Paul McCartney - The US Tour 2005

11.11.2005, Anaheim, CA; "Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim"



Paul McCartney


Nov. 13, 2005

Shedding the "I am Paul the Artist" aura that floated over his last tour's set list, banter and design, Paul McCartney gets down to business in pitching his generally well-received disc "Chaos and Creation in the Backyard" amid a healthy serving of Beatles and solo faves.

The show's a long one -- two hours, 40 minutes -- preceded by a half-hour split between a McCartney biopicbiopic that runs Liverpool to Live 8 and a DJ who drops bits of Paul tunes into generic electronic beats. The night covers his career like a book -- there's so much information given he could issue a test at the exits. Yet with so many well-known chapters filled with electric moments, the surprise lies in McCartney's ability to make the evening's highlights the intimate ones.

McCartney has created a lovely nine-song bank about one-third of the way through his show that opens with a lovingly executed "I Will" and closes with a note-perfect "Eleanor Rigby." The "Blackbird"-inspired "Jenny Wren," one of four songs from the new disc in the set list, fits exquisitely here as an appetizer to the Beatles' "For No One" -- a reminder that McCartney is an ace at using simplicity to take your breath away. It is probably the most affecting perfperf of his last three tours, save for his sentimental tribute to George Harrison the last time out.

He splits his time almost evenly among bass, guitar and piano. Now 63 but still not playing "When I'm 64," he is duplicating only a dozen tunes from his 2002 tour -- and for Beatles fanatics, this is a bonanza. The obvious are retained -- "Let It Be," "Hey Jude," "Blackbird" -- but new this year are "Drive My Car," "Please Please Me," "Helter Skelter" and "She Came in Through the Bathroom Window." Stripped down as his band is to a five-piece, synthesizer player John Wickens ensures that every song has the brass and strings backing that George Martin created for these tunes in the 1960s.

Each musician works like Wickens in echoing sounds of the '60s and '70s except drummer Abe Laboriel Jr., who goes hog wild on his kit in a very un-Ringo manner; naturally, that works best on the 1970s Wings material.

The whole team is let loose on "Maybe I'm Amazed," a delicate rocker when it first appeared on McCartney's self-titled debut, and they inflate it to a Queen-like level that demonstrates the song's elasticity. It works on an emotional level, too. New tunes, by comparison, sound like the quaint sketches that filled his 1970 album, yet in the arena setting they don't have the wherewithal of the predecessors; they need a living room to be effective.

Obscurities in the 37-song show come from the distant past. "I'll Get You," a John Lennon-sung composition that was the B-side to "She Loves You," is a shocker early in the show; "In Spite of All the Danger," which McCartney, Harrison and Lennon recorded as the Quarrymen in 1958, at least gets a little story to go along with it. Not surprising is how much "Danger" sounds like a Buddy Holly knockoff.

This show would have been the ultimate McCartney experience if not for the annoyances that have plagued McCartney shows in the past. He insists on ending each song with arms raised, the houselights brought up and adulation being insisted upon. The early going is performed under a cloud of awkwardness that stunts the pacing; his between-song banter is uncomfortable and rarely enlightening or humorous.

McCartney performs Nov. 29 and 30 at Staples Center.