Thursday, 31 December 2009

Noughtie Paul McCartney PART TWO!

Rumours started in late 2004 that Macca was working with Nigel Godrich of Radiohead and Beck fame. This gave many fans hope for a really great piece of work. I am pleased to say that the results were fantastic. 'Chaos and creation in the backyard' is possibly his best album EVER, certainly in the top 3. It has melody, emotion, humour, introspection, hope, positiveness and bitterness - basically Paul doing everything well. Even the twee (English Tea) seems to work and does not completely out stay its welcome, still rather it was not included mind. It works as a cohesive album and much of that has to be down to his producer. It is a CD that four years later, for me, still gets a regular play and not just selected tracks, but all the way through. Everything around this album was perfect; the b-sides were wonderful, especially 'This Loving Game' and 'I Want You To Fly' and a great TV and radio special to co-inside with its release.

Touring continued in the States including a couple of interesting additions (Too Many People for starters) but the 18th million time of listening to Let it Be, Hey Jude, Jet, Get Back etc. was beginning to grate. His shows were still hugely enjoyable but the special spark for the dedicated fan was ebbing away. The element of surprise and the wow factor has been lost. Special special songs were being diluted by over exposure. This is why Disney only re-release their classics every 7 years or so and either don't release a DVD or deleted them very quickly. Paul should follow suit, he has the biggest and best back catalogue to draw from in the world from the 1960's to the present day. It is a crying shame many classic and high quality songs are not played and given the exposure that they deserve. Paul was turning into the Bootleg McCartney. Maybe a little harsh, but true nevertheless. Even the 'ad libs' were wearing thin and needed a change. We know the Blackbird story, the C'Moon story, the ukulele story with GH, and how many times do we need to be told that 'you were great' at the end of Hey Jude?!

However, his band still rocks and he still has so much energy and for his age his voice stands up pretty well although not a patch on his 66-76 peak.

2006 was a year of personal problems and not the kind of publicity that is becoming of Paul.

The Beatles Love project was a welcome distraction and allowed Paul again to remind us and the world how great and innovative 'that band' were. Relationships between ex band mates and wives seems the best it has ever been.

In 2007 another album and a new label and some small gigs! Some variety and increased exposure. Memory Almost Full seems to catch the publics imagination with the Starbucks promotion helping greatly. A lame but catchy single "Dance Tonight' gave Paul his most widely recognised hit in a many a year. The album was a hit and miss affair. A handful of very good songs saved the day (Only Mamma Knows, House of Wax and End of the End). Overall it was a bit of a disappointment and rarely gets played in this household. The production was poor and lacked the warmth of Chaos.

The 'secret gigs' were great fun and saw Paul enjoy himself and the audience responded, although even the most ardent of Paul fans could not help to be concerned about his voice going down hill fast since Live8 in 2005. The song choices remained too samey and the chat likewise. Paul is such a charmer and a storyteller he really should mix things up a bit. However, I was front row at the Electric Proms and had the time of my life, so he must have done something right!

More of the same in 2008 on the 'live' front just bigger venues and very little change to the set list. However, the introduction of Mrs Vanderbilt and the joy the band and audience got out of it should be noted for more of the same. However, I must say his voice went back up a notch.

The highlight of the year was the return of The Fireman. The Electric Arguements album was a joyful surprise from start to finish and really deserves a wider audience. I hate it when people say Paul has done nothing since 1970. Boy is that wrong and he is still producing the goods. However, Paul does not help with his continued live policy...which means I am not going to bother with 2009 bar a mention for another lovely new song 'I Want to Come Home'

Lets hope in probably the last 'busy' few years of his career will see continued genius on record and an acknowledgement of 45 years of genius in his live shows and TV appearances.

Thanks Paul.

Monday, 28 December 2009

Noughtie Paul McCartney! PART ONE!

As the decade comes to an end the age old tradition is to both look back and forward. Lets have a quick look back of the last 10 years of Paul's career and life.

Paul entered the decade back in the public eye after the sad death of Linda in 1998. Towards the end of 1999 Paul released Run Devil Run (a rocking little covers (mainly) album), went back to the Cavern and did a couple of major TV interviews (Parkinson and Frost). This activity was a nice low key way to come back and these events set Paul up for an interesting first part of the decade.

Of course, there was Heather, Paul's new love - many said he was mad, or it was too early after Linda or that was just thinking with his trousers rather than his head. Much has been written about their relationship and it is pointless to go over old ground really here, but for the record I think Paul was misguided but had the right intentions. Good and bad, Heather shaped his decade personally, financially and professionally.

A new album (Driving Rain) was soon to appear, although not one of my personal top all time favourites it is still very underrated and very very good. It was quite an important album for him. The songs seemed to be more personal, he was pushing some musical boundries again, he had a young(ish!) raw band with him and it seemed to make him think about touring again. It gave him that drive again (no pun intended!).

The album was the biggest flop of his career, which was a little harsh as it has lots to offer. The album was poorly marketed and the single choice brave but not appropriate for the mainstream. The late addition to the album of 'Freedom' written in the aftermarth of 9/11 a dreadful 'protest' song and in my opinion far worse than anything that he normally gets ridiculed for like the 'The Frog Chorus' did not do anything to help and an already over long album. However, the Concert for New York was a great success and set the format for a decade of touring.

Sadly there was also the sad death of his old band mate Georgie H. Despite all their issues over the years the love and support Paul showed during this time proved really how much they loved each other. Paul acted with great credit throughout this time. RIP George.

His tours of 2002/3 and 2004 saw a great buzz from fans and the critics and after a 9 year gap from live performance it was good to see him back. The Beatles Live - read one review!

This period also saw the sad departure of the wonderful Geoff Baker as Paul's publicist and loyal friend. Good to hear that they have built bridges. I think Geoff was good for Paul and personally and professionally.

Paul was now entirely comfortable with his past (if not his other band!). Many unplayed Beatles songs were added to his set list and although more solo stuff would have been welcome, the concerts, songs, stage, pre-show, chat between songs were a joy to watch and hear. A triumphant concert at the Glastonbury festival helped re-establish Paul in the 'cool' bracket with the critics and the public. Gems like 'Helter Skelter' were even played. This should have been the start of a 'live' decade to remember and develop - but more of that later!

One thing it did set up Paul for was the creative kick to produce one of his best albums in his whole career........more of that in Part 2 soon!

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Paul McCartney's biggest mistake of the decade!

I would not normally comment in this kind of story but as Paul himself has commented on his website, see below link it seems a good opportunity to comment:

It just goes to show that an informal, off the cuff comment which is not meant with any malice is blown up to be something it was never meant to be. When can we ever really believe what the media say on anything when most of it is complete lies or based on half truths.

My comment is never judge people, good or bad, just from hearsay and conjecture. Stick with what you see, hear and know and make a judgement yourself. Make sure it is always in context and the full story.

A minor comment like this does upset people and when family are involved it is not right. Sadly, celebrities have to put up with it, but to be fair they benefit and use the press themselves too. So they do leave themselves open sometimes.

Anyway my final comment is a much wider one 'think before you criticise someone or jump to a conclusion and I mean with friends, family and colleagues. You may not have all the information or know the full picture behind the action'

The end!

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Paul McCartney's Good Evening Europe Tour Comments

Well this is a simple blog so that your can publish your thoughts on the tour, set list, Paul's voice, audience reaction, your own experiences, comments on those lucky enough to attend soundcheck concerts.

  • Do you like the new song choices? (Ob-la-di-ob-la-da, And I love her, I want to (come home).
  • What should he have dropped?
  • What else should he have added?
  • Does he still tell the same 'ab libs' introductions to songs? 
Anything you want to say, post it here!