Paul McCartney Brings His One on One Tour to the Magic City
– review of the show at the AmericanAirlines Arena (Miami).
What can I say about Paul McCartney that hasn’t already been said? If you’re a music fan you already know and have felt his influence from his days as a Beatle, flying into Wings, as well as a phenomenal solo career. Musicians all over the globe have wanted to be him or rather have a career that mirrors his. At the young age of 75, McCartney’s musical repertoire is unparalleled by any other performer on heaven or earth. Heaven is what tonight’s performance at the American Airlines Arena in Miami was all about.
I, like millions of other people have been a fan of McCartney since my younger days back in the 1960’s when The Beatles ruled the world and music charts. It’s hard to believe their masterpiece Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band turned 50 this year. To say its influence on the music scene was and is a phenomenon would be an understatement. Records were never the same after its original release. Never before had overdubs, multi-layer vocals and instrumentations been utilized quite this way. Thanks in part to producer George Marin (who is considered the fifth Beatle by millions), The Beatles created a wave of music that played ‘out-of-the-box.’ The great thing was no one realized there was a box to break out of until The Beatles took the reign and ran with it, never looking back.
I have seen Sir Paul twice before in my musical lifetime. The first was his ‘Flowers in the Dirt’ tour in 1990 at the then Joe Robbie Stadium, the other in 2002 for the ‘Driving World Tour’ at the BB&T Center. This evening McCartney kicked off the second leg of is ‘One On One’ tour in my backyard. In pure McCartney style, he appeared on stage with a bang and never stopped. Spanning his 60-year career Sir Paul delighted the sold-out audience with a 31-song set that mixed-in Beatles numbers, Wings, solo material and even The Quarrymen’s (his first band with John Lennon and George Harrison when they were young lads) In Spite Of All The Danger.
Kicking off this evening’s performance, he pulled out an oldie but goodie he hasn’t played in decades, A Hard Day’s Night. Throughout the evening his set list weaved and flowed with an equal balance of blockbuster hits as well as solo numbers many of us haven’t heard live in concert. It was those favorites however that ruled the night. McCartney himself acknowledged the obvious, “We know which songs you enjoy the most. When we play the old Beatles songs all the phones light up. When we play others, and look out (into the audience) it’s like a black hole. But we don’t care, we’re going to play them anyway.” This is the nature of Paul’s character; an easy-going bloke who’s just going to kick back and play some tunes for his friends. McCartney’s stage show has always been impressive with its laser and lights. It’s impossible to top the bombs and fire going off during Live and Let Die. I’ll admit it, I jumped more than once. In this 95-degree weather fire was the last thing we needed even if it was indoors. That said, it’s always been about the music for Sir Paul and his fans. Many of us were never fortunate enough to see The Beatles live in concert so Sir Paul is the closest we’ll ever get (no offense Ringo).
Can’t Buy Me Love, We Can Work It Out, Love Me Do, And I Love Her, a hauntingly beautiful Blackbird, The Fool On the Hill, a rousing Lady Madonna, Eleanor Rigby (my personal favorite), Back In the U.S.S.R., and Here, There and Everywhere sounded as good as ever. McCartney’s voice may waver once or twice, but as a performer he’s still got it. I don’t know any other performers on the circuit that play for three hours non-stop. Not a break, drink of water, dance routine or lip sync could be found or heard for miles. Two special moments in the evening came when the songs Here Today and Something brought forth a joyous introspective connection between us and Paul. Here Today, a solemn song written in tribute to John Lennon is what Paul describes as the ‘conversation we never had.” While on a lighter note, George Harrison’s beautiful Something was played by Paul on a ukulele. Not to be forgotten, Ringo Starr received his own special ‘birthday’ salutation. Today being Ringo’s and Paul’s father’s special day, McCartney dedicated the classic Birthday to both men and “anyone else who has a birthday this year.” Known as one the elite bassist in the world McCartney showcased his musical prowess taking lead guitar on Jimi Hendrix Foxy Lady and a handful of other times in the show. His band is one of the tightest in rock music. Rusty Anderson, Abe Laboriel Jr., Brian Ray and Paul “Wix” Wickens began playing with Sir Paul full time in 2002. They have played as unit longer than the Beatles and Wings their comradery and intuition rings through loud and clear. McCartney summed it up like this, “We just love playing together.” You can’t fake a live performance; these guys are the real deal.
Just when we thought the evening couldn’t get any better, McCartney kept his bag of tricks rolling along. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da and Band on the Run set everyone one up for the finale of all finales. The set ended with two of the most emotionally charged songs of the night – Let It Be and the ultimate crowd sing-a-long, Hey Jude. It was quite a sight to see 25,000 people on their feet swaying and singing along phone lights held high in the air. Times have certainly changed. The Bic lighters have become obsolete. The encore stepped up to an untouchable level; Yesterday (McCartney solo on an acoustic guitar was nothing short of breathtaking), Hi Hi Hi, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, and Golden Slumbers, Carry That Weight, The End. The Abbey Road suite holds a special place in my heart and forearm (I have two McCartney tattoos) was the perfect end to a perfect evening.
If one didn’t believe in magic before coming to the show tonight, by its end, it’s safe to say they do now. Paul McCartney in concert is an experience beyond all others and tonight as every other night, Sir Paul held court before the delighted masses. “And in the end, the love you take, is equal to, the love you make.” Truer words have never been written.