Sunday, August 29, 2010

Show Review - Paul McCartney - 8/18/10 - Consol Energy Center - Pittsburgh - Live Review

What can be said that hasn’t already been about a Paul McCartney concert? This was my first time seeing PM and it was simply one of the best shows I have witnessed in quite some time. You can see a couple of proper reviews here and here. So, I am going to try and explain why this was such a memorable show.

McCartney is obviously a living legend. The way he conducts his show is with the up most professionalism and geared entirely towards the consumer. Obviously this comes with decades of experience. He launched into this show with his 4 member band including Rusty Anderson who we interviewed here. First thing I notice was that every band member had wireless instruments except lead guitarist Anderson who was wired in the entire time. There were a few tunes that PM went wired while playing the ukulele. Otherwise the equipment was state of the art or the vintage instruments were for their pure sound.

PM also had the proper amount of banter telling stories between songs and bringing an audience member to the stage. He told the story of how Jimi Hendricks heard Sgt. Peppers for the first time and then 2 days later he and his band were playing it in a club. At his shows people bring in homemade signs to get Paul’s attention that appears like a Wrestling Event. In this case he brought up a fan that had him sign her thigh in order to have it tattooed. Of course, she made a mistake when she grabbed the mic and said, “Hello, Pittsburgh!” Not something a western pa citizen would state. She was actually from Philly which was met with a resounding number of ‘boos’. But it was a definite interesting moment. I am curious if she actually had the signature tattooed.

He also had a few tricks allowing him to connect with the audience and keep them involved. While playing his song ‘My Love’, the video screen quickly displayed a couple in the audience and the gentleman proposing to his girlfriend. A nice, cliché moment. When he launched into ‘Blackbirds’ solo, a huge moon was lowered while the lights were dimmed adding to the ambiance of the evening. The band played ‘Hey Jude’ and PM lead the crowd in a sing-a-long that had every member shouting. The one that caught every one off guard is when fireworks and flames shot out from the stage when ‘Live and Let Die’. The loud explosion made me jump from my seat.

For a 68 year old man, Paul McCartney has performing down to a science. He and his band played for over 3 hours not appearing to get winded once which is quite a feat. It is one of those shows that you will retain forever.

One thing I would like to mention is the new Consol Energy Center. For a state of the art facility they have a problem with traffic control. Several times they stopped people from coming in and moving upstairs to only one bay of escalators. Is this going to work with a bunch of drunken Pen fans? With only 3 entryways it makes you wonder.

**Thanks to Hugh for the pics.