Paul McCartney - The US Tour 2005

19.11.2005, Houston, TX; "Toyota Center"




McCartney soars to higher level 

The Beatles 101 class is over. On his current tour, Paul McCartney has taken his two-hour-plus stage show to a much more advanced level, and he brought a sold-out Houston crowd along for the ride.

Three years ago, McCartney came to the U.S. with a career-spanning, greatest-hits set built for even the most casual fan. Saturday at the Toyota Center he returned in support of his new album, Chaos and Creation in the Backyard, and a broad-based set list of songs culled from his days in Wings, the Beatles and even his pre-Beatles band, the Quarrymen.

For the die-hard crowd of fifty- and sixty-somethings that made up the majority of the audience, McCartney served up some lesser-known Beatles favorites such as I'll Follow the Sun and Good Day Sunshine for the first time in a long time and possibly for the last time ever.

The influential pull that the Beatles and McCartney had on rock 'n' roll could be seen in the faces of the fans.

Tucked between all the adults were listeners of all ages, including two shirtless kids with McCartney's initials painted on their torsos, rocking out as though they were watching Nickelback or Staind. McCartney gave them plenty of memorable moments and even whipped up a few daring song choices.

Magical Mystery Tour wasn't as effective an opening song as Hello, Goodbye was three years ago, but it did offer an enormity to the occasion heightened by the deafening audience screams in between verses.

McCartney's risks provided some of the best and worst moments of the show. The decision to feature forgotten solo song Flaming Pie as the second song briefly broke the early rush of momentum. But the skiffle-influenced guitar and harmonica harmonies of I'll Get You (the flip side of She Loves You in 1963) was the audio equivalent of finding a forgotten $100 bill in a pants pocket. You didn't realize it was lost until you found it.

Among the most enjoyable early songs were two that McCartney called "smoochy songs": Til There Was You and In Spite of All the Danger, both of which date to his days in the pre-Beatles band the Quarrymen.

In those moments, the joy on McCartney's face as he relived his past reminded listeners of a younger artist, an enthusiastic musician who once was seen with John, George and Ringo working a hard day's night in British and German clubs more than 40 years ago.