Written by Jim Bille
May 22, 2013 at 08:00 PM
ImagePaul McCartney’s long and winding road trip stopped by The Frank Erwin Center in Austin last week for two sell out shows. It’s kind of hard to believe that McCartney had never played Austin before these shows considering the capital city’s music scene. I was able to make the first night’s show on May 22 and it was beyond expectations.  I have seen Sir Paul a handful of times now and have always walked away in awe. The McCartney song book is endless and you can expect to hear “‘Hey Jude”,” Lady Madonna” and “Live and Let Die” for sure but you can also expect to hear a few musical nuggets from left field that makes you say I can’t believe I’m hearing this song live. The surprise tunes at this show included “All Together Now” and “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite”. McCartney mentioned that Mr. Kite was being performed live for the first time on this tour.

With his well established band consisting of Wix Wickens on keyboards, Rusty Anderson and Brian Thomas Ray on guitars along with drummer extraordinaire Abe Laboriel, McCartney took the crowd on a musical way back ride that featured everything from the Beatles to Wings and beyond. Numbers like “Your Mother Should Know”, “Eight Days a Week”, “I’ve Just Seen a Face” and “Paperback Writer” were just a very few examples of Beatles material covered. “Let Me Roll It”, featuring McCartney on guitar was amazing and showcased McCartney’s under rated lead guitar work that really works well on this number.

ImageA rare hiccup was made by Sir Paul when he began “Maybe I’m Amazed”. He actually started playing the number in the wrong key and had to start over.  He light heartedly explained to the crowd that it only proved that he and his band were performing live.  Of course he nailed the second attempt with ease.

In tribute to George Harrison, McCartney told a story of George’s love of playing the ukulele and mentioned how he and George were sitting around one day playing the mini guitars when Paul told him that he had learned one of his songs. The song was “Something” which McCartney proceeded to play opening up the first verse on ukulele then eventually working in the entire band for a version of this classic that gave me goose bumps.

McCartney is a master at engaging an audience with his charm and wit; but when he came back for the first of two encores flying a massive Texas state flag around the stage the crowd went crazy.

The Beatles classic, “Day Tripper” was the first encore number served up followed by “Hi Hi Hi”, then “Get Back” before making an exit.

ImageAfter being called back for the second time McCartney soloed on “Yesterday” and then followed up with “Helter Skelter”, “Golden Slumbers”, “Carry That Weight” and “The End”.

The full set list from this show consisted of a staggering thirty-eight songs.  Each song transported me back through my own life from adolescence to full on adulthood.  I know exactly where I was when The Beatles ‘took America by storm’ in 1964 in an appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show.  The world’s musical landscape changed forever and so did the lives of music fans everywhere.

Sir Paul McCartney is gracing our US stages and beyond with a solid compendium of his and The Beatles music, to which one can only stand humbly at one of these concerts and know they are in the presence of a true legend of Rock and Roll history.