The penultimate show of Paul McCartney’s UK leg of his sprawling Out There tour was a whirlwind night at Birmingham’s Barclaycard Arena. Playing to a packed stadium, Macca amazed the crowd with a close to 3 hour set of hits from all corners of his long and illustrious career.
Paul McCartney last played Birmingham in 2003 as part of his Back in the World tour, and this long overdue return brought in a huge audience of fans of all ages.
Despite the threat of the traditional British downpour, the weather held and fans were able to slowly make their way to the arena, enjoying all the restaurants, bars and pubs along the picturesque canal outside.
While people gathered outside, nervously eyeing up the dark clouds that were inevitably starting to gather and hoping the heavens wouldn’t open, Paul and the band soundchecked the venue, playing many songs that were not included in the main show.
One After 909
Let Em In
It’s So Easy
Hope of Deliverance
I’ll Follow the Sun
Leaning On a Lamp Post
At around 8:15pm the band – consisting of Rusty Anderson on guitar, Brian Ray on guitar/bass, Abe Laboriel Jr on drums and Paul ‘Wix’ Wickens on keys – took to the stage opening with a high energy rendition of Beatles hit Eight Days a Week.
Paul followed with the opener to his Latest album: Save Us. The heavy and gritty rocker worked well in comparison to the first song, and Paul proved to be in fine vocal form. Throughout the show Paul remained on good form, struggling only with the highest notes of songs such as Maybe I’m Amazed and Blackbird.
Living up to the tours name, Paul made his way onto a platform that rose several meters into the air to sing two songs alone, accompanied only by his guitar. A very nice feature, but for the people up front he rose too high for them to see. Still, it gave the rest of the audience a slightly better view of the main man for a while.
Coincidently many people assumed the tour was so named because of the track from his latest album, the acoustic driven singalong Everybody Out There. Whether this is true or not is up for debate, but since Paul resumed the tour in Japan the song has been conspicuously absent, dropped for other tunes.
Macca made it clear that he is proud of his Beatles catalogue with the show being littered with some of the most defining songs from the Fab Four, but he also made sure he catered to fans of his second world conquering band Wings. Then to please newer fans still there were songs from New plus one of the very first performances of his most recent track Hope for the Future, written specifically for the video game Destiny. (You can read my Hope for the Future review here.)
While I personally enjoyed the concert immensely, the only major problem that beyond the first three blocks in front of the stage, the audience seemed by and large very flat and subdued. There was no atmosphere that one would usually associate with a concert, and when people did stand to enjoy songs, they drew plenty of annoyed looks and tuts from the people behind. But then it’s a rock show…what do people expect! Even the encores failed to get some people on their feet!
Luckily the Liverpool audience more than made up for it the following night (full Liverpool concert review here)!
Dull sections of the crowd asside, the show was as exciting and expansive as anyone could hope for, and clocking in at just under 3 hours long, it was an absolute tour-de-force from a 72 year old man that has been in the business for over half a century!
Paul McCartney setlist
Eight Days a Week
Can’t Buy Me Love
Listen to What the Man Said
Let Me Roll It / Foxy Lady
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
Hope for the Future
And I Love Her
All Together Now
Being for the Benefit of Mr Kite!
Ob La Di, Ob La Da
Band on the Run
Back in the USSR
Let It Be
Live and Let Die
Hi Hi Hi
I Saw Her Standing There
Golden Slumbers / Carry That Weight / The End