Friday, June 11, 2010

Paul McCartney 27: Back In The U.S.

Following the fun he had making Driving Rain, plus the excellent response from the Concert for New York, Paul took his new band of boys on the road what would be various legs of an expensive tour. And since it had only been about ten years since his last go-round, we got a double album (and a DVD) out of it.
Back In The U.S. succeeds where Paul Is Live fails in that it’s more representative of the average setlist from the first leg of the tour. Plus, this band is so hot you don’t mind the third live appearances of “Jet”, “Let Me Roll It”, “My Love”, “Band On The Run”, “Maybe I’m Amazed”, “The Long And Winding Road” and “Yesterday”, or even the fourth “Live And Let Die”. The ‘90s and most of the ‘80s are ignored, but he does include four of the better selections from Driving Rain, plus “Vanilla Sky” from the same sessions. (Used as the title song from the Tom Cruise movie, it’s not unlike “Biker Like An Icon”, only not as good.)
He always made a big deal of performing certain Beatle tunes for the first time onstage ever, and this time it’s “Getting Better” and “Mother Nature’s Son”. (On the next leg he even added “She’s Leaving Home”, but we’re getting ahead of ourselves.) “Carry That Weight” includes most of “You Never Give Me Your Money”, plus “the bit” where he forgot the words. The “Sgt. Pepper” reprise goes neatly into “The End”, but the best portion occurs at the end of the first disc: “Here Today” on acoustic for John, followed by “Something” on ukulele for George.
Another in a string of very satisfying listens, Back In The U.S. continued to establish Paul’s hold on the public consciousness as the ambassador Beatle and keeper of the flame. Any doubt as his right to the title is dispelled by the sound of the crowd singing along with every word and the photos of their adoring, misty eyes. (Just because he’s Paul, he decided to release a modified version of this collection called Back In The World everywhere else but the Western Hemisphere, with some differences: “Every Night”, “Vanilla Sky”, “C Moon” and “Freedom” were replaced with “Calico Skies”, “Michelle”, “Let ‘Em In” and “She’s Leaving Home”. A new recording of “Hey Jude”, recorded in Mexico, was also used in place of the U.S. version.)

Paul McCartney Back In The U.S. (2002)—4


  1. Full disclosure: I saw his Hartford, CT concert from slightly obstructed seats somewhat behind stage right, with a direct view of the front row of the crowd, and the people sitting in the exclusive chairs in front of the barricade. Among them was Paul’s then-wife Heather Mills, who was the only person in the arena who didn’t know the words to “Can’t Buy Me Love”.

  2. More disclosure: wardo graciously accompanied his mother to that concert, who enjoyed it immensely, even better than the 2005 concert in Denver where she could actually see the whole stage. I think it was because the sound system in Hartford didn't blast as loudly into the side angles as much as out front in Denver--where you really couldn't understand the words to songs you didn't already know.

  3. I saw him at Madison Square Garden in New York on this tour. This was my first time attending one of his concerts. My sister and I managed to get floor seats. All I can say is the man sure knows how to put on a show...although the circus performers (or whatever they were) who ran up and down the aisles before the concert started were a bit peculiar. Once the music started, I don't think I caught my breath for the next two and a half hours. There seemed to be such joy from up on the stage and throughout the audience. It really was a great show.


  4. Indeed. I've heard people (granted, non-Beatlemaniacs) scoff at the idea of seeing him, and they don't know what they're missing. He's up there for close to three hours, and it's THE BAND that takes a break halfway through.