Addicted To Vinyl Musical thoughts from the open road, with headphones on

29Jul/102

Setlist: Paul McCartney in Kansas City, 7/24/10

It's still the "greatest show on Earth" and I'm not talking about the Ringling Brothers.  After nearly 18 hours of bus and car travel, it only took a few seconds of "Venus and Mars" to validate what a great choice I'd made road tripping it to Kansas City to see Paul McCartney.  For three hours, McCartney dazzled a mixed crowd of both old and young that probably had no idea (especially the older set) exactly how much of a good show they were in for.  At 68 years of age, one could forgive Sir Paul if he were to choose to take the standard route and play a 90 minute set with a couple of encores.  You would excuse the lack of storytelling and settle for the hits, because after all, it's a former Beatle that we're talking about here!

But instead, we got a full three hours of both hits and rarities, and for the know-it-alls like me that were in attendance, McCartney even had a very cool story about Jimi Hendrix.  After tacking on a bit of "Foxy Lady" to the end of "Let Me Roll It," McCartney shared a vivid recollection about releasing the Sgt. Pepper album on a Friday, and seeing Jimi open his set with the title track later that same weekend.

Jokingly titled as the "Up and Coming" tour, the current setlist might be one of the best that I've seen since McCartney made his return to the road in 1989.  There were so many highlights scattered among the expected setlist inclusions - the opening reprise of "Venus and Mars/Rock Show" into "Jet" (a track sequencing flashback for all who own a copy of the Wings over America live album) burned to the point that it almost felt like 1976 again.  A nice four song stint found McCartney behind the piano for "Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five," a nice surprise and relative rarity from Band on the Run that was introduced as "one for the Wings fans," while "Let 'Em In" was equally pleasing,  clanking along faithfully to the recorded version, even replicating the false fade out ending of the original, before quickly smashing to a close as the band came back in.

Of the newer material that is in the current setlist, "Dance Tonight" remains one of my favorites, and it continues to suggest to me that perhaps I should give 2007's Memory Almost Full another look.  With McCartney strumming away on a ukelele during the song, it's impossible to not find yourself in a good mood.  Or in a reflective mood, sitting in the way back machine as McCartney sings the classics - specifically the ones that fall into the category of "songs that he won't be able to leave the building without singing."  During "The Long and Winding Road," I had my official flashback moment, remembering many things past, including all of the hours and days that I spent as a kid, listening to my Dad's Beatles albums and discovering my love of music for the first time.  Looking around the crowd during these songs, you could see many having their own time of reflection, while simultaneously sharing the experience and joy of seeing the Paul McCartney with their kids (and those kids might have looked occasionally bored, but they're kids, after all).

McCartney's band really have gelled as a unit since the first time that I saw them in 2002.  It's nice to have  Paul "Wix" Wickens (a veteran of McCartney tours in the early '90s) back in the fold on keyboards providing a bit of a link between the old and the new.  Abe Laboriel, Jr. is one of those drummers who is large enough that you'd question his ability to get it done behind the kit, but he quickly proves you wrong with his prowess on the skins, doubling as McCartney's partner in comic relief (while ultimately staying on task and providing a good amount of the harmony vocals).  At this point, I must also give special mention to the McCartney/Laboriel fist bump that came mid-way through the set - add that to the list of things that I thought I'd never see!  Guitarists Rusty Anderson and Brian Ray attack every guitar lick with gusto, and the enthusiasm of being on stage with a legend like Sir Paul is something you can't miss when you look at their faces.

When I saw McCartney for the first time in 1990, I wasn't sure that I'd ever see him again, and if I did, it seemed unlikely that he'd top the experience and feeling of that show.  Drawing from his incredible catalog of songs, McCartney continues to prove me wrong , still shredding his voice on familiar numbers like "Helter Skelter" and leaving it all on the stage, 20 years later.  The tickets aren't cheap, but if you've got a bit of money to throw around and you're wondering if it is worth the ticket price, it's absolutely worth the ticket price and then some.  (And if you grab the really cheap seats, you'll probably enjoy it just as much, since there are video screens on either side of the stage providing constant projection of the band throughout the night.)

Can I find my way to Pittsburgh for one of the upcoming shows in August?  Boy, I'd sure like to.

(Side note:  If you're looking for a way to replicate my concert experience from this past weekend - get yourself out to one of Paul's upcoming shows or grab a copy of Good Evening New York City.  Of the live CDs/DVDs released by McCartney in the past 20 years, Good Evening is one of the best.)

Photo of Paul McCartney and Rusty Anderson via KansasCity.Com

Setlist:

Venus and Mars/Rock Show
Jet
All My Loving
Letting Go
Drive My Car
Highway
Let Me Roll It/Foxy Lady
The Long and Winding Road
Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five
Let 'Em In
My Love
I've Just Seen A Face
And I Love Her
Blackbird
Here Today
Dance Tonight
Mrs Vandebilt
Eleanor Rigby
Something
Sing the Changes
Band on the Run
Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
Back in the U.S.S.R.
I've Got a Feeling
Paperback Writer
A Day In the Life/Give Peace a Chance
Let It Be
Live and Let Die
Hey Jude

Encore one:
Day Tripper
Lady Madonna
Get Back

Encore Two:
Yesterday
Helter Skelter
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise) / The End

  • stereo dictator

    Great setlist. Sounds like he can still rock.

  • thefrontloader

    Wow! That sounds like SOME show! Yeah, it always amazes me to see him sing “Hey Jude” and still thrash his voice in the end sing-a-long section. He's got one of the best voices in rock, and it's great to see that he's still bringing his A game.

    he's a frikkin' BEATLE. He only KNOWS an A game.