Live review: Paul McCartney – Liverpool Sound Concert – Anfield Stadium (1st June 2008)

To celebrate Liverpool’s year as the European Capital of Culture, Paul McCartney played a spectacular one off show at the city’s famous Anfield Stadium.

Liverpool’s year as the European Capital of Culture began in January 2008, and it was marked by a rooftop concert from former Beatle Ringo Starr. Many other events were planned to celebrate the prestigious award, and The Liverpool Sound Concert was one of the most anticipated events of the year.

To add to the anticipation, in the weeks leading up to the concert two support acts were added: Local band The Zutons and the indie rock band the Kaiser Chiefs. In addition to the support acts it was announced that there would be a special guest appearing alongside Paul McCartney, sparking rumours of a reunion between him and former band mate Ringo Starr.

Paul and the band soundchecked the stadium twice: once the day before the show and then again on the day of the show.

Soundcheck (31/05/2008)

Matchbox
Honey Don’t
Let Me Roll It
Coming Up
Get Back
In Liverpool
Midnight Special
San Francisco Bay
Calico Skies
Celebration
C Moon
Lady Madonna
Something
Dance Tonight
Yesterday

Soundcheck (01/06/2008)

Matchbox
Honey Don’t
Let Me Roll It
Coming Up
Band on the Run
Back in the USSR
Midnight Special
San Francisco Bay
Celebration
C Moon
Lady Madonna

The day of the show brought the usual bad British weather. The thick black clouds hung overhead and the heavens opened and remained open for a large portion of the day, drenching the crowd. The rain however did nothing to dampen their spirits.

As the 36,000 strong audience were let into the stadium they were treated to their first glimpse of the huge stage. It covered the two-tier Anfield Road stand and atop the massive structure was the name of the city spelt out in giant letters.

In the packed out stadium there were many celebrities, including Paul’s daughter Stella McCartney, Liverpool FC manager Rafael Benitez, former Liverpool FC manager Kenny Dalglish and local born footballer Wayne Rooney and fiancée Coleen McLoughlin. Also in attendance were John Lennon’s widow Yoko Ono and George Harrison’s widow Olivia Harrison.

The first warm-up act was the local Liverpool band the Zutons. While their more popular songs received a generally warm welcome, a large percentage of the audience paid the band little attention during their short set, politely clapping as each song finished. While they put on a good show that would have no doubt pleased a crowd full of Zutons fans, they were unfortunately playing to an audience that had no real interest in seeing them.

Zutons setlist

Zuton Fever
Don’t Ever Think
Why Won’t You Give Me Your Love?
Pressure Point
What’s Your Problem
Confusion
Valerie
Dirty Dancehall
Always Right Behind You
You Will You Won’t

Up next was a band that received a much warmer welcome: the Kaiser Chiefs. The band was already well established in the music scene, and
the type of music was much more akin to what the crowd had turned up to hear. Lead singer Ricky Wilson threw himself around the stage singing his heart out and really warming the crowd up for the headline act. The band interacted with the audience and had the majority up and dancing and singing by the end of their dynamic set. They did a mix of songs from their first two albums Employment and Yours Truly, Angry Mob as well as a sneaky peek into their soon to be released third album Off With Their Heads.

Kaiser Chiefs setlist

Everything Is Average Nowadays
Everyday I Love You Less and Less
Heat Dies Down
Ruby
Never Miss a Beat
Modern Way
Half the Truth
Na Na Na Na Naa
I Predict a Riot
You Want History
The Angry Mob
Take My Temperature
Oh My God

Finally it was time for the man that everyone had come to see: Sir Paul McCartney. The crew hastily rearranged the stage (and brought out a second set of drums-cue the crowd chanting ‘Ringo, Ringo’) as Bolton comedian Peter Kay stepped out to announce Macca. Peter had the crowd laughing within seconds of taking to the stage, poking fun at the headline act and making jokes that only one of the funniest most adored comedians in Britain could get away with.

Finally Paul McCartney confidently marched onto the stage, followed by his finely tuned band consisting of guitarists Rusty Anderson, and Brian Ray, drummer Abe Laboriel Jr, and keyboardist Paul ‘Wix’ Wickens.

Without saying a word Paul launched into an unusual opening song: a rocking rendition of Chan Romero’s 1959 hit Hippy Hippy Shake. Next came the classic Wings rocker Jet, and from that point onwards he blew that audience away. Constantly switching between bass, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, piano and even mandolin and ukulele, Paul took the audience on a magical mystery tour of his extensive back catalogue.

Paul played and sang for around 2 hours without taking a break or even having a sip of water, and it was evident he was enjoying being there just as much as the audience was.

A highlight of the evening was a touching tribute to George Harrison in the form of the Abbey Road ballad Something. The song started with Paul on his own playing the ukulele (one of George’s favourite instruments) before the whole band joined in. The emotional audiences singing nearly drowned out the sound of the band.

Also as a tribute to John Lennon, Paul unexpectedly performed an old song for the very first time: the epic A Day in the Life from the 1967 album Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. While starting off relatively subdued, the song builds up in a ‘musical orgasm’ before segueing with John Lennon’s anthemic Give Peace a Chance.

The promised special guest was (unfortunately for some) not Ringo Starr, but Foo Fighters front man Dave Grohl, who joined Paul on stage to play guitar on the 1973 song Band on the Run. He then moved to the second set of drums to trash along to the Beatles rocker Back in the USSR. Dave once again returned to the stage for the final encore to play drums on I Saw Her Standing There.

As Paul, Dave and the band took their bows and slowly left the stage, the sky was lit up with a spectacular fireworks display, lasting for around 15 minutes. It was an explosive and magical way to bring an equally explosive and magical night to a close.

Paul McCartney setlist

Hippy Hippy Shake
Jet
Drive My Car
Flaming Pie
Got to Get You Into My Life
Let Me Roll It
My Love
C Moon
The Long and Winding Road
Dance Tonight
Blackbird
Calico Skies
In Liverpool
I’ll Follow the Sun
Eleanor Rigby
Something
Penny Lane
Band on the Run
Back in the USSR
Live and Let Die
Let It Be
Hey Jude
Yesterday
A Day in the Life / Give Peace a Chance
Lady Madonna
I Saw Her Standing There

Tagged , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: