This is a guest article by John Cherry, author of two books about Paul McCartney. – Simon

Bankers Life Fieldhouse Indianapolis, In.

Flying from Sarasota, FL to Indianapolis, I finally had the opportunity to review the program for the “Out There” tour of Paul McCartney and band. In the latter part of the publication, there is a selection of reviews from previous McCartney shows. Since this is my fifth review of this tour, I was curious to see how others had felt about the performances. Not surprisingly, the words were extremely positive, such as one from the “Riverfront Times in St. Louis that read “For many people in the audience this was more of a pilgrimage than a concert…less like a rock concert than the worlds greatest rock history musical…the band is perfect…tears were shed, cross-generational bonding was had and everyone had a good time singing…No one can fill the world so full of silly love songs as Paul McCartney.”

My reviews of the four previous shows I had attended on the tour had also been quite complimentary, while also acknowledging various facets of the show, such as the makeup of the crowd and its response to the performance.

Arriving at the arena in downtown Indianapolis, I had the feeling there would be an enthusiastic crowd, if nothing else based on the ultra-high prices of tickets on the re-sale market. A large sign of the signature “Out There” picture of Paul greeted fans at a main entrance to the arena. I chose to skip the DJ led pre-concert music, opting to have a drink with my female companion, along with a sandwich and fries. It’s always fun to peruse the crowds at Paul’s concerts. One quick surprise was three people together, all wearing t-shirts with the inscription “Still Pissed at Yoko.” Since I had a magnetic button with the same words on it, I was quite enthralled with the trio. But, I was not alone, as others rushed to ask the trio for a group picture. You can read more about Yoko in my book, “Better Than Lennon-The Music and Talent of Paul McCartney.” Order at betterthanlennon.com.

After walking down to our excellent seats acquired via a long-time friend in the ticket business, the video screens began showing the pre-show pictures and video, along with music such as “With a Little Luck,” and “Beautiful Night” from Paul’s solo career. Future songs for future tours? I hope so. The crowd was already showing signs of excitement with loud applause at the start of the 20 minute presentation.

As the screen faded into the shape of the famous Hofner bass, Paul and the band stepped onto the stage to a thunderous greeting.  Paul seemed to instantly grasp that he had an enthusiastic crowd before him. Opening again with “Eight Days a Week,” Paul was adorned in a long, dark jacket that reached just a couple of inches above his knees. A loud applause greeted the end of the first song, and the crowd continued to stand through “Juniors Farm,” which had guitarist Rusty Anderson jumping around on the stage. Paul then tells the crowd “going to have a party” and “good to be back.” Brian Ray took over lead guitar for “All My Loving,” after which Paul took the customary “drink it in moment,” and telling the crowd these events were cool. “Listen to What the Man Said,” was announced for the “Wingsters,” as the former number one hit for Wings had Paul telling Paul “Wix” Wickens to “take it away Wixie” during the solo simulating a saxophone.

Most of the crowd continued to stand after the song, as Paul removed his jacket and switched from bass to guitar before counting in “Let Me Roll It.” Paul was deeply into the song, and the entire crowd in the floor seats stood after the song, which also had Paul turn to drummer Abe Laboriel, Jr. as he led the band into the post-song snippet of “Foxy Lady.” He again saluted Jimi Hendrix after the song, and also thanked the crowd for the “brilliant welcome.”

Moving to the guitar he used to originally record the song, Paul launched into “Paperback Writer,” as Brian moved to bass. Paul had a lengthy guitar solo on the extended version of the song, which sped up at the end, and then finished with Paul using his guitar to create feedback by standing in front of one of the amplifiers.

Moving to the piano, as the crowd finally sat down, Paul told of the birth of the song “My Valentine,” a tribute to his wife, as he said “this one’s for you, Nancy.” The piano seemed to be moved forward in the mix, which added to the fullness of the sound on this song and many others.  There was a vocal lapse, as Paul repeated the line “she’ll be there” late in the song.

As I wrote in my second book about Paul, “Paul McCartney’s Solo Music Career 1970-2010,” the song “Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five” was a great choice to be performed by Paul, and this night was no exception. This got the crowd up again, and they continued to stand through “The Long and Winding Road.” For much of the next song, announced by Paul as for Linda, his late wife, Wix egged Paul on and even mocked him during “Maybe I’m Amazed.” Near the end of the song, one of the video screens went dark, as Paul again acknowledged the “great crowd.”

Based on previous concerts, I was a bit surprised to hear the crowd substantially sing along with “I’ve Just Seen a Face,” after which Paul said “told you we were going to have a party tonight.”

For “We Can Work it Out,” Abe plays the drums with one hand and the tambourine with the other, as “Wix” plays the accordion. Before “Another Day,” Paul notes it is the first time the song has been performed in Indiana, as he moves to the 12 string guitar. There is a bit of a sing along, unlike other sites where the song was met with less of a response. Following the song, Paul talks about the signs in the crowd and how they can become a distraction when you are on stage.  He notes two particular signs, one that reads “We stole your goat joke,” which Paul does not understand, and the other reading “Please sign my butt,” whereupon Paul replies kiddingly, “let’s have a look.” The signs are shown on the video screen.

“And I Love Her” brings a gasp from the crowd, and the song sounds much like it did from the 60’s, including the clicking sound created by “Wix.” The ending brought strong applause as Paul looked at more signs.

As Paul stepped forward on the stage, he noted a story he tells on tour about the genesis of the song “Blackbird,” and his observation of the civil rights in the U.S. at the time. The stage rises as the song begins, where later in the song Paul loses his place on the guitar, and almost has to stop to fix the errant playing. This was a bit ironic when Paul asked the crowd after the song whether any of them had tried to learn the song, which brought a significant reply. Paul replied that it was “pretty cool for me.”

Before “Here Today,” Paul told the crowd that people often put off saying something nice to someone before losing them, noting that the words of his song were a conversation that he wished he had exchanged with John Lennon. The applause was loud for Paul’s salute to John, although not as strong as the prior shows I attended.

Moving back to the “magical piano,” the band plays “Your Mother Should Know,” a song that quiets down the crowd a bit. The excitement returns for “Lady Madonna,” which again has Paul in strong voice. For “All Together Now,” “Wix” is on harmonica, and the song receives a hefty response.

Again noting a song that has not been played before the present tour with “Lovely Rita,” Paul first asks the crowd how they are doing, starting in the upper back seating of the arena, then around all of the seating. In every case, the crowd roars its approval. “Wix” moves to the kazoo for the song. After the song, Paul leads the crowd in echoing his cheers and noises. Another sing along in “Mrs. Vandebilt” is next, as Paul asks the crowd before the song to join in what is the “ho hey ho, ho hey, ho” segment. At the end of the song, Paul points to Rusty Anderson for his guitar performance, and then tells the crowd of his experience in playing the song initially in the Ukraine.

“Eleanor Rigby,” where “Wix” plays the backing portion, Paul plays acoustic guitar, and Rusty and Abe do backing vocals (Brian is absent) also creates a crowd sing a long.  Before announcing “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite,” Paul notes it is part of the Sgt. Pepper album. There is a slight lyrical twitch, as Paul repeats one line in the latter part of the song. Before moving to the next song, Paul holds up his famous Hofner bass and points to it, bringing a roar of affirmation from the spectators.

Now holding his ukulele, Paul tells the crowd about George Harrison’s affinity for the instrument. The acknowledgement of George brings an extensive standing ovation from the fans, the most significant one I have heard at a show. Paul starts “Something” with just the ukulele, but the band slowly joins in and then goes to full instrumentation for the second half of the song. I have come to enjoy the many pictures shown of George and Paul during the song, especially of those from the Beatles recording sessions. After the song that received an extensive standing ovation, Paul turns to view a large picture of George on the video screen.

The piano opening of “Ob La Di, Oh La Da” keeps the crowd on their feet, and they also supply a sing along portion as requested by Paul. He thanks them with his own applause after the song. “Band on the Run” keeps the fans enthused, as does “Back in the U.S.S.R.,” which concludes with a strong finish and Paul giving Abe a “high five.” Paul relates his usual story of meeting Russian officials after the song as he moves to the piano to start “Let it Be.” This was the first song that brought out a number of lights from the crowd, and the upper deck lights add a sense of beauty to the song.

The frenzy of fireworks and explosions that make up “Live and Let Die,” greatly excites the crowd, and the song had Brian spinning in circles and Rusty falling down on the stage at the conclusion. Before the last set of explosions, Paul stands up while he is playing the piano.  As he walks down to the “magical piano,” Paul gestures with his fingers in his ears and hands on his heart as a response to the end of the song.  With a big smile prior to it, Paul starts into “Hey Jude,” one of the biggest sing alongs on the evening and the initial conclusion to the show. Paul and the band exit to the roar of the crowd, and while I await the first encore I decide to note more of the signs in the stands, such as “Can I sing a song w/u?” “I Want to Hold Your Hofner,” and “Hug a Hoosier.”

In unison, the crowd is standing as the band returns to the stage, with Paul blowing kisses in numerous directions. He has returned with a big U.S. flag, “Wix” has the U.K. flag, and Brian holds the Indiana state flag.

Paul asks the crowd “I take it you’d like some more?” which is received affirmatively. “Day Tripper” has a louder tambourine played by “Wix,” as the crowd joins in on the lyrics.  After the song, Paul says “You like to rock it in Indiana,” followed by “let’s get high on life,” which leads into the song “Hi, Hi, Hi.” Oddly, this song does not receive the response it did from my previous shows. But, that was short-lived as everyone seemingly joins in for “I Saw Her Standing There.” The first encore ends with the band bowing and then jumping.

Paul returns, pushed by “Wix,” to a lovely sea of lights within the crowd to perform “Yesterday.” The crowd is so responsive that Paul gives them a long bow, and he seemed genuinely moved by their reaction. I see the joy in the crowd, from the pair of late 20’s males across the aisle from me to the older Mom and daughter behind me.

Paul tells the crowd “I’m getting the idea that you want to keep rocking,” followed by “you asked for it,” as the band launches into the rollicking “Helter Skelter” that concludes with a lengthy and impressive yell from Paul. Before the last medley of songs, Paul tells the crowd they were fantastic and “really welcomed us to Indiana.”

After the opening portion of “Golden Slumbers” and “Carry That Weight,” Paul joins Rusty at the microphone for the “love you” lyric, followed by the trading of guitar solos among Paul, Rusty and Brian. Paul nudges Brian to watch his last solo as he moves up front, and “The End” is completed with another strong yell from Paul.

The end of the show at about 11:15 PM brings Paul to the microphone to again tell the crowd they were fantastic, and, most importantly, “we’ll see you next time.” Terrific show; maybe an even better crowd.

John Cherry is the author of two books about Paul McCartney, “Better Than Lennon-The Music and Talent of Paul McCartney,” and “Paul McCartney’s Solo Music Career 1970-2010.” They are available at betterthanlennon.com with bonuses included, and additionally at Amazon.com.

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