Concert review | Paul McCartney: Star simply shines
By Curtis Schieber
For The Columbus Dispatch
Wednesday October 14, 2015
Paul McCartney has nothing left to prove. After nearly three hours and three dozen songs Tuesday night at Nationwide Arena, any doubters surely came around. Yes, he played “those songs,” many, many of them. He dressed them in a half-dozen or so Wings songs and a few new ones from his most recent release, 2013’s New.
The 73-year-old exhibited confidence, humility, an easy sense of humor, and a contagious feeling of fulfillment that made even the most common, overly familiar Beatles hit, if not new again, certainly alive and well worth revisiting.
Though he performed so many crowd favorites, the lengthy set reminded, as well, what a rich and lengthy career the lucky McCartney has enjoyed.
A simple list of last night’s tunes alone will light memories, from Hey Jude to Eight Days A Week; Band On The Run to Lady Madonna; Blackbird to Paperback Writer. But McCartney made each one a new experience.
It helped that he had one of the finest bands on the road today. In fact the four of them — Rusty Anderson on guitar, Brian Ray on guitar and bass, Paul “Wix” Wickens on keyboards and the incredible Abe Laboriel Jr. on drums — rocked hard, sounded like twice as many musicians, and consistently found the right tone and beat to accompany the aged singer and material.
That’s not to say that McCartney wasn’t physically up to the task. Near the end, it seemed the audience would tire first, the band second and McCartney third. Though his voice has thinned a bit and has lost a bit of control at the top, only once — during Long And Winding Road, where he finished a familiar phrase a few notes lower — did the strain detract. In fact, on And I Love Her, it was downright touching.
Far more often the band found a groove that, if it was just a bit slower than the original recording, was right in the pocket for last night. Got To Get You Into My Life was a fine example, dropping the recording’s panic in favor of a deep swing. With Maybe I’m Amazed, McCartney tapped his inner Little Richard, while the accompaniment fit him perfectly.
That went double for Band On The Run, which sounded surprisingly new and as dramatic as ever.
Interestingly, a few songs that revived the mid-’60s folk-country sound of the Revolver and Rubber Soul albums, sounded right in sync with the Americana sounds of today.
McCartney came armed with perhaps the simplest stage set accompanying a major artist out there today. His quintet played every note with very little spectacle, other than the flash pots on Live and Let Die.
But he didn’t need any of it.
Paul McCartney at Nationwide Arena on Tuesday
TIM JOHNSON | ALIVE
Nationwide Arena - Columbus - Ohio - Oct 13, 2015