Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Live:: Paul McCartney on the Halifax Common

In last Friday's local show rundown, I broke out the ole hyperbole to claim the "show of the year", for many folks, was taking place on the Common the next day. Well, by all accounts, Paul McCartney didn't disappoint, and from what I've read, it was indeed a legendary show for Halifax. When you consider there were around 50,000 people inside the makeshift show venue, and thousands more gathered around the outside, that's quite a to-do. Of course, in true crotchety old-blogger fashion, neither Ack or I were among those thousands. But now, thanks to MRC associates Malcolm "MRC" Rodgers and Barbara Kluge, we have plenty of hot concert recap action for you. So let's get to it:

We managed to achieve a viewing position of 15 rows back or so, even though we arrived a couple songs into Wintersleep's set. This was due to the older/earlier McCartney arrivers flopping down on their blankets, and in one case plugging their ears while Wintersleep performed. Those that kept their cochlea clear were treated to a nice wall of guitar sound supported by some awesome drumming by Loel Campbell. When I think about how the first time I saw Wintersleep was at the Mi'kmaq Native Friendship Centre on Gottingen Street years back to a crowd of barely 20 people opening for the Microphones, they really have come a long way in their maturity and sound. Overall, the energy and performance was very good. I can’t wait to see what this band does next. They lamented having a show the following day in Ireland, so would perhaps have to miss some of Paul’s set. The only beefs with the performance were the keys/synth which gave Welcome to the Night Sky that warm hue were largely buried in the mix. The other minor bone I had with their set was that the set closer seemed to run a little long.

Joel Plaskett
Joel Plaskett and the Emergency (accompanied by Rose Cousins and Anna Ege) took the stage after what seemed to be a startling power outage during their gear setup. Things were luckily rectified before too much time had passed and Joel handled it in stride. He commented on taking the Ferry over from Dartmouth on such a fine day for a concert, and you could tell he felt truly honored to be pegged for what he said was the biggest crowd he'd ever played for. While the crowd truly loved the past hits from prior albums, the songs "Run, Run, Run" and "Precious, Precious, Precious" also went over quite well. Drummer Dave Marsh was quite comfortably funky on the skins, which has tempted me enough to mosey over to davemarsh.ca and check out his solo work.

Paul McCartney
After visiting The Cavern in Liverpool last summer to see where the Beatles got their start, it was quite a pleasant surprise to see the legend for real along with 50,000 other Haligonians 48 years later. I'm by no means a Beatle fanatic , but the performance he put on was just dynamite. At 2:38 set length, there was something for every type of Paul fan. You had the hits (I guess it would be hits among hits "Let it Be" and "Hey Jude" (by the way, what does "Hey Jude, don't make it bad" even mean???), the edgier "Back in the USSR" and "Helter Skelter", tributes to John (1982's Here Today) and to George ("Something" performed on a uke given to Paul by the quiet one). Even new Paul (from the underrated Fireman "Electric Arguments" release) went over very well, with "Sing the Changes" and "Highway" getting a more rocking treatment than on the Youth produced electro-tinged CD. Paul's giant video screen backing show is quite a sight to behold. To have traditional Cossack dancing in unison with the music on a giant video screen during "Back in the USSR" was a nice touch.

Other highlights would include the Wings single "Mull of Kintyre" performed along with the 78th Highlanders pipe band to much fanfare. Another show oddity was the slight disruption for Paul to sign a fans arm onstage when she held up a sign that apparently said something to the effect of "OMG SIGN MY ARM AND ILL TATTOO IT PLZ PAUL!". Also, a big kudos to Paul's backing band, who didn't seem to miss a beat at all. These lads have been with Paul longer than he was with the Beatles or Wings, and yet you'll be hard pressed to find out any information about them on the Internets. I guess they're happy to just go along for this wild ride /phase of Paul's career. Overall, a very memorable concert, and kudos to Halifax for making it happen.

Labels: Common, , Paul McCartney

Posted at 10:51 AM by naedoo :: 1 comments

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At 1:39 PM, Anonymous B. Kluge did sayeth:

Nice write up. ;)


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