Paul McCartney - The US Tour 2005

26.11.2005, Las Vegas, NV; "MGM Grand Hotel"



All his lovin'
Paul McCartney, Oct. 26, MGM Grand
By Jayson Whitehead

When Paul McCartney appeared at MGM Grand last Saturday night, the ex-Beatle and former Wing expressed surprise at being back on the Strip only six months after he last appeared. It should have been no shock to either performer or audience. The astounding sales for "The Beatles 1," as well as the relative success of McCartney's solo overview "Wingspan," manifest the overwhelming popularity the Liverpudlians still hold. With an immense army of songs leading the way, McCartney enters any town as a conquering hero.

On this night, the (still) Cute Beatle first appeared with his fist raised to the screaming throngs. Strapping on his bass, he and his humble band began the show with the 1967 single "Hello Goodbye." The song is pure McCartney with its chirpy melody and borderline-schmaltzy lyric (it inspired John Lennon to chant "upchuck-upchuck" in the recorded song's closing moments), and was an immediate touchstone for the rest of the night.

The "Driving Rain" tour has been dubbed the "Feelgood Factory," and over the next two-and-a-half hours, McCartney lived up to the billing. Song after song rang familiar to this older audience; surely many here saw the Beatles' 1964 debut on "The Ed Sullivan Show." Lesser-known tunes like "All My Lovin'," "Getting Better," "Michelle," and "Blackbird," more than the titanic hits ("Hey Jude," "Let It Be"), seemed to connect crowd members to specific moments in their past. When McCartney began "Fool on the Hill," the 50-something man near me yelped in ecstasy.

Solo and Wings hits ("Maybe I'm Amazed," "Coming Up," "Let Me Roll It") were sprinkled throughout the set and kept the joyful vibe bouncing like the notes effusing from McCartney's Hofner bass. Only a three-song set from last year's "Driving Rain" and the throwaway 9-11 tribute "Freedom" slowed the frenzied mood. During an acoustic set, McCartney unveiled "Here Today," an unrecorded song he wrote for Lennon in the early '80s. It's not as stirring as I had hoped, but his cover of "Something" played on a ukulele (apparently, George Harrison's favorite instrument) seemed entirely appropriate, a private moment among some 11,000 people.

Outside the auditorium, a 60-year-old man smoked a cigarette, holding a notepad containing set lists from last April's show as well as that night's. "She's Leaving Home," a cut from "Sgt. Pepper's," is the only new addition to this leg of the tour. "I don't care. I love him," the fan said. "Forty years ago, yesterday, I bought ?Love Me Do' on Tollie Records. It had a yellow label." As McCartney began his encore with the first few notes of "The Long and Winding Road," the man paused. "And this song came out two days before I went to Vietnam," he said, pausing once more. "It got me through a lot of tough times."