Live review: Paul McCartney – Out There tour – Barclays Center, NY (8th June 2013)

Paul McCartney’s brand new out there tour promised to get the former Wings frontman and his freshly overhauled setlist to places not visited in recent years, and as the world famous musician hits the age of 71 he shows no sign of losing any momentum or enthusiasm for what he does.

The tour visited cities rarely played to (including Warsaw, Vienna and Verona), a couple of giant festivals (Bonnaroo and Outside Lands) and a handful of the old tried and tested places (such as Austin, New York and Orlando).

Being only a stones throw from one of the busiest cities in the world, New York City, the Barclays Center is one of Brooklyn’s newest venues. The packed house was sprinkled with celebrities and VIP’s, including director Martin Scorsese, comedian and actor Paul Rudd, actress Cameron Diaz and Paul’s fashion designer daughter Stella McCartney.

Despite the less than perfect weather, fans from far and wide descended upon the Barclays Center, and as they waited for the doors to open they were treated to the sound of Paul and the band soundchecking the arena, playing many songs that did not make it into the main show:

Soundcheck

Twenty Flight Rock
Blue Suede Shoes
Coming Up
Birthday
C Moon
Don’t Let The Sun Catch You Crying
San Francisco Bay Blues
Sun Is Shining
Every Night
Leaning On A Lamppost
Ram On
Midnight Special
Bluebird
Yesterday
Lady Madonna

Only moments after the band had completed their soundcheck and stepped off of the stage, the eager audience were allowed to file into the vast space bathed in atmospheric blue lights.

As has become the norm with Macca’s recent tours, there was no warm up act. Instead DJ Chris Holmes played a half an hour set consisting of neat mash ups of various Beatles and McCartney songs while people were steadily making their way into the arena. As has also become the norm, the vast majority of people didn’t even notice the DJ booth on the stage. Still, it provided a nice start to the evenings events.

The collage finally drew to a close during and as the final strains of Booker T & the MGs cover of The Beatles’ 1969 song The End, the lights went down, and the spotlights blazed into life as Sir Paul McCartney stepped onto the mammoth stage in front of the ecstatic New York crowd. He was closely followed by his current touring band: guitarists Rusty Anderson and Brian Ray, drummer Abe Laboriel Jr, and keyboardist Paul ‘Wix’ Wickens.

Opening with Eight Days A Week, the first half of the setlist was sprinkled with Wings gems, showing that Macca does still embrace the post-Beatles portion of his music career. Junior’s Farm, Listen To What The Man Said and Nineteen Hundred And Eighty Five all went down a storm, despite being relatively obscure tracks.

The second half of the setlist remains, much like previous tours, very Beatles heavy. While repeat customers may tire of some songs, the reasons behind him keeping certain songs in the show is understandable. First time McCartney concert goers would no doubt be crestfallen not to hear such classics as Yesterday, Let It Be and the resounding, universal singalong Hey Jude.

That is not to say that even in the relatively static second half there aren’t one or two surprises sprinkled in: The Beatles’ Being For The Benefit Of Mr Kite! is a song handled by John Lennon, however the whirlwind, circus-like feel of the song is faithfully recreated on stage.

Another song that people thought Paul McCartney would never again touch is the drug-addled Hi Hi Hi, a early Wings rocker that was banned by the BBC for it’s overtly sexual lyrics and blatant drug references. Last performed in 1976, fans imagined that he would play it safe and keep Hi Hi Hi in the archives, so the fact that it not only found its way into the setlist but also found itself sandwiched between Beatles classics Day Tripper and Get Back in the first encore speaks volumes.

Travelling all the way from Vermont, Macca fan Jen Dodge managed to catch and report on the show:

I’ve seen Paul quite a few times over the past 12 years, so I was looking forward to seeing the Out There tour because of the much-needed setlist shake-up. I was beginning to be able to set my watch to the song he was playing.

In any case, the show began with one of my favorite Beatles sing-a-long songs and the crowd ate it up. I was wondering if the New York City fans might be as used to Paul’s show as I am because of how often they’ve had him in their fair metropolis, but there was not a bored soul in sight for 99% of the show. Sadly, My Valentine was the one song that folks used for a bathroom break. A shame since Paul dedicated it to the lovely Nancy who was sitting near the front of the venue. Of course, any concert goer is aware that when the band says, “and here’s one from the new album…” that means it’s time to empty out the old bladder. My Valentine seemed just long enough for those bladders to do their magic because Barclay’s was rocking for the rest of the show.

The biggest hits with the crowd were All My Loving, Band on the Run, Lovely Rita (well, maybe that was just me because I’ve been pining for this song live for all 12 of those McCartney concert years), and of course Live and Let Die because who doesn’t love a good indoor fireworks show? The surprise for me was how much the audience ate up All Together Now because it’s so darned catchy, and the video playing in the background was rather addictive, too. I couldn’t get over how great it sounded and how well it went over.

All in all, Paul sounded a lot better than he has the past few tours, aside from a few rough patches (most notably Maybe I’m Amazed, Blackbird, and Here Today). He was in good spirits, high energy, and the crowd of New Yorkers, out-of-towners, and celebrities (Paul Simon, Mayor Bloomberg, Lorne Michaels, Steve Buscemi to name a few of the people I didn’t have a seat good enough to be seated near) seemed to let go and give in to the amazing experience of seeing Paul live. He’s 71 so he doesn’t have the vocal range he once did, but I would give an arm to be able to sound as good as he does now, and I’m half his age…!

Paul McCartney setlist

Eight Days A Week
Junior’s Farm
All My Loving
Listen To What The Man Said
Let Me Roll It / Foxy Lady
Paperback Writer
My Valentine
Nineteen Hundred And Eighty Five
The Long And Winding Road
Maybe I’m Amazed
I’ve Just Seen A Face
We Can Work It Out
Another Day
And I Love Her
Blackbird
Here Today
Your Mother Should Know
Lady Madonna
All Together Now
Lovely Rita
Mrs Vandebilt
Eleanor Rigby
Being For The Benefit Of Mr Kite!
Something
Ob La Di, Ob La Da
Band On The Run
Back In The USSR
Let It Be
Live And Let Die
Hey Jude
Day Tripper
Hi Hi Hi
Get Back
Yesterday
Helter Skelter
Golden Slumbers / Carry That Weight / The End

Paul McCartney Out There tour dates

04/05/2013 – Mineirão Stadium, Belo Horizonte, Brazil
06/05/2013 – Serra Dourada Stadium, Goiânia, Brazil
09/05/2013 – Castelão Stadium, Fortaleza, Brazil
18/05/2013 – Amway Center, Orlando, FL
19/05/2013 – Amway Center, Orlando, FL
22/05/2013 – Frank Erwin Center, Austin, TX
23/05/2013 – Frank Erwin Center, Austin, TX
26/05/2013 – FedEx Forum, Memphis, TN
29/05/2013 – BOK Center, Tulsa, OK
30/05/2013 – BOK Center, Tulsa, OK
08/06/2013 – Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY
10/06/2013 – Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY
14/06/2013 – Bonnarroo Festival, Manchester, TN
22/06/2013 – Warsaw National Stadium, Warsaw, Poland
25/06/2013 – Verona Arena, Verona, Italy
27/06/2013 – Ernst-Happel-Stadion, Vienna, Austria
07/07/2013 – Scotiabank Place, Ottawa, Canada
09/07/2013 – Fenway Park, Boston, MA
12/07/2013 – Nationals Park, Washington, DC
14/07/2013 – Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN
16/07/2013 – Miller Park, Milwaukee, WI
19/07/2013 – Safeco Field, Seattle, WA
23/07/2013 – Plains of Abraham, Quebec, Canada
10/08/2013 – Outside Lands Festival, San Francisco, CA
12/08/2013 – Investors Group Field, Winnipeg, Canada
14/08/2013 – Mosaic Stadium at Taylor Field, Regina, Canada
11/11/2013 – Kyocera Dome, Osaka, Japan
12/11/2013 – Kyocera Dome, Osaka, Japan
15/11/2013 – Fukuoka Dome, Fukuoka, Japan
18/11/2013 – Tokyo Dome, Tokyo, Japan
19/11/2013 – Tokyo Dome, Tokyo, Japan
21/11/2013 – Tokyo Dome, Tokyo, Japan
19/04/2014 – Estadio Centenario, Montevideo, Uruguay
22/04/2014 – Movistar Arena, Santiago, Chile
23/04/2014 – Movistar Arena, Santiago, Chile
25/04/2014 – Estadio Nacional, Lima, Peru
28/04/2014 – Estadio de Liga, Quito, Ecuador
01/05/2014 – Estadio Nacional, San Jose, Costa Rica
17/05/2014 –  National Stadium, Tokyo, Japan
18/05/2014 – National Stadium, Tokyo, Japan
24/05/2014 – Yanmar Stadium Nagai, Osaka, Japan
28/05/2014 – Jamsil Sports Complex Main Stadium, Seoul, South Korea
14/06/2014 – United Spirit Arena, Lubbock, TX

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