Report by: Courtney Devores - charlotteobserver.com
Paul McCartney in Charlotte: 'Absolutely amazing'
Paul McCartney acknowledges the cheers of the crowd at Time Warner Cable Arena as he walks onto the stage to begin his Up and Coming Tour Wednesday. Photo: JEFF SINER - firstname.lastname@example.org
Anticipation was high Wednesday before Paul McCartney hit a Charlotte stage for the first time in 17 years.
Backed by only a four-piece band, McCartney hit the Time Warner Cable Arena stage around 8:20 p.m. in a snazzy pinstriped jacket and his famed violin-shaped bass guitar for the opening of "Venus and Mars," which quickly segued into "Rock Show" followed by "Jet."
Wings' bluesy "Letting Go" captured the big rock 'n' roll feel of McCartney and his band, a group of seasoned players who balanced professionalism with charisma. That was particularly true of animated drummer Abe Laboriel Jr., who clanked his cowbell, sang backup and even danced during "Dance Tonight."
"You're a great crowd already," McCartney praised, only six songs into the set.
He picked up a Les Paul for "Let Me Roll It," soloing madly through a few instrumental bars of Jimi Hendrix's "Foxy Lady" (a trick he repeated toward the end of the show during "I've Got a Feeling"). Hendrix's was the first of many tributes paid to fallen friends and loved ones, including wife Linda, for whom he played "My Love."
He played part of fellow Beatle George Harrison's "Something" (a huge crowd sing-along) on the ukulele that Harrison gave him. And he remembered John Lennon with an intimate solo acoustic rendering of "Here Today," a song McCartney wrote after Lennon's death. Later in the set, the combo of "A Day in the Life" and "Give Peace a Chance" was an even more poignant reminder of Lennon's legacy.
One fan complained of having seen him play the same songs repeatedly on this tour, but added that over 38 years and multiple shows, she's never seen him play a less than fantastic show.
For those who had never seen McCartney, or at least not since he played Raleigh in 2002, the inclusion of "Paperback Writer," the moving "Let It Be," the pyrotechnics-powered "Live and Let Die" and "Hey Jude" (played at a psychedelic piano) were essential.
At 68, McCartney proved impressive in both stamina and voice. As one police officer working the arena pointed out, he didn't rely on a bevy of backup singers.
"There are no words," said Rock Hill-based music promoter Stephanie Moore, 28, of her second McCartney show - her first was at age 11, an experience she says changed her life.
Back 17 years later and again with her parents, she beamed shortly before the show's end: "Absolutely amazing. My advice is to start saving up for next time he tours. Go see him. No matter the price."Last Updated: 07/28/10 09:21