Paul McCartney At Prudential Center Reviewed, Monday, September 11th. 2017

Written by | September 14, 2017 5:58 | No Comments

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How do you review Paul McCartney. It’s like reviewing God. At a time in life when it would be very easy to just go through the motions, Paul gives it all, almost 3 hours of music in the original keys. That in itself is pretty remarkable age 75. Only Springsteen can outdo him for stamina. And he certainly doesn’t need the money, so he must be doing it for love.

I was fortunate to be sitting side stage, just a few rows up. From that close it is apparent how much this great band enjoys what it’s doing. And it is a great band. Brian Ray and Rusty Anderson on guitars (Brian doubles on bass when Paul is playing other instruments), Paul Wickens on keyboards, and Abe Laboriel Jr on drums are tight when they need to be tight, loose when they need to be loose, and generally just about perfect. Laboriel in particular just radiates a sense of joy with his playing and facial expressions.

For the most part, the set list was the same as last summer’s stadium leg of the tour. McCartney plays a good mix of Beatles, Wings and solo material, and includes a few songs from his most recent album, New. They stand up well against the older stuff. One unfortunate misfire is the annoying “Temporary Secretary”, which is even too early in the evening to count as a bathroom break song.

With his catalog, it would be hard for Paul not to play a great concert, and as usual he was generous with it: 38 songs, nearly 3 hours.

A mild criticism: it’s time for Paul to come up with some new anecdotes. The story about Hendrix covering “Sgt. Pepper”, the “taking a moment for myself to take it all in”, the Harrison ukulele story, and the origin (which I think is bogus) of “Blackbird”, the Russian minister learning English from Beatles music, are all repeated word for word. I could tell them word for word. But as stale as they are, the music is as fresh as ever. The level of musicianship is amazing, especially Paul himself, who moves effortlessly from bass to piano to electric and acoustic guitar. Makes me jealous. He was also in better voice than he was last year. I would also like to commend the acoustics at the Prudential Center – consider that we were on the side of the stage, not facing the main speakers, it was remarkably clear.

Grade A- (half a point off for the repeat stories and one clunker).

Setlist:

1. A Hard Day’s Night
2. Save Us
3. Can’t Buy Me Love
4. Letting Go
5. Temporary Secretary
6. Let Me Roll It (with Hendrix coda)
7. I’ve Got a Feeling
8. My Valentine
9. Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five
10. Maybe I’m Amazed
11. We Can Work It Out
12. In Spite of All the Danger (Quarrymen song)
13.You Won’t See Me
14. Love Me Do
15. And I Love Her
16. Blackbird
17. Here Today
18. Queen Eye
19. New
20. Lady Madonna
21. Four Five Seconds (his Rihanna/Kanye collaboration)
22. Eleanor Rigby
23. I Wanna Be Your Man
24. Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite
25. Something
26. Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da
27. Band on the Run
28. Back in the USSR
29. Let It Be
30. Live and Let Die
31. Hey Jude
Encore
32. Yesterday
33. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
34. Hi Hi Hi
35. Birthday
36. Golden Slumbers
37. Carry That Weight
38. The End

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