Paul McCartney, July 25, 2017: Shows I’ll Never Forget

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Hollywood Casino Amphitheater, Tinley Park, Illinois: Playing to a sold-out crowd on July 25, 2017 at Tinley Park, Illinois’ Hollywood Casino Amphitheater, Paul McCartney proved 75 is the new 40. For three hours, McCartney tirelessly tore through samples of his Beatles, Wings, and solo material, telling stories and often joking with the audience. In addition, he treated longtime fans to lesser-known tracks, but pleased casual listeners with singalong Beatles chestnuts.

From the moment the distinctive chord from “A Hard Day’s Night” rang out, he demonstrated that his enthusiasm remains largely undimmed. Interestingly, McCartney followed that up with “Save Us” from his last release New, but immediately returned to Beatles with a rousing rendition of “Can’t Buy Me Love.” Wings fans reacted enthusiastically to the Venus and Mars rocker “Letting Go,” but other audience members seemed puzzled at one of the most polarizing songs on his current One on One tour, “Temporary Secretary.” The McCartney II song recalls Kraftwerk, but contains amusing, “love them or hate them” lyrics. He seemed to enjoy playing the more obscure song, with band members Brian Ray and Rusty Anderson grinning as they sang backup.

Parts of the setlist were familiar to those who have seen McCartney before, such as “Let Me Roll It” immediately followed by a jam of “Foxy Lady.” While “I’ve Got A Feeling” has been part of the show for some time, it still thrills with Paul McCartney’s ebullient vocals and his chemistry with Ray, Anderson, and VIP Abe Laboriel Jr. Images of throbbing speakers adorn the screens during the song, underscoring just how hard the song rocks (and owes a great debt to the blues). Other highlights include McCartney’s rollicking piano on the Band on the Run track “Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five” and his heartfelt vocals on “Blackbird.”

As a touching tribute to the recently departed George Martin, McCartney performed one of the first tracks the Beatles recorded under his tutelage: “Love Me Do.” He threw the audience back even further with “In Spite of All the Danger,” one of the earliest songs he recorded wth John Lennon and George Harrison as part of their then-group the Quarrymen. Hardcore fans identified themselves by singing along with every word. For this live version, McCartney and his band infused the song with a distinctly country flavor, emphasizing just how many genres the Beatles drew from in their music.

One of the most pleasant surprises of the show was a deeper Beatles track: “You Won’t See Me,” a Paul McCartney composition from Rubber Soul. After briefly describing his songwriting process — sometimes he begins with a lyric, other times a melody — he explained that a certain guitar riff inspired him to write the track. A humorous moment occurred as he introduced “I Wanna be Your Man,” a song he and John Lennon wrote for the Rolling Stones. As he discussed the band’s relationship with the Stones, McCartney denied the stories of intense rivalry. “Fake news,” he declared, evoking a huge laugh from the crowd.

After acknowledging that the audience generally prefers the Beatles tracks over new ones, he said “but we don’t care, we’ll play them anyway!” He then launched into two more songs from New: the title track and “Queenie Eye” (strangely accompanied by a looped section of the original music video consisting of Kate Moss dancing seductively). A unexpectedly warm reaction greeted “Four Five Seconds,” a 2015 collaboration with Rihanna and Kanye West. McCartney gamely attempted to sing both parts — he only plays guitar on the studio recording — but the guitar stood out most, along with the catchy chorus.

Social media posts have been speculating over the state of Paul McCartney’s voice. During the show, his voice did show signs of fraying, particularly on “Fool on the Hill.” Yet his weathered voice suited certain songs well, particularly on “Here Today.” His tribute to Lennon gained even more poignancy through McCartney’s vulnerable singing. His charming ode to Harrison still packed a punch; he began “Something” accompanying himself on ukulele (one of Harrison’s favorite instruments). When the entire band kicks in halfway through the song and pictures of the two Beatles flash on the screen, it’s difficult not to be deeply moved.

As he closed the night with a blistering version of “The End,” Paul McCartney appeared as energetic as at the beginning of the show. It was a history lesson and celebration, a trip through time yet a reminder of the Beatles’ lasting influence on today’s music. “We’re going to have a party tonight,” he announced at the beginning of the show, and he proved to be a singular host.

FOLLOW NICK DeRISO’S RELATED PLAYLIST

Paul McCartney’s July 25, 2017 Set List
“A Hard Day’s Night”
“Save Us”
“Can’t Buy Me Love”
“Letting Go”
“Temporary Secretary”
“Let Me Roll It” / “Foxy Lady”
“I’ve Got a Feeling”
“My Valentine”
“Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five”
“Maybe I’m Amazed”
“We Can Work It Out”
“In Spite of All the Danger”
“You Won’t See Me”
“Love Me Do”
“And I Love Her”
“Blackbird”
“Here Today”
“Queenie Eye”
“New”
“Fool on the Hill”
“Lady Madonna”
“Four Five Seconds”
“Eleanor Rigby”
“I Wanna be Your Man”
“Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!”
“Something”
“Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da”
“Band on the Run”
“Back in the USSR”
“Let It Be”
“Live and Let Die”
“Hey Jude”
Encore:
“Yesterday”
“Sgt. Pepper Reprise”
“Hi Hi Hi”
“Birthday”
“Golden Slumbers/Carry that Weight/The End”

Kit O'Toole

Kit O'Toole

Kit O'Toole is a lifelong music enthusiast who maintains a stand-alone music blog called Listen to the Band. In addition, she is the internet columnist and a contributing editor for Beatlefan magazine. She also holds an Ed.D. in Instructional Technology. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Kit O'Toole
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