If there is a king of the power-pop genre, it’s got to be Paul McCartney. For all the mediocre records that he has released in the past 20 years or so, he’s still got the greatest arsenal of songs. I’m not just talking about The Beatles era material. I’m talking about solo material, and more importantly, Wings. Now he’s back with a new album and a tour.
He played here in St. Paul last night and I was fortunate enough to get tickets to the sold out show. It was nothing short of amazing. The sound, production and lights weren’t really any different or more spectacular that any other major arena show. No, what made this one different, so much better, were the songs. He played over 30 songs in about 2 and a half hours, and they were all brilliant. Every single one a gem with an amazing melody and hook. I have no idea how one person wrote all those amazing songs. Admittedly, he had some help with some of them, but still…it boggles the mind. He played over 30 songs and I loved every one of them…I can’t think of another artist that could possibly do that. The kicker is, he’s got another 20 or so that I would love just as much that he didn’t play. He opened with Magical Mystery Tour, one of my favorite Beatles tracks. He also played 4 from his new album, and they stood up with the other tracks perfectly, which is a testament to just how good the new album, Chaos and Creation in the Backyard, really is. Most agree is the best thing he’s done in almost 25 years.
So this show was all about the songs. It doesn’t hurt that his band has been with him now for a number of years and they are extremely tight and great musicians. Paul’s voice still sounds great. He’s looking older all the time, but it’s amazing, when you look at him you still see this young boy that was a Beatle. He was very funny and talked and joked with the crowd a lot. I love that British sense of humor and he was definitely on last night.
With all those amazing songs, what stood out the most was the Wings material. I don’t know if it’s my personal taste, or this bands performance, or the arrangements, but those are the songs that were the strongest and most enjoyable for me. I went with a friend and he felt the same way. Paul seems to come alive a bit more on those tracks. I think those also fit into my definition of power-pop the best as well. Songs like Band on the Run and Jet were so good live. I wish everyone I know could have been there to see it.