Paul McCartney - US Airways Center - 8/12/2014

Categories: Last Night

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All photos by Jim Louvau
Paul McCartney. Full slideshow here.

While waiting for Paul McCartney to start his set Tuesday night at US Airways Center, I tried to think of living and performing musicians who are irrefutably rock legends (metal bands purposefully excluded).

I came up with The Who, Chuck Berry, The Rolling Stones, The Eagles, Rush, and The Beach Boys, and let's throw in U2.

I'm sure my list is far from complete, but it's still small. The chance to see a true musical legend doesn't come around very often. For me, Paul McCartney trumps them all. Sir Paul's work with the Beatles and beyond laid the foundation for all pop music that followed. He's one of the few people out there whose legacy is undisputable.

See also: Paul McCartney Is So Much More than "Silly Love Songs" and "Band on the Run"

As we wrote last week, though many associate McCartney with sappy love songs and for being the clean-cut, straight-edge half of the Lennon-McCartney duo, McCartney has actually consistently been an artistic experimenter, from his spearheading of the concept album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (considered by many to be one of the best albums ever made) to the boundary-pushing albums he released as collaborator with Youth under the name The Fireman. Even now, at 72, when no one would bat an eye if he chose to disappear from the public eye, he is still performing and making new music -- his album New, came out in October, and to the surprise of critics, it was actually pretty good.

The album was the premise but not necessarily the reason concertgoers packed into US Airways Center Tuesday night. Before the show started, the delightful and weird McCartney tune "Temporary Secretary" began playing through the loud speakers. The song is one of McCartney's strangest, starting with a frantic, somewhat urgent electronic instrumental riff, on top of which McCartney sings a somewhat robotic-sounding ditty about needing a temporary secretary. It was nice to hear, even if it meant it wouldn't be performed live. (It's a shame McCartney doesn't play some of his weirder stuff during his live shows, though he would probably get crucified for doing so in front of crowds hungry to hear hits). As the song ended, the lights went down and a dreamy, drowsy rendition of the lyrics of the "The End" came in through the speakers -- "And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make." The band, led by bass-toting Sir Paul, entered and launched into "Eight Days a Week."

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The song touched off nearly 40 songs' worth of music, including two-dozen Beatles songs, six Wings songs, four songs from New, and a smattering of songs from his solo records.

The concert seesawed from old to new and back again; following "Eight Days a Week" was "Save Us," from New.

"Hey Phoenix, Ari-ZO-na," McCartney said after "Save Us" finished, emphasizing the third syllable with glee, as if saying the word for the first time. "I have got a feeling we are going to have a little bit of a party tonight! You ready for it?"

The band then launched into "All My Loving."

McCartney's voice sounded fantastic for the most part, nailing the signature falsetto parts in "All My Loving" (and, later, the guttural screams of "Helter Skelter" and "Hey Jude"). McCartney and company then played two Wings songs, including "Listen to What the Man Said," and then McCartney strapped on a guitar to play "Let Me Roll It."

After that ended, the band started into the main riff from Jimi Hendrix's "Foxy Lady." McCartney did his best Hendrix here, soloing for a few minutes (all I'll say is that his guitarists, Rusty Anderson and Brian Ray, would have ripped out better solos, but, hey, give him credit for trying.) After the interlude ended, McCartney launched into a story about how the weekend after the Beatles released Sgt. Pepper's, he went to see a Hendrix concert. And though the album had only been out a few days, Hendrix kicked off his concert with a cover of the title track. McCartney called it one of the best compliments he'd ever received.

It was one of several touching stories McCartney has repeated at concerts throughout the years. He also told us about things he wished he would have said to Lennon, and about how he wrote "Blackbird" about the fight for civil rights in the American South. He also shared a story of writing "Being for the Benefit of Mister Kite!" with Lennon -- the two were in Lennon's room, McCartney said, and the lyrics for the song came directly from a poster hanging on Lennon's wall.

McCartney introduced "Maybe I'm Amazed" by saying, "I wrote this song for Linda." The song itself is a masterpiece of a love song, and the performance was nothing less. McCartney and company powered through the song, and when it ended, the crowd responded loudly, with many giving him a standing ovation.


Location Info

Map

Talking Stick Resort Arena (formerly US Airways Center)

201 E. Jefferson St., Phoenix, AZ

Category: Music


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19 comments
frankrock1
frankrock1

If you'd gone to his LAST Phoenix show in '08, you would have heard "Got to Get You Into My Life".

bisnan
bisnan

I guess my question is, did Paul MacCartney want everyone to "feel the kick drum?" I don't believe the venue should be second-guessing the artist by adding sound that isn't part of the composition. 

bisnan
bisnan

I was amazed at how great he sounded, but appalled that the sound tech thought every beat of the bass drum should sound like artillery. "The long and winding .... boom!  boom! boom! " What is it about Arizona venues that requires all concerts and songs to sound like pep rallies? If there is one invention of the past 30 years that I could do without, it is the sub-woofer. I would be surprised if MacCartney himself thought his songs would sound lame without the sound and feeling of thunder going off with every beat of the bass drum. For that reason, the short set he did on the small, elevated stage with just guitar was absolutely the best -- no drums to over-amplify. I don't know if other listeners are as bothered by this as I am, but if they are, I hope they start complaining, because I have sworn off concerts until this trend of sub-woofing everything at the bottom ends.

azforker
azforker

I love live music , Rolling Stones 6 times,The Band , The Who ,U2 a couple of times , Eric Clapton, The Dead and every offshoot over 30 times ,Bob Dylan on and on. At 72 years old , he walked out on Stage armed with arguably the best body of work in Rock and Roll,for the next 3 hours took me on a ride I have waited for since I saw them on Ed Sullivan.Opinions are like ___ Holes , everyone has  got one , Bottom line Everyone who was lucky enough to be US Airways had a night full of music they will not soon forget ! Fabulous !

Amy Horton
Amy Horton

The part where tickets were affordable....oh wait....

MaryAnn Holtz
MaryAnn Holtz

And I really loved Paul singing Blackbird... A favorite of mine

MaryAnn Holtz
MaryAnn Holtz

The time between the first song and the third encore!

VincentDrysdale
VincentDrysdale

"Younger people never saw McCartney pander. We never saw him age, never saw him sell out, be cloying, or make desperate pleas for relevancy".  I agree with brettb31.  This is very rude and, more importantly, mostly false.  He never pandered, he never sold out, and he never made desperate pleas for relevancy.  The only thing he did was age, and anyone who saw last night's show will tell you he's barely done that.

Mandi Kimes
Mandi Kimes

Great job, David Accomazzo! I'm also surprised he didn't play "Jet" or "Silly Love Songs".

Mandi Kimes
Mandi Kimes

Great job, David Accomazzo! I'm also surprised he didn't play "Jet" or "Silly Love Songs".

brettb31
brettb31

The comment in your first notebook dump was silly (assuming it came from a younger person in the audience), not to mention disrespectful to the many great songs (among some crap, yes) he wrote after the Beatles. McCartney had some embarrassing moments in the '80s (what '60s giant didn't?), but he never stopped being relevant.

VincentDrysdale
VincentDrysdale

@bisnan It's just the current trend of live mixing that has been going on for quite some time.  They sound guy wants everyone to be able to feel the kick drum.  It didn't bother me.  In fact, it enhanced the more rocking numbers like "Save Us" and "Let Me Roll It".

frankrock1
frankrock1

Cheapest seats were TWENTY FIVE dollars! That's not affordable for you? Sad...

VincentDrysdale
VincentDrysdale

I've seen seven shows in the last 24 years.  This is the first one he didn't do "Jet".  It's usually the second song.

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