Friday, October 31, 2014

Paul McCartney rocks Greensboro for the first time

Last night Sir Paul McCartney rolled into Greensboro for the first time on his Out There tour and it was the final date on the North American leg of his 2014 tour.

Before the music even started things got off to a bit of a rocky start. Ticket holders were shut out of the venue as the doors were opened later than scheduled and were then crowded on the concourse and not allowed to enter arena itself once they were inside. Eventually we were all let in and the show only started about half and hour so late.

Once Sir Paul and his band hit the stage it was a never ending assault of Beatles, Wings and solo classics along with a few from his latest album New. While many of the classics like "All My Loving," "Paperback Writer" and "Maybe I'm Amazed" are always amazing to hear, it's some of the rarer tunes that inject some freshness into the set. Highlights included "Listen to What the Man Said," "I've Just Seen a Face," "All Together Now," "Lovely Rita" and "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!" The latter was surprisingly good live even though it seems like the Sgt. Pepper cut wouldn't work with an arena crowd.

Even though the crowd wasn't as into the songs from New, they sounded great in the set, especially the jaunty "Queenie Eye" and foot stomper "Everybody Out There."

Paul did his usual tributes throughout the night, a bit of "Foxy Lady" for Jimi Hendrix during "Let Me Roll It," "My Valentine" for his wife Nancy who was somewhere in the crowd, "Here Today" for John and "Something" for George with a ukelele intro. Even though he has been doing these songs for a while they're still nice moments in the set.

"Live and Let Die" was explosive, literally, as pyrotechnics were featured throughout the rocking parts of the song. They definitely startled a lot of folks who didn't know they were coming. The main set closed with an obvious choice, "Hey Jude." It's a song that I always say I'd be fine if it was left out, but once you're in the room with thousands of people singing along I remember why he still plays it every time.

The first encore featured all rockers, "Day Tripper," "Birthday" and "I Saw Her Standing There." I would have preferred the Wings song "Hi, Hi, Hi" that has been featured in some recent sets instead of "Birthday," but I'm sure most folks would rather hear an extra Beatles tune instead of a Wings tune. "Hi, Hi, Hi" is a good one though.

And that left one final encore that started with the simple yet brilliant "Yesterday. As the band rejoined McCartney, they ran around the stage with a U.S. flag, British flag and North Carolina flag. Not to be left out, drummer Abe Laboriel ran around with a tiny pirate flag. After a few laps McCartney paused for what he said was a first for him — and a last. He brought a woman up from the audience who had been holding a sign reading "Trick or Treat, Sign My Feet" and he did just that. Always the comedian, McCartney sprayed her foot with what looked like an anti-fungal spray before breaking out the Sharpie.

After the autograph session was over, the band launched into the barnburner "Helter Skelter," a song so awesome live that it's always good to have in the set. A trio of Abbey Road songs, "Golden Slumbers," "Carry That Weight," and the fitting "The End" finally brought the night to a close.

Even at 72 years old McCartney can put on a show almost as good as any modern pop star. A back catalog as rich as his is something most acts can't even come close to and he knows it. The positive energy and joy he exudes on stage is infectious. Hopefully he'll keep doing what he does so well for many more years to come.

Set list
Magical Mystery Tour
Save Us
All My Loving
Listen to What the Man Said
Let Me Roll It
Paperback Writer
My Valentine
Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five
The Long and Winding Road
Maybe I'm Amazed
I've Just Seen a Face
We Can Work It Out
Another Day
And I Love Her
Here Today
Queenie Eye
Lady Madonna
All Together Now
Lovely Rita
Everybody Out There
Eleanor Rigby
Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!
Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
Band on the Run
Back in the U.S.S.R.
Let It Be
Live and Let Die
Hey Jude
Day Tripper
I Saw Her Standing There
Helter Skelter
Golden Slumbers
Carry That Weight
The End

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