Paul McCartney: Manchester MEN Arena, 19/12/11
When I discovered that I had been bought a ticket to see Paul McCartney, I was somewhat dubious. At the age of 69 I really didn’t know what to expect from him. On one hand, he is the last Beatle alive who can sing ‘those songs’, but on the other he has toured non-stop for the last however many years. Was this to be the same old show that he wheels out to please the Beatle fans?
Arriving at the MEN Arena, we were given a short set by a DJ remixing Beatles songs. It was nice but nothing compared to the main event. McCartney came on at eight and didn’t leave the stage properly until way past eleven. He didn’t even stop to take a drink! He is nearly seventy, yet could teach a few other bands a few things. His voice is still there yet, it was hardly heard – twenty thousand people sang every song along with him. When we heard it, it was great, hitting every note, song after song. With a back catalogue as impressive as his, I don’t think he had a hard time picking his set list. The crowd went insane as he opened with ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ and so did the show – the lighting was incredible, giving us a proper spectacle.
For the slower songs there was a quiet in the venue that was almost eerie. ‘Yesterday’ and ‘Something’, which he dedicated to his friend George, were amazing reminders that on CD these songs are great but live they really get to you. Numbers like ‘Jet’ and ‘Band on the Run’ saw pyrotechnics and flames shooting all over the place. It really was a brilliant show.
For anyone who assumed, like I, that at 69 Macca just doesn’t have it anymore, they could not be more wrong. He is still a hero for thousands and rightly so. His voice sounds as good now as it probably did in Liverpool’s Cavern all those years ago, and he has more stamina in his little finger than most new bands have combined. For that I couldn’t help but be blown away.