DC at Night

DC at Night

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Paul McCartney Gets Back and Rocks DC

The Beatles 1st played DC in 1964 just after appearing on Ed Sullivan ...
... and last night Paul McCartney, now 71, returned to DC to rekindle those old  memories.
It wasn't a Beatles concert. The deaths of John Lennon and George Harrison have ensured that such a show can never happen again. However, last night at Nationals Park, Paul McCartney, backed by his crack 4-member band, delivered a 39-song live masterpiece that evoked all the life-changing music he created with Lennon, Harrison, and Ringo Starr.

After a 30-minute video highlighting his 5 decades as one of the era's greatest songwriters and performers, McCartney opened the show with the 1965 Beatles' hit "Eight Days a Week." Almost 3 hours later, after he closed with a 2nd encore of the related trio from Abbey Road, - "Golden Slumbers," "Carry That Weight," and "The End," - the sold-out crowd definitely believed they had been taken on a magical musical mystery tour of the Beatles years.

McCartney's new Out There tour features 5 Beatles' tracks that he has never before performed live. In addition to "Eight Days a Week," the songs are “Your Mother Should Know," “All Together Now," “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!," and “Lovely Rita."

Using the vocal and instrumental talents of Paul Wickens on keyboard, Rusty Anderson on guitar, Brian Ray on guitar and bass, and Abe Laboriel Jr. on drums, McCartney offered 27 spot-on Beatles renditions. Everyone had their favorites. For some it was the anthemic "Let It Be" and "Hey Jude." For others it was the acoustic beauty of "Blackbird" (which Paul introduced as his tribute to the Civil Rights protesters of the 60's) or "Yesterday," (which is the most recorded song of the rock era).  For me, it would be "All My Loving," "Paperback Writer," "And I Love Her," "Lady Madonna," "Eleanor Rigby," "Back in the USSR," and "Day Tripper."

The most unique moment came from the choice of the only cover of  the night - an all-instrumental jam version of Jimi Hendrix's "Foxey Lady," with McCartney playing lead guitar. McCartney explained the unusual choice. He said Hendrix gave him the greatest tribute of his career in 1967. In June of that year, on a Friday, the Beatles released their classic Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band album. Hendrix was so taken by the title tune that he learned it and performed it live at a concert on Sunday attended by a who's who of British rock royalty including the Beatles.

Throughout the night, McCartney demonstrated his prowess on several instruments including his signature Hoffner bass, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, and concert grand piano. For several lively numbers, he led the band on a colorful, psychedelically painted upright piano. He even played ukulele on "Something," his tribute to George Harrison. McCartney dedicated 3 others songs: "Here Today," (a song he says he wrote in the form of a conversation he wished he had with John Lennon), My Valentine (for his wife, Nancy) and "Maybe I'm Amazed (for his deceased wife, Linda).

Of course, while the night's focus was on the Beatles and their music, the Out There set list also includes several hits from McCartney's 2nd band Wings, as well as an incredible version of "Live and Let Die," which has to set a record for the most pyrotechnics (not 1, but 2 sustained outbursts of fireworks) in a James Bond soundtrack tune.

Tales, Tidbits, and Tips
You can check out the complete set list by clicking here. However, as amazing as last night's song list is, I think it's even more impressive that McCartney could have included so many more Beatles/ McCartney tunes that he has performed at least 50 times on previous tours. How would you like to hear a concert of these songs?

  • Jet
  • I Saw Her Standing There
  • My Love
  • Got to Get You Into My Life
  • Drive My Car
  • Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Cub Band
  • Here, There, and Everywhere
  • Michelle
  • Magical Mystery Tour
  • I've Got a Feeling
  • Let 'Em In
  • Good Day Sunshine
  • Penny Lane
  • The Things We Said Today
  • A Day in the Life
  • Getting Better
  • She's Leaving Home
  • I'll Follow the Sun
  • I Will
  • Fixing a Hole
  • For No One

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