Wednesday, July 26, 2017

At 75, 60 Years Since Meeting John Lennon, Paul McCartney Continues to Dazzle, This Time in Tinley Park -- Chicago Concert Review

Concert Review

Paul McCartney
Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre
Tinley Park, IL
July 25, 2017 (also playing July 26)

I've now had the pleasure of seeing Sir Paul McCartney live in concert a dozen times, including 8 shows across the last 8 years.

Beyond my hometown of Chicago--where his previous performance, at Lollapalooza 2015, I only saw projected on my living room wall--I have caught Macca in such disparate places as Tulsa, Paris, Milwaukee and St. Louis (just last August).

This is the 5th McCartney show I've reviewed on Seth Saith, and have bestowed @@@@@ on each.

Even across 28 years--I first saw Paul at the Rosemont Horizon in December 1989, but not again until 2002--his concerts have been rather similar.

SPOILER ALERT for anyone who has yet to see Sir Paul live but is planning to, and wants to be completely surprised, but you can pretty much bet the house on a "Hey Jude" singalong, "Live and Let Die" pyrotechnics, "Let It Be," "Yesterday," "Blackbird," "Band on the Run" and several other staples mixed with a variety of other Beatles classics, Wings album tracks and new(ish) solo songs that may rotate somewhat from tour to tour, but quite little from show to show in the same year.

He even tells many of the same stories, about John Lennon, George Harrison, Jimi Hendrix & Eric Clapton, meeting Russian diplomats in Moscow and his impetus & aim in writing "Blackbird."

Amazingly, at the age of 75, accompanied by four musicians who he has played with longer than the Beatles or Wings--I happened to notice Denny Laine will be at Evanston's SPACE Thursday night--McCartney continues to perform 40 songs (if one counts an instrumental romp through much of Hendrix' "Foxy Lady") over nearly 3 hours.

So I really don't have a lot to say about Paul McCartney's show Tuesday night at the Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in Tinley Park that I haven't said before, especially as in terms of setlist, video graphics and anecdotes, it was nearly exact to the Busch Stadium gig I reviewed last year.

But although I've been a devout Beatles fan for as long as I've had conscious thought--which unfortunately came a few years after their supernatural run had ended--I can promise you that I do not keep seeing, and raving about, Paul McCartney strictly for sentimental reasons.

Sure, most of the songs are like scripture for me, but Paul and his stellar, stalwart bandmates--Rusty Anderson, Brian Ray, Paul Wickens and Abe Laboriel, Jr.--continue to deliver them sensationally.

Perhaps he's finally allowed some gray hair to appear, and to some ears isn't quite as crisp of voice, but 11  years down the road from when he was 64, I still need him more than ever.

My mom, sister Allison and I spent a good amount of money for pavilion tickets at the coldly utilitarian shed of many names over the years, and the drive there from Skokie took 2-1/2 hours, with nearly another 2 to get out of the parking lot and home.

But I believe I speak for all three of us--and presumably the majority of the 28,000 fans in attendance--when I say it was completely worth it, even though there was rather little truly new in the experience for me. (Though clearly not adverse to a McCartney double-shot, as I went both nights at Wrigley in 2012, and enticed by $20 lawn seats, I'm not going again tonight.)

Though it's certainly possible to watch full Paul McCartney concerts on DVD or even YouTube, and far cheaper and more convenient--and also nostalgically enjoyable--to see Beatles cover bands like American English, Cavern Beat, BritBeat, etc. at a local park, let alone just listen to the original albums on Spotify, any day that ends singing along to "Hey Jude" (and then a few more songs) with the man who wrote it is one to be cherished.

Clearly, even as Paul McCartney--along with the rest of us--has gotten older, seeing him on a concert stage, again and again, still has yet to get old.

Unless you want to be surprised, you can see Paul McCartney's Tuesday setlist here. Based on precedent, it seems 3 different songs will be played Wednesday night. Along with obvious choices and ones I won't divulge, I really enjoyed him reaching back for The Quarrymen's first recording "In Spite of All The Danger" and the Beatles' first single, "Love Me Do," especially as Paul met John 60 years ago this month.

1 comment:

Ken said...

Sir Paul, the consummate professional. Glad to see someone getting better as the years go on.