Paul McCartney’s performance for his “One on One’ tour stop in Atlanta was entrancing, fun, and quirky. The tour is aptly named and captures the essence of Paul McCartney’s performance. Even though I was in the Infinite Energy Center with thousands of people, the show was personal. McCartney presented an intimate stage performance paralleling the act of brainstorming in a studio with dynamic animation and pyrotechnics. I appreciated the show because it was not a complete reprisal of the The Beatles and Wings. While he performed renowned pieces like “Live and Let Die,” “A Hard Day’s Night,” “Hey Jude,” “Back in the USSR,” and “Let it Be,” the set list included “Save Us,” “Queenie Eye,” and “New” from his album “New,” released in 2013. Additionally, he performed some of his more unassuming songs. To my delight, he played “Temporary Secretary” from McCartney II (released in 1980), which is a more experimental synth pop piece. In addition, he covered the Quarrymen’s first ever recorded piece, “In Spite of All the Danger.” As you know, the Quarrymen later evolved into The Beatles.
To help celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967) album, McCartney performed “Benefit of Mr. Kite” and “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise).” These are unassuming titles from that album that don’t get as much acclaim as the distinguished hits like “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” and “When I’m Sixty-Four.”
During the performance, McCartney made a comical observation to the audience (and I’m paraphrasing): “You know…when we play an old Beatles tune. I see all the phones. It’s like a galaxy. When we do new stuff, it goes dark, a complete black hole. Well…you may not know it or like….WE’RE GOING TO DO IT ANYWAY!”
Quite frankly, I appreciated his expression of slight dismay to the audience as so many people solely want a Beatles throw back. This is a PAUL MCCARTNEY show, not a Beatles show. McCartney is incredibly talented: he’s a singer, song writer, piano player, bass player, guitar player, and comedian (to an extent)…his new stuff is amazing and shouldn’t merely be disregarded due to his “Beatledome.” (And yes, I love The Beatles, and I’m not discrediting the success The Beatles created for McCartney). If you want a Beatles reprisal, we’re over-saturated with Beatles tribute bands that you check out for about 1% cost of a Paul McCartney ticket.
I’m a die hard Beatles fan and a McCartney fan at that. Yet, I’ve appreciated McCartney’s more recent work as a solo artist rather than the early solo McCartney and Wings albums. While there are unassuming nuisances in McCartney’s current tour, the show is well structured and includes the big hits that Beatles, Wings, and early McCartney fans will enjoy while being exposed to his newer, enticing work. McCartney never ceases to me amaze me. At 75 years old, he performed dynamically, athletically, and flawlessly as he always has.
As I am an advocate of his recent albums, I’ve listed them below with a bit of commentary.
Chaos and Creation in The Backyard (2005) is a more melancholy/ somber album, capturing the transcendence of re-discovering love and the pain involved. It has beautiful juxtaposition of affection and frustration, both heartwarming and furious.
Memory Almost Full (2007) is more reminiscent of the cutesy and quirky McCartney that we’re all familiar with complex guitar rifts. The album art is an antique chair, synonymous to McCartney talking about his life. The song that strikes me the most “Ever Present Past…” the lyrics go: “The things I think I did, I really, really did.”
New (2013) made me fall in love all over again with McCartney and rock in general. It’s passionate, aggressive, and quirky…everything I love about McCartney. This is probably my favorite of the 3; however, they are all so different and capture the transcendence of the human spirit.