Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Paul McCartney • Good Evening New York City

This man was a living, breathing icon to me as a kid. Nowadays, he still is, but naturally I've widened the net of what I really like in music. This live release is Paul McCartney's, what, fourth or fifth live outing in the last 10-15 years? Well, what you get here is very close to the set he did on The McCartney Years DVD (Glastonbury 2004), with a few new renditions to make it a must-have for Macca geeks like me. (Guys who gotta have it on the day of release...)

Released in about a kajillion formats, including 2CD, 2CD/1DVD, 2CD/2DVD (Best Buy only) and 4LP--these are just the ones I'm aware of--Good Evening New York City is a well-recorded 2.5 hour concert film, shot over three days at NYC's new Citi Field as part of their grand opening ceremonies. (Never missing a marketing hook, this new field replaced Shea Stadium as the Mets' home field; Shea is where The Beatles last played NYC in 1966.) Having listened to the two CDs and watched the movie, I can tell you that the band Paul's had with him for the last decade-ish is the best one he's ever had, aside from, uhhh, well, his pre-Wings group. Rusty Anderson and Brian Ray handles the guitars (and bass when Paul's on guitar or piano), Paul "Wix" Wickens is the keyboards/musical director and has been with Paul since the late '80s, and this mammoth, frickin' awesome guy named Abe Leborial, Jr. handles the drums. This guy plays like a cross between Ringo and Keith Moon--always sounding like he's just about to roll off the rails but managing to hold it together quite nicely. They play a wide selection of McCartney tunes, both Beatles and Wings cuts, as well as even a couple from the latest album by The Fireman. Good God I'm glad my band doesn't play for two and a half hours! But I'm glad these guys do...

Okay, you gotta admit, it can't go on much longer. Macca's 67 this year and his voice is starting to break up on the high notes, and there aren't too many possibilities left for him to cover. Except... WHAT IF THIS BAND TACKLED SGT. PEPPER'S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND? Or BAND ON THE RUN? Now that would be something... really would be something.
4/5
(Hear Music HRM-31926-00; 2CD/2DVD version reviewed)

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