Paul McCartney - The US Tour 2005

20.11.2005, Dallas, TX; "American Airlines Center"



Sir Paul charms with warmth and wit

November 22, 2005
When you've got a songbook as astounding as Paul McCartney's, your concerts are foolproof. Yoko Ono could take over lead vocals and it would still sound good. So it barely mattered that Mr. McCartney was having an off night vocally on Sunday at American Airlines Center. Even though his voice flagged on "Band on the Run" and "Maybe I'm Amazed" and "Hey Jude," the capacity crowd na-na-nahhed with so much gusto it was hard to notice the flaws.

Besides, the other elements of the two-hour, 40-minute show were rock solid: the super-tight four-man band, the video-and-light display that was showy but not too much so, and, of course, tons of warm, witty between-song stories from the still-cute-at-63 Beatle.

Sure, some of them he tells every night, like the bit about falling into a piano pit, or how the fledgling Beatles played "Till There Was You" so they could get gigs at cabarets. But he's also a master improviser – as when he spotted a fan in the front row eating popcorn and grabbed the container so he and his band could have a snack, too.

Musically, the show hummed along like some glorious Beatles jukebox filled with quarters: Ka-ching, "Let It Be." Ka-ching, "Drive My Car." Ka-ching, "Yesterday," "Penny Lane" and "Magical Mystery Tour."

But some of the high points arrived in lesser-played gems such as "I Will" and "In Spite of All the Danger," a rousing Elvis tribute from his Quarry Men days. Four tunes from his new Chaos and Creation in the Backyard blended in easily, especially those that recalled other songs in the set: "Jenny Wren"/"Blackbird" and "English Tea"/"For No One," respectively.

Several months into his U.S. tour, Mr. McCartney's voice sounded nasal and rough around the edges. He didn't hit – or attempt – nearly as many high notes as he did three years ago at Reunion Arena.

But if anything, the music had more edge this time. The rarely played "I've Got a Feeling" became swaggering metal-blues. The Wings' hit "Let Me Roll It" evolved into a frantic version of "Foxy Lady." And the encore double whammy of "Get Back" and "Helter Skelter" bordered on punk rock.

Early on, he said, "Dallas, we've come a long way to rock you – and rock you we will." And like all good knights, Sir Paul made good on his promise.

Former Beatles bassist still rockin’ and rollin’ at 63
By Samantha Urban
November 22, 2005
A Paul McCartney concert cannot be compared to any other concert. Any other show would be found lacking. In this vein, Sir Paul’s set at the American Airlines Center on Sunday night, while not his absolute best, was a fantastically energetic night of rock and roll performed by one of the most talented entertainers to grace the planet.

The best part about the show was the wide range of songs pulled from the 63-year-old ex-Beatle’s repertoire for the set. It didn’t matter if it sounded familiar or not. McCartney is simply a joy and wonder to watch.

The band even managed to make themselves stand out, as well, particularly the amiable drummer, Abe Laboriel Jr. His background antics, in addition to the numerous tour anecdotes told by McCartney and the rest of the band, provided a fun and easygoing atmosphere.

McCartney opened the show with a rousing rendition of “Magical Mystery Tour,” closely followed by “Jet” and “Drive My Car.” Throughout the show, he made the necessary stops, such as “Maybe I’m Amazed,” “Band on the Run,” “Hey Jude,” and “Live and Let Die,” which featured some well timed pyrotechnics. But, unlike at other concerts, even the numbers from McCartney’s newest album, “Chaos and Creation in the Backyard,” kept the audience captivated. Especially of note is “Jenny Wren,” an achingly beautiful song that won’t fail to remind Beatles’ fans of the similar sounding “Blackbird.” He concluded the show with the obligatory two encores, featuring “Yesterday,” “Get Back,” “Helter Skelter,” “Please Please Me,” “Let It Be” and a blend of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” and “The End.”

For the most part, the show lacked the gimmicks and light shows that so many artists need to entertain nowadays. McCartney was certainly more than enough for the audience. The charismatic Brit simply utilized a light screen behind the stage that would illuminate, like a multi-colored Rubik’s Cube, and occasionally flash video images, such as the footage from the space station played during “Good Day Sunshine.” Continuing with the “less is more” motif, McCartney shined during his acoustic numbers, such as “Eleanor Rigby,” playing a richly-toned acoustic guitar.

What more could be said about everyone’s favorite left-handed bassist? McCartney, even at age 63, will forever be “The Cute Beatle.” McCartney showed a warmth and energy onstage befitting that of a 16-year-old in a garage band. The set was incredible, the effects were song-appropriate and the band was extremely versatile and talented. All in all, McCartney’s concert was absolutely the must-see concert event of the year.

McCartney still knows how to play to the heart
Nov. 21, 2005
DALLAS -- Paul McCartney must have been trying to store up his energy. For most of his Sunday night concert at American Airlines Center, the driving musical philosophy seemed to be, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

Oh, he and his band stretched out a few times, such as when they did about five false endings on I'll Follow the Sun, but for the most part they did letter-perfect versions of songs with little embellishment -- good songs, to be sure, but ones that relied on decades of his fans' good will rather than in finding that extra dose of adrenalin that would have pushed the energy level over the top.

The oddest song did the trick: I've Got a Feeling, from one of the most maligned (often unfairly) Beatles albums, Let It Be.

The song's rocking edge ignited McCartney and Co., especially lead guitarist Rusty Anderson, who had already amped up the level on earlier numbers such as Let Me Roll It and Band on the Run. But beginning with I've Got a Feeling, what had mostly been a pleasant nostalgia-fest became something else entirely.

It was almost as if playing a less familiar song instead of one of his warhorses engaged McCartney more because it wasn't something he'd played a thousand times.

McCartney went on to rouse the crowd with an equally rocking Back in the U.S.S.R, got 20,000 people (including someone who looked a lot like Dallas Mayor Laura Miller, but I can't be positive) to sing along with Hey Jude, and nearly burned down the house -- literally -- with a heavy-duty pyrotechnics show for Live and Let Die.

This isn't to say that the earlier portions of the show didn't have their high points as well. McCartney pulled out songs from the pre-Beatles era, changed up a few Beatles numbers (most notably a Fixing a Hole with some minimal accompaniment), unearthed some Wings cuts (Too Many People) and performed some material from his new album, Chaos and Creation in the Backyard, which I think contains some of McCartney's best work in more than a decade.

With material like this, it's not like anyone minded when McCartney and his band simply played songs straight -- people came to hear these songs, after all, and there wasn't a bad one in the bunch.

For most of us this was as close as we'll ever come to seeing a Beatles concert, and the band's energy and harmonies replicated the best of the Fab Four. Besides Anderson, significant contributions to the set were made by guitarist Brian Ray, drummer Abe Loriel and keyboardist Paul "Wix" Wickens.

Wickens played an especially important role, contributing synthesized variations of the horns on Penny Lane and of the strings on Eleanor Rigby. After each band member was introduced, they each told a brief anecdote, a sign of McCartney's sense of democracy as a bandleader.

I must say, however, that for all the band's charm and good humor, there were moments Sunday evening when McCartney seemed to be coasting just a little bit, and such an innovative and adventurous artist should push himself more.

When he did push himself, the rewards for the audience were great; I just wish he hadn't waited till nearly two hours into a nearly three-hour concert to hit overdrive.