Paul McCartney - The US Tour 2005

23.10.2005, Milwaukee, WI; "Bradley Center"



REVIEW; Sir Paul Still Rocks; Career Retrospective Includes the New, the Old, the Unexpected

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 10/24/2005
"The Cute One." Macca. Sir Paul. The Walrus.

Whatever you want to call him, Paul McCartney rocks.

Performing to a packed house Sunday night at the Bradley Center, the 63-year-old granddad put on a 2 -hour show that covered the length and breadth of his career and underscored how the icon made making music history seem as effortless as the act of thanking his fans, which McCartney did early and often.

Without the overly busy production that sometimes cluttered his 2002 appearance at the venue, McCartney put the focus on his music, and on his significant Liverpudlian charms.

After a brief video biography that included early school report cards "Paul could have done better," one teacher noted the fit and still-fab McCartney arrived onstage to announce the "Magical Mystery Tour." The opening song hinted at the tone of the evening, a long and winding walk through McCartney's entire career.

The spry southpaw even trotted out a pre-Beatles song, "In Spite of All the Danger," a playful tune that he penned with the late George Harrison.

"Danger" was just one of several unexpected chestnuts, including "I'll Follow the Sun" and "Fixing a Hole." The set list was also rich in fan favorites, such as "Band on the Run," "Eleanor Rigby" and "Jet."

It's a testament to McCartney's talent as a songwriter that new material from the just-released "Creation and Chaos in the Backyard," including the haunting "Jenny Wren" and "English Tea," fit into the set seamlessly, like organic contemporaries of "Penny Lane," without a smidgen of forced nostalgia.

Some strained vocals during "Maybe I'm Amazed" were the only signs the sexagenarian was a mere mortal. McCartney otherwise matched the youthful energy of his four-piece band, which included multi-instrumentalist Wix Wickens and guitarists Rusty Young and Brian Ray. Drummer Abe Laboriel Jr. in particular was so exuberant that at times it seemed he might pull a "Spinal Tap" and simply explode behind his kit. That kind of intensity served McCartney's more aggressive songs particularly well, including "Live and Let Die" and "Helter Skelter," part of the first round of encore songs.

Some of the evening's most powerful moments, however, came when Sir Paul was onstage alone with his guitar or piano. Reminiscing about playing Bach on guitar with Harrison as youngsters, McCartney joked: "It was a semi-classical piece. Well, it was classical, but we made it semi."

With a self-deprecating wink, McCartney then broke into a spare and stunning "Blackbird" that underscored why the man himself is a classic.

Teen review: Former Beatle McCartney has the magic to bring ages together on new tour
Alex Drossart, 16, Green Bay Preble High School
Sir Paul McCartney’s tour in support of his new album, “Chaos and Creation in the Backyard,” made a stop Sunday at Milwaukee’s sold-out Bradley Center, giving 20,000 screaming fans the night of their lives.

McCartney, on his first U.S. tour since 2002, played a 36-song set consisting mostly of Beatles classics, sprinkled with a few Wings tracks and new solo songs.

The night opened with DJ Freelance Hellraiser remixing classic McCartney songs. Next came a 10-minute video chronicling the life of McCartney all the way from birth to the recent Live 8 concerts.

The tension was high as the crowd waited for Sir Paul and his band to hit the stage. The arena exploded as they ran out and fired through “Magical Mystery Tour.”

After that came excellent versions of Beatles’ and Wings’ songs such as “Jet,” “Drive My Car” and “Let Me Roll It.” McCartney played “Fine Line,” the first single off of “Chaos,” followed by some of the biggest highlights of the night: the classic “Maybe I’m Amazed” followed by the graceful ballad “The Long and Winding Road.”

The legendary singer/songwriter took the acoustic route on “Blackbird” and “Eleanor Rigby” before the show’s climax — a rousing rendition of “Hey Jude” with the crowd singing vocals louder than him. There was even a point where he let the audience sing the famous melody at the end of the song without any accompaniment.

After closing with “Live and Let Die,” McCartney returned to the stage with “Yesterday,” “Get Back” and “Helter Skelter.”

For his second encore, he played the song that started Beatlemania in Great Britain, “Please Please Me.” Next came the unforgettable ballad, “Let It Be.” Finally, McCartney closed the set with “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” which transitioned into a fitting “In the End.”

A memorable concert ended with the timeless lyrics, “And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.”

Even at age 63, McCartney never ceases to amaze young and old alike.