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Review: Paul McCartney @ AAMI Park, Melbourne

Photo: Ros O'Gorman
by Paul Cashmere, Noise11

The thing is when you go to a Paul McCartney show and hear Beatles songs you are mostly hearing Beatles songs that The Beatles never performed live. The Beatles stopped performing live after the ‘Rubber Soul’ album. (Yes, Revolver was released a few weeks before their last ever show but they didn’t perform any of it at their final shows.)

Ticking off the Beatles songs you never heard the Beatles sing live tonight was a setlist unto itself. ‘I’ve Got A Feeling’, ‘Blackbird’, ‘Eleanor Rigby’, ‘Being For The Benefit of Mr Kite, ‘Something’, ‘A Day In The Life’, ‘Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da’, ‘Back In The USSR’, ‘Let It Be’, ‘Hey Jude’, ‘Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band’, ‘Being For The Benefit of Mr Kite’, ‘Helter Skelter’, ‘Lady Madonna’, ‘Golden Slumbers’, ‘Carry That Weight’ and ‘The End’.

It began with ‘A Hard Days Night’.

When they were still touring they also never performed already recorded ‘I’ve Just Seen A Face’ or ‘You Won’t See Me’.

19 of the 24 Beatles songs Sir Paul McCartney performed tonight in Melbourne were NEVER performed live by The Beatles. Just think about that. How special does it make a McCartney show in 2017? Answer: Very bloody special.

I interviewed George Harrison in 1993. I asked him about the band stopping touring and if he had regrets. He responded that had they not stopped and concentrated on recording their sound would not have evolved to the extent of a ‘Sgt Pepper’ or an ‘Abbey Road’ album. McCartney can give fans in 2017 what he couldn’t in 1967. This show rewrites rock history.

Australia last saw Paul McCartney in 1993. 24 years is a long time in between drinks. There were a lot of satisfied faces.

Paul’s wife Nancy was in the audience. He dedicated ‘My Valentine’ to her. Linda was name-checked for ‘Maybe I’m Amazed’.

What amazed me were the stories between songs. He played a piece of Hendrix’s ‘Foxy Lady’ after Let Me Roll It’ and talked about Jimi learning and playing ‘Sgt Pepper’ live two days after the album was released and being in the audience to witness it.

He was funny. He said how he can tell when people like the songs. “We can tell what songs you like from up here. When we do an old Beatles song it lights up like a galaxy with all the phones. And when we do a new song it’s like a black hole. But we don’t care; we’re gonna do them anyway!”.

Don’t worry, new isn’t that scary with this show. A couple from the ‘New’ album and that bizarre Kanye West/Rihanna thing is as new as he gets. That song satisfied the young kids of the older fans in the audience dragged along because mum and dad say so. “Oh yeah that guy”.

It was great to see Melbourne students from the Scotch College Band given a chance to be part of ‘Mull of Kintyre’. Those kids will cherish that moment for the rest of their lives.

The take-home from the show is the calibre of songs and the calibre of the band. This is mostly a Beatles show with a few songs from Wings and a smattering of McCartney solo with only three songs from the 21st century. Does it get any better? No. Well, maybe The Stones for song calibre and Springsteen for live performance.

But hey they were all Gudinski tours in Australia, so win/win/win for the Melbourne guy. Congrats to Michael Gudinski. He has toured the three biggest acts on the planet after winning the Melbourne Cup two years in a row. Now THAT is success.

Main Set
  • A Hard Day’s Night (from The Beatles, A Hard Days Night, 1964)
  • Junior’s Farm (single, 1974)
  • Can’t Buy Me Love (from The Beatles, A Hard Days Night, 1964)
  • Letting Go (from Venus and Mars, 1975)
  • All My Loving (from The Beatles, With The Beatles, 1963)
  • Let Me Roll It (from Band On The Run, 1973)
  • I’ve Got a Feeling (from The Beatles, Let it Be, 1970)
  • My Valentine (from Kisses On The Bottom, 2011)
  • Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five (from Band On The Run, 1973)
  • Maybe I’m Amazed (from McCartney, 1970)
  • I’ve Just Seen a Face (from Help, 1965)
  • In Spite of All the Danger (The Quarrymen, 1958)
  • You Won’t See Me (from The Beatles, Rubber Soul, 1965)
  • Love Me Do (from The Beatles, Please Please Me, 1963)
  • And I Love Her (from The Beatles, With The Beatles, 1963)
  • Blackbird (from The Beatles, The Beatles, 1968)
  • Here Today (from Tug of War, 1982)
  • Queenie Eye (from New, 2013)
  • New (from New, 2013)
  • Lady Madonna (The Beatles single 1968)
  • FourFiveSeconds (single with Rihanna and Kanye West, 2015)
  • Eleanor Rigby (from The Beatles, Revolver, 1966)
  • I Wanna Be Your Man (from The Beatles, With The Beatles, 1963)
  • Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite! (from The Beatles, Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band, 1967)
  • Something (from The Beatles, Abbey Road, 1969)
  • A Day in the Life (from The Beatles, Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band, 1967)
  • Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da (from The Beatles, The Beatles, 1968)
  • Band on the Run (from Band On The Run, 1973)
  • Back in the U.S.S.R. (from The Beatles, The Beatles, 1968)
  • Let It Be (from The Beatles, Let it Be, 1970)
  • Live and Let Die (from Live and Let Die soundtrack, 1973)
  • Hey Jude (The Beatles, single, 1968)
  • Yesterday (from Help, 1965)
  • Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise) (from The Beatles, Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band, 1967)
  • Helter Skelter (from The Beatles, The Beatles, 1968)
  • Mull of Kintyre (single, 1977)
  • Birthday (from The Beatles, The Beatles, 1968)
  • Golden Slumbers (from The Beatles, Abbey Road, 1969)
  • Carry That Weight (from The Beatles, Abbey Road, 1969)
  • The End (from The Beatles, Abbey Road, 1969)