Saturday, November 22, 2008

Macca Live 2010 Side Five

On the original 3 LP version of Wings Over America, side five was devoted to promoting the 1976 album Wings At The Speed Of Sound. For this concert, I'd like Paul to focus on his more recent albums, going back to 1997. Of course this would change with the release of a new album.


Great, melodic song from Memory Almost Full. The title sets the tone for this section.


Paul's recent catchy single, also from Memory Almost Full. His daughter Beatrice used to dance when she heard her father play the mandolin, so I'm sure Paul would love to perform it.


Rocking opener from Chaos and Creation, with Paul on piano. One of Macca's best singles from recent years.


Another album opener, this one from Driving Rain. While Paul may not want to revisit this part of his life, this seems to be another song about moving on after Linda, so hopefully he'd still play this one in concert. If not, Macca could do one of the songs from the new Fireman album.


This might be my favorite of McCartney's love songs hes' written since the 1970s. I love the rhyme scheme of "sky / why/ Versailles", and while the song has a sentimental streak, Paul keeps it in check, and it certainly comes across as heartfelt. This one was originally recorded as a demo for Flowers In The Dirt, but was revived for Flaming Pie, with an additional coda written by one Richard Starkey, M.B.E.


This would be a moving end for this section, and connects with side four. Quite a brave song for Paul to sing in concert, as he muses about his own death. From Memory Almost Full.

Macca Live 2010 Side Four

When I saw Paul at the Boston's Fleet Center in 2002, and he did his little tributes to George (who had died the previous November), and John, it was probably the most moving experience I had ever felt at a rock concert. I was thinking that "Side Four" could expand on this. Since this could be seen as one of McCartney's final statements, I'm sure he'd like to say "Farewell" to those who were closest to him.


One of the few McCartney originals from 1999's oldies collection, Run Devil Run. Since this was Paul's first album since Linda's death, one cannot help but attribute this song to the love of his life. A good introduction to this portion of the show.


A massive 1973 hit with Wings. There are plenty of songs Paul has written about the lovely Linda, but I think this one would work best here.


This song was written in memory of Ringo Starr's first wife, Maureen. She was a regular at the Cavern Club back in the Fabs' early days. Ringo and Maureen were married in 1965, had three children (including The Who's drummer, Zak Starkey), and divorced in 1975. See the liner notes on Flaming Pie for more information (Maureen was only identified as "a dear friend" at the time). She died at the end of 1994. One last time to say, "Thanks, Mo !"


Now is the time to say "Goodbye" to fellow Fabs that are no longer with us. Although both of these tracks seem to be nostalgic odes to John, either of these songs would suffice as introductions to tributes for Spike Wilbury and Dr. Winston O'Boogie. Again, Macca could alternate between these two songs throughout the tour.

23. ALL THINGS MUST PASS (or any of George's other songs)

Technically not a song released by The Fabs, even though they rehearsed it in January 1969 for the Get Back / Let It Be sessions. Macca did perform it in concert after Harrison's death, including 2002's Concert For George. Any other Harrisongs that Paul decided to cover would be an especially touching tribute. Wouldn't it be great to hear Paul sing "Give Me Love" or "Love Comes To Everyone"? He could also cover George's Grammy-winning instrumental, "Marwa Blues", which Macca chose for a magazine compilation CD a few years back.


Paul's tribute to John, which had more or less become a concert staple since 2002. The perfect end for this section.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Macca Live 2010 Side Three

The next "Theme" could be : The Ones Paul Gave Away (or at least played on). These songs would serve as an overview of tunes that Macca gave to others. They have never been performed live by Paul, to the best of my knowledge. In most cases we have never even heard McCartney sing lead on any of these songs (with the obvious exception of track 18). This is also a way to sneak in some 1960's material without performing Beatles songs.

13. On The Wings Of A Nightingale

Continuing with the acoustic section, it would be a real treat to hear the song McCartney wrote specifically for one of his greatest influences: The Everly Brothers. After Phil and Don reunited in the 1980's, Dave Edmunds produced their brilliant studio comeback album, E.B. '84. Much like his 1973 James Bond movie theme, McCartney came up with the tailor-made goods.

14. World Without Love
15. Woman

Time for a little tribute to Peter and Gordon. Peter was the brother of Paul's mid-1960s girlfriend, Jane Asher, and he later worked for Apple. "World Without Love" was Peter and Gordon's first and biggest hit. "Woman" was originally released with "Bernard Webb" listed as the songwriter, to see if the duo could have a hit without the Lennon-McCartney songwriting credit. The duo also recorded "Nobody I Know" and "I Don't Want To See You Again" (both credited to Lennon-McCartney, but obviously Paul is the author of all four covers.). None of these songs have ever been on official recordings by either the Beatles or McCartney.

16. Mine For Me

A forgotten gem. This was written for Rod Stewart's 1974 album Smiler. Another one of those deceptively catchy love songs. "Six O'clock", which Paul wrote for Ringo's 1973 album, would be another inspired choice.

17. My Dark Hour

This was actually written by Steve Miller, but was recorded with "Paul Ramon" at Olympic Sound Studios in London, on May 9, 1969. "Ramon" (a.k.a. McCartney) played drums, bass, and sang prominent background vocals. McCartney's son was a big Miller fan, and Paul worked with Steve again on Flaming Pie. Maybe Paul could even sit behind the drum kit for this one.

18. Come And Get It

Paul wrote this hit single for Apple act Badfinger. It also appeared on the soundtrack for the movie The Magic Christian, co-starring Ringo and fab friend Peter Sellers. His solo demo was recorded quickly on July 24, 1969, in a single one hour session. Macca had just one bit of advice for Badfinger: Do it exactly like my demo. You can hear McCartney's version on The Beatles' Anthology 3.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Macca Live 2010 Side Two

The next portion should be an "acoustic" set. Giving the audience a chance to catch their breath. Everybody, sit down, and get comfortable.


Paul's debut solo single, and beautiful, simple ode to Linda, just admiring her going about her day. Another deceptively brilliant song that would be great to hear live.


A nice little ditty, the title track from Wings' 1978 album. It was a mellow record recorded after Wings became one of the rocks' biggest bands at the conclusion of their record-breaking world tour. It's like an aural warm, fuzzy blanket.


Arguably the best song from 1993's Off The Ground album. A great, if unusual, song that got some attention when the album was originally released. Great example of Paul's unique songwriting style, especially in the lyrics.


1970's McCartney is one of my all-time favorite albums. Here's another touching love song for Linda. Paul has done this one live, but not recently.


If it were up to me, I'd include one of Paul's great acoustic B-sides in this slot. His mid-1970's songs like "Sally G" and "Country Dreamer" continue the warm feeling of the McCartney sessions. "Rainclouds", the B-side of "Ebony and Ivory", also has a similar feel. However, this has a more meditative feel, which would be appropriate as McCartney was working on this track with George Martin on December 9, 1980. "With A Little Luck" might be a more obvious choice, since it was a big hit single. My thought was that Paul could shake up the set list a bit, and alternate these four this slot.


This was a massive hit in the U.K., where it dislodged The Fabs' "She Loves You" as the biggest single ever. In the U.S., it was NOT a hit. Capitol Records even tried to promote the other side - the rocking "Girls' School" - but was only moderately successful.This may have been one of the factors leading to McCartney's subsequent departure from Capitol to Columbia Records. On recent tours, Paul only performed this in North America when he was in Canada.It's time for us Yanks to hear this classic track in concert.

Macca Live 2010 Side One

The opening of the show should be exciting and upbeat. But what song should Paul start with ? Of course, "Venus and Mars / Rock Show" is an obvious choice, but not only has it already been done, it alludes to bigger venues like "Madison Square" and the "Hollywood Bowl", which might give lazy journalists an excuse to give a few digs. "Band on the Run" would also be a good opener, especially since it builds, and would send the crowd into a frenzy. However, I decided to go with a hit song that has rarely been played live, is a favorite of fans, and provides a good rocking start:


Of course, the reference to gas prices will unfortunately still be relevant. The only problem would be the line about the president (originally about Nixon), which might have to be rewritten. What rhymes with "President"? Maybe something like "heaven sent"? Plus, I'd love to Paul exclaim, " Take me down, Rusty ! "


And now for something more recent. Paul loves this one. It's the title track from his great, Grammy-nominated 1997 album. Keeps the momentum going, and a bit of a Beatles reference to boot !

3. JET

Back in the 1990's, Paul gave an interview where he said he didn't really like performing this one, even though it's possibly his most played solo hit on "Classic Rock" radio. I'm not sure if he still feels this way, but let's get it out of the way, just in case he does.


"Silly Love Songs" ? Really? "SILLY LOVE SONGS" ?!?! YES "SILLY LOVE SONGS" !!!!! This was one of his biggest hits, which went up the charts as Wings Over America crossed the country in the year of our bi-centennial. When I saw Rod Stewart in 2004, he closed the main set - not with "Maggie May", but "Do You Think I'm Sexy" - and the crowd went wild ! Even though the song will be forever linked to the disco era, this is a catchy song, makes you feel good when you hear it, and it has a killer bass line. It will get the crowd dancing. It will also separate the "Beatle" fans from the "Macca" fans. This is kind of Paul's manifesto. And what's wrong with that?


Paul's minor hit from the late 1980's, written with Elvis Costello. A return to form, and something worth revisiting. It will also keep the momentum up.


Paul big hit from 1980, from the end of the Wings-era. (It was released as a live Wings track as well as a song on McCartney II, where Paul played all the instruments). This song also holds a special place in Paul's heart, as John Lennon complimented the single in one of his last interviews.

Macca Live 2010 Introduction

Paul McCartney is one of the most successful songwriters and performers of all time. Not just with The Beatles, but with Wings in the 1970s, and a solo career that continues to this day. However, one gets a sense from some interviews that Macca still feels insecure. Not only about his accomplishments within the Fabs, but about his hit-filled solo career. While John and George continued to expand and explore their art from where they were when the Beatles broke up, Paul decided to start again, form a band, and try for a new, younger audience. This led to Paul and Wings becoming one of the biggest acts of the 1970s, both on tour and in the charts. He remained popular with many Beatles fans, but an entire younger generation grew up loving Paul and Wings, just because they put out some catchy tunes.

Despite all of McCartney's success, the press for the most part was not very kind, often comparing Macca to his former partner John Lennon, and other "heavier" "artists". Paul was slighted as being a lightweight, and mocked for being a family man. Yet when John and Yoko finally had a child together, and then Lennon retired to be a house-husband, he somehow managed to make it a political statement. Paul couldn't get a break.

In retrospect, McCartney's solo catalogue is quite impressive. His solo material on Apple has aged particularly well. Macca is the only Fab that continued to record regularly, with many gems being released only as singles. While quality went downhill a bit during the mid-1980s (which even McCartney has since admitted to), things improved with Flowers In The Dirt, and really reached a level of greatness starting with 1997's Flaming Pie, and continues to this day.

One of the most moving concerts I ever saw was then Paul toured in 2002. I had previously seen McCartney a handful of times throughout the years: 1976 (Wings Over New York), 1990 (Worcester), and twice in October 1999 ("Buddy Holly Dance Party", and the Run Devil Run record release party - where I actually got to meet Paul backstage). Although it was always great to see Paul in concert, I had not previously been blown away by his previous performances.

I was completely unprepared for the impact of the "Back In The U.S." concerts. I purposely did not read anything about the tour, so I could experience it fresh. The entire presentation was impressive, from the song selection to the big screen images to the tributes to Linda, John and George. Also, the current band is by far the best solo line-up he's had, especially guitarist Rusty Anderson. This combo is young and energetic, giving Paul's songs an excitement missing from McCartney's sluggish post-Wings ensembles.

There are reports that Paul is planning one more big world tour. For the last decade, Macca & Co. have been putting on great shows-- heavy on the 60s songs, with a mix of material from his solo years. For the upcoming tour, it seems like Paul will continue with this successful formula. He is single-handedly keeping the legacy of The Beatles alive by re-creating their classic catalogue on stage with a show that comes as close to a live Beatles concert as we've seen since the 1960s.

But what about Paul's solo years? In order to play arenas (and stadiums), and to charge the going rate for superstar acts, Macca's concerts feature only about a third of the show dedicated to nearly four decades of post-Fab material. Since his fans are now expecting a Beatle-packed show, I was wondering how Paul could do a tour of solo material, and not disappoint his fans.

Here's what I came up with: After his next world tour, Paul could announce a "Celebration" of his solo career. It should be a tour of theaters (think Radio City Music Hall) instead of arenas. The advertisements should strongly (and proudly) hint that no Beatles will be performed.

Paul seems to love the idea of playing an intimate venue as much as a stadium. In order to make it easy on Macca, he could play, for instance, ten night stands in New York and L.A., with five night stands in cities like Boston, Chicago, Houston, and Seattle. The cost of tickets should be the same as recent arena shows so that only fans who appreciate Macca's solo material attend, and the yahoos who want to scream "Hey Jude" can stay at home and complain about the high price of tickets. And keeping the same band would be essential.

Over the course of six upcoming blogs, I plan to write about what such a tour could be like. It will be modeled after 1976's Wings Over America. The plan is to think of the show as a triple album, where each side has a "theme".

I think it would be a nice way for Paul to make an exit (although I also hope- and expect- him to keep on rocking for the rest of his life). Each side will have six tracks, which would mean the concert would feature 36 songs - which is about what Paul does nowadays anyway. This way the last 40 years could have some of the respect it deserves, on its own terms.