This is a guest post by author John Cherry. His new book Better Then Lennon has caused a great deal of disturbance in â€˜the forceâ€™. You can read my review here, and if you are a Beatles fan you can listen in to our fascinating recent round table on discussing the age old question of who was the better musician, John Lennon or Paul McCartney – Simon
On the final stop of his U.S. portion of the â€œUp and Coming Tour,â€ Paul McCartney enjoyed another trip to Miami to perform to a near capacity crowd at Sun Life Stadium.
On a cloudless, comfortable night, the show did not start until around 8:30, apparently due to the late arriving crowd that had faced some parking challenges. Wearing a black jacket with slanted red stripes, Paul led the band into the show with â€œVenus & Mars/Rock Show,â€ playing an abbreviated version of the latter to lead into â€œJet.â€ After â€œJet,â€ Paul started into â€œAll My Loving.â€ Brian Ray took over the lead guitar role from Rusty Anderson as scenes from the movie â€œA Hard Dayâ€™s Nightâ€ played in the background.
Next came â€œLetting Go,â€ a well-received rendition as Brian continued on lead guitar. Backed by Beatles Rock band video of the song in the background was â€œGot to Get You into my Life,â€ followed by Paul taking a moment to â€œdrink it all inâ€ from the crowd.Â He also thanked the crowd for their welcome and harked back to his initial trip to Miami as a Beatle for the Ed Sullivan Show taping for the February 16, 1964 show. â€œHighway,â€ a song from Paulâ€™s last CD, â€œElectric Argumentsâ€ came next. A return to the â€œBand of the Runâ€ brought â€œLet Me Roll It,â€ as Rusty and Paul took shots at the lead guitar for the â€œFoxy Ladyâ€ postlude added to the song.
Back to the piano, Paul dedicated the â€œFoxy Ladyâ€ finish to Jimi Hendrix, and then spoke of his admiration of Hendrix. Pictures of Sonoran Arizona desert scenes highlighted the background as the band performed a crisp arrangement of â€œThe Long & Winding Road,â€ a performance that sounded much like the 1976 live cut from the â€œWings Over Americaâ€ triple album. Prior to introducing the next â€œnewâ€ song for U.S. audiences, Paul referenced it as a â€œWingsâ€ song and flashed the familiar Wings sign by touching the ends of his thumbs with his hands spread out.â€œNineteen Hundred and Eighty-Fiveâ€ was a strong crowd favorite and played close to original form, with a shorter extended ending.
â€œLet â€œEm Inâ€ followed, as drummer Abe Laboriel Jr. and Paul shared the harmonies. As he has done in previous shows, Paul dedicated then â€œMy Loveâ€ to Linda and â€œAll the lovers in the audience.â€ Returning to his acoustic guitar, another new song to the U.S. shows was played with The Beatlesâ€™ â€œIâ€™m Looking Through You,â€ an effective performance. Another U.S. newbie, â€œTwo of Us,â€ from the â€œLet it Beâ€ album followed, and was the first Beatle song of the night in my mind that did not match the quality of the original release. John Lennonâ€™s harmonies in the song proved quite difficult to duplicate by drummer Abe Laboriel, Jr.
In introducing â€œBlackbird,â€ Paul told a story about the song being written about the civil rights struggles of the â€˜60â€™s, specifically mentioning Little Rock, Arkansas. As in other U.S. shows, what looked like a moon slowly descended down to stop above Paul by the end of the song. The moon stayed in place as Paul expressed his feelings about writing â€œHere Today,â€ calling it â€œwhat he wanted to say to John before he passed away.â€
To Paulâ€™s right, a model of earth lit up and started to descend before stopping abruptly, and then fading out. Moving from acoustic guitar to the mandolin, Paul did â€œDance Tonight.â€ Returning to the guitar â€œMrs. Vanderbiltâ€ was next, and the crowd and the band bounced up and down, and finished with an emphatic â€œHo-Hey-Hoâ€ â€œEleanor Rigby,â€ called â€œsimply lovelyâ€ in the review by the â€œMiami Herald,â€ was a bit slower than normal.
Before beginning a tribute to George Harrison, Paul talked in depth about Georgeâ€™s affection for the ukulele. Noting that he told George he had learned â€œSomethingâ€ on the instrument, Paul started the song solo before it was completed it by the full band. The song was a real crowd pleaser, and a significant sing along.Â For â€œSing the Changes,â€ images of President Obama outlined the background in various colors.Â While this is a great song, I enjoy the studio version better, much like Paulâ€™s 1989 song â€œMy Brave Face.â€
A video of the shooting of the album cover for the title song â€œBand on the Runâ€ played behind the band for crowd pleasing performance. Announcing another â€œfirstâ€ on the U.S. Tour, Paul was out front for â€œOb-la-di, Ob-la-daâ€, which was a definite crowd favorite. Ironically, this is a song that was not well-liked by the other Beatles, accented by the numerous takes requested by Paul before its completed form. â€œBack in the USSRâ€ followed, another strong performance and crowd favorite. â€œIâ€™ve Got a Feelingâ€ added an extra speedy, rocking ending with Paul on lead guitar and repeating the title several times.
Before starting â€œPaperback Writer,â€ Paul talked about his Epiphone guitar. The song was a bit faster in the middle. Another tribute to John, â€œA Day in the Life/Give Peace a Chanceâ€ was well done and well-received, and Paul applauded the crowd for their participation.
Back at the piano, Paul started into â€œLet it Be,â€ and apparently stumbled briefly on some lyrics.
I have to state that â€œLive and Let Dieâ€ this night was perhaps the best of the many I have seen since 1976. After the final pyrotechnics blast, Paul stood by his piano, patting his heart, shaking his head, and putting his fingers in his ears, followed by some laughing. â€œHey Judeâ€ came next, and the crowd started the sing along from the start. After a bow from the band, the first encore began with an edgy, effective â€œDay Tripper.â€Â New blue and white lights lit the background for â€œLady Madonna.â€ At the end of the next song, â€œGet Back,â€ Paul took a prolonged look at keyboard player Wix, apparently saying â€œthe Bluesâ€ to him to note his part in the song.
After another break, the second encore began with â€œYesterday,â€ mostly drowned out by a sing along. A strong, edgy â€œHelter Skelterâ€ followed, backed by a video of a roller coaster.Â â€œSgt. Pepper-Repriseâ€ and â€œThe Endâ€ concluded the show in near-perfect form, with Paul giving an extra long â€œYEAHâ€ at the end of the show, followed by the comforting â€œSee You Next Time.â€ I continue to be astonished that Paulâ€™s shows continue to get better and his endurance appears to be increasing as well. I look forward to the American return of the present â€œUp and Coming Tourâ€ that will now move overseas.