Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Paul McCartney - Good Evening New York City

Paul McCartney
‘Good Evening New York City’
(Mercury Records)

PAUL MCCARTNEY is back with his sixth solo album - eighth if you include and “official” bootleg and Wings Over America - the first ever concert recorded in the brand new Citi Field stadium in Queens, New York, opposite Shea Stadium. The latter memorably played host to one of the most famous Beatles’ concerts of their day 44 years ago, when 55,000 fans broke attendance records of the day to see the Fab Four.
On that occasion, the Beatles played for just half an hour and couldn’t hear themselves over the screaming fans that eventually led them to lock themselves away for the latter stages of their career.
On this occasion however, McCartney played for well over two hours, clocking 33 tracks and, while the screams can be heard, so too can McCartney.
And that fact is the most immediately apparent about this live album; you can hear Macca sing, and boy can he still hold a note.
From the opening buzz of ‘Drive My Car’, it is clear that McCartney has still got it, and then some.
He delves into his own Wings/solo back catalogue more often than not on the first of this two CD collection; interestingly ‘Jet’, from the Wings’ Band on the Run album, takes track two in this set-list, as it did on McCartney’s 2003 ‘Back in the World’ live album.
But the sound is all important here, and drastically improves on that previous live album.
McCartney’s voice sounds warm and full, rarely if ever cracking, while his superb band easily recreate some of that old Beatles magic, which indeed makes up more than half of the tracks on offer here.
A soaring ‘Eleanor Rigby’ is the pick of the tracks on the first CD, while a thumping ‘Back in the USSR’ opens CD two.
In fact, track two of the second CD, ‘I’m Down’ - first released as a B-side to ‘Help’ - also formed part of the Beatles setlist in Shea Stadium in 1965. On that occasion, Lennon played the keyboard with his elbows while his bandmates laughed at the ridiculousness of not being able to hear a single note that they played.
A previously unresurrected ‘Day Tripper’ and McCartney singing both vocals on the seminal ‘Day in the Life’ are show stopping moments, as is a Billy Joel duet on the bouncy ‘I Saw Her Standing There’.
McCartney finishes with ‘Sgt Peppers/The End’, as he did on his previous live album, but there is an added poignancy to the screams that rapturously receive the closing tracks here.


No comments: