul.
– He is not thinking to retire at all, Paul said while in Paris. And that it’s the best news of all. Until he will get tired of being so, Paul McCartney is nowadays – simply – the best pop music artist in the world. Long live, Sir Paul McCartney.
The Paris Concert setlist (minor differences for other gigs).
1) Eight Days A Week
2) Save Us
3) Got To Get You Into My Life
4) Listen To What the Man Said
5) Temporary Secretary
6) Let Me Roll It/Purple Haze
7) Paperback Writer
8) My Valentine
9) Nineteen Hundred And Eighty Five
10) The Long And Winding Road
11) Maybe I’m Amazed
12) I’ve Just Seen A Face
13) We can work it out
14) Another Day
15) Hope For The Future
16) And I Love Her
18) Here Today
20) Queenie Eye
21) Lady Madonna
22) All Together Now
24) Lovely Rita
25) Eleanor Rigby
26) Being For The Benefit Of Mr Kite
28) Ob-la-di Ob-la-da
29) Band On The Run
30) Back In The USSR
31) Let It Be
32) Live And Let Die
33) Hey Jude
34) Another Girl
35) Hi Hi Hi
36) Can’t Buy Me Love
37) I saw her standing there
39) Helter Skelter
40) Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End