Culture

Paul still not too old to rock

It was an unforgettable scene. An arena packed with thousands of screaming fans singing along to the sound of the guitar, the beat of the drums and the vocals of a legend. Just another rock concert? Think again.

Hitting the road again after a three year touring break, former Beatle and rock ‘n’ roll hall of famer Sir Paul McCartney proved yet again that he can blow his audience away. He did just that last Friday night at the American Airlines Arena, where he kicked off of his “Us” tour.

The world could see from afar that McCartney was nowhere near retirement from his spectacular Super Bowl and Live 8 performances. But this was not a three-song gig-this was a three-hour concert and with every song McCartney, his band and the crowd got more and more into the show.

It would be hard for some to believe that a man of 63 years could still belt out songs, even screamers like “Helter Skelter,” with almost the same exact precision he did 30 to 40 years ago. One would think that his vocals would not be as good as they were for his “Back in the US” tour in 2002, but they, and the entire show for that matter, even outdid a 60-year old McCartney.

He very appropriately commenced the performance with a robust version of “Magical Mystery Tour.” He kept the tone upbeat for a few songs before playing the beloved ballads for which he has received much acclaim for as a musician.

With a repertoire of songs spanning 45 years, including his new album Chaos and Creation in the Backyard, Sir Paul had a plethora to choose from his years with The Beatles, with Wings and as a solo artist. From “Please Please Me” to “Back in the USSR” to the heart-stopping “Live and Let Die,” he executed a truly spectacular and unforgettable concert that relentlessly brought the fans to their feet dancing.

Alternating between the upbeat rock ‘n’ roll songs and the softer classics, for instance “Hey Jude,” “Yesterday” and “Let It Be,” McCartney constantly pleased the ripe audience that grew up listening to these masterpieces.

As a seasoned performer, McCartney energized the audience by walking offstage several times, which engendered deafening cheers from the crowd that did not want him to leave. But the feigning act, and the concert, eventually came to a conclusion with the reprise version of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” which he blended into Abbey Road’s finale, “The End.”

Surely everyone left the arena in awe of the masterpiece they had just witnessed, which reaffirmed that Paul McCartney remains as one of the best musicians ever.

Greg Linch can be contacted at g.linch@umiami.edu.

September 23, 2005

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