Just got back this morning from the Miami show. With less than 3 hours sleep I am wide awake and already beginning to feel those post concert blues
Let me just say that the band was in top gear last night. I know everyone is raving about this band and it is much deserved. There were many parts of the show where I found myself getting lost in Abe's beat or one of Rusty's solos only to be pulled out of it and go "wait a minute! I should be watching Paul!" It takes some real talent to take my attention away from Paul, and these guys have it. This is the best band he has played with since those three other guys
It occurred to me last night why everyone always has nothing but good things to say, and that's because these guys aren't just 4 guys playing with Paul. No, these 5 guys are a BAND and not just a bunch of guns for hire backing a musical legend. It feels like these guys have always played together. I could go on and on about how great they were, but I think we all know how great they are.
Anyway, enough of my praise for Brian, Rusty, Abe & Wix. On to the show....
As I mentioned they sounded great. The songs were tight, the vocals were great and the set list is the best I've heard Paul do in his post-Wings days. Even though I knew he would most likely open with Venus & Mars/Rockshow, it was none the less spellbinding. Here was an opener I never thought I'd hear outside of the Rockshow concert film and a few concert bootlegs. The segway into Jet was seemless and it was hard to believe these songs didn't come off the same album and flow like this always.
Everyone has seen the setlist, so I'll spare them a play-by-play analysis and just highlight a few things. Letting Go was another song my ears nver thought they would hear for themselves in person and the little jam towards the end was just the first of many times my attention wandered from Paul to Rusty & Brian. These guys have talent by the truckload. The next new addition is one of my personal faves and had my jaw on the floor... Nineteen Hundred And Eighty Five. I've always said this is one of Paul's best live songs and he proved me right. Too bad the audience didn't really seem that into it (I"ll get to the audience in a minute). Let 'Em In was fun and even though its never been one of my favorites, I was surprised how glad I was to hear it. I'm Looking Through You also sounded great. It had me wondering, why hasn't he always done this song in concert? And Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da was certainly one of the highlights as it had the crowd on its feet, dancing and singing along in a noise that rivaled the Hey Jude sing along. Again, making me wonder, why he hasn't always had this as part of his set list.
Now on to some of the songs that we're use to or he played last year.
Dance Tonight was fun and his voice sounded great, but I couldn't help but feel this song would come across better in an arena. The stadium crowd didn't seem that interested. And not just the usual disinterest they show when he played a non-Beatle song. The audience was eerily quiet during this song.
Sing the Changes has to be one of the best live songs Paul has ever written. This was one of the few non-Beatle, non-Wings songs that the audience went crazy for. And last night I fell in love with this song all over again, like the first time I heard it coming out of my speakers.
All the standards were great. Paul's voice didn't miss a note from what I can remember, and none of them (with one exception) came across as if he was just going through the motions. Every song had the feel of it being something new and not a song he had sung hundreds of times before. The one exception was Yesterday. I had to ask myself if Paul was getting tired of his best known song? This was the only song he didn't seem enthusiastic about and felt like he was rushing through it.
What else can I say that anyone hasn't already said before. Its hard to believe he'll be 68 this year. He still plays with the vigor of a musician in his twenties. And unlike so many other artist of his age or even many 30 or 40 years younger, he never came across as a parody of himself. We weren't just watching a living legend. We were watching a performer still in the game and still playing music that sounded fresh.
Now, the only bad thing I have to say is to the crowd, and that is WAKE UP MIAMI! Sheesh, what is wrong with the Miami crowd?! I've always said Miami crowds are some of the most unenthusiastic. They often seem to be there to socialize and get wasted. Many times I looked down the rows and saw people sitting down, leaning on each other looking like they were about to vomit or pass out. There were whole sections of the audience that remained seated during a good 2/3 of the show and watch with a hazy-drunken disregard. People were actually talking to one another and turned around not facing the stage. And what is up with the whole taking pictures of yourself all through the concert. Wouldn't it make more sense to take a picture of the actual show? There is a reason I try to avoid going to Miami for shows, and last night just reconfirmed those reasons. This isn't to say the whole audience was like this, but it was enough of the audience to notice, and as I said it is the same experience I have had with every Miami audience over the past 10 years.
The concert had the potential to be one of the best ever. And Paul and the boys gave it there all. But there is something to be said about crowd energy that adds to the experience. It was not until he played Something that the audience really woke up. Something had one of the best reactions during the show and from this point forward the entire audience was on their feet and became an audience worthy of Macca. From that point forward the show changed (again amazing what crowd energy does) and this became one of the best Paul experiences I've had.
I can't really say whether I enjoyed last year's stint or this year's the best. If the audiences had been switched it is very possible he would have topped last year.
One final note. As I've said in other posts, it never ceases to amaze me how the under twenty crowd reacts to these songs. These kids always get more into the song than the adults they come with. I love seeing how kids react to this music. It reminds me how great it truly is, that it transcends all generational barriers. It warms my heart to know that the love of this music continues to reach new generations. This may all sound cliche and is certainly nothing no one here has not heard before, but I think it is that important that it needs to be mentioned. Just as this music had touched me when I was younger (still after the beatles) it was touching these kids in just the same way. It brought beck fond memories of my first introduction o this music and made me feel like it was my first time all over again. After the show one young man mentioned he was not familiar with about half of the setlist, but he was going home and downloading his Wings and solo stuff after this (not sure if he meant legally or not though). My only fear is how many more kids would be able to experience this for themselves? How long can Paul keep this up at this level? I have learned not to count Paul out. As I am sure 20 years ago I never would have thought Paul would still be performing at this level. this only goes to confirm my original theory... Paul is not human. No one can be this brilliant or have this much energy.
I've rambled enough. I'll post some pics once I sort through them all.