Paul McCartney: Echo Arena, Liverpool

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Paul McCartney

Paul McCartney returned to his home town for a sell out gig and Getintothis’ Kevin Barrett was there to tell us all how it went down, with a lot of love.

You wait for ages then three come at once.

Incredibly, playing in Liverpool for the third time this year, Sir Paul McCartney returns in spectacular style for the lucky punters here tonight at the sold-out in minutes Echo Arena

Earlier in the year the former Beatle played in what was quintessentially a pilgrimage to a packed Cavern Club on a Thursday afternoon in July, this following an impromptu performance at the Philharmonic Dining Rooms in June on the back of his frenzied round-city whistle stop tour for James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke TV show.

You’d be forgiven in thinking the man from Forthlin Road is getting a touch homesick.

From a writer’s point of view, It’d take a hell of lot more than a single gig review to draw any sort of reasonable context into the influence McCartney has had in the music world as a whole, but to walk around this great musically embedded city you will be reminded on almost every corner as to just what he, and his three mates have done for the city of Liverpool in terms of impact, growth and culture.

Tonight is a lot more than a just concert, the carnival atmosphere on the walk up to the arena is spine tingling, posters of this Freshen Up Tour have decorated the city for weeks, tonight is a celebratory homecoming and a welcome to one of this city’s greatest son’s, a musician who’s legacy won’t be bettered.

As much as the vast majority are here tonight to delight in their favourite Beatles tracks, at the age of 76 Macca is still creating and producing music as consistently as any 20 something year old today, with solo album number 18, Egypt Station in September this year.

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Opening the set with A Hard Day’s Night, the vibe is now electric. This tour is set to rack up a mammoth 34 shows in total spanning the globe, but McCartney is quick to pay homage to his hometown; “It’s so good to get back home, we travel all around the world but there’s nothing like coming back here”.

The tales and banter are never short between songs, mention of his stint in Carpool Karaoke, and how much he enjoyed going back to his old Forthlin Road home, “I’d never been back there until the show”, and quipped the National Trust curator even made them pay to enter, “this is my bloody house” was the response.

It’d be easy to pick fault in the vocals, scan most reviews and this will come up, it’s an easy target for critics, but during the high pitches of new track Come On to Me they were as good as any displayed in a long time. Yes during the softer tracks they show signs of wear, but no-one in here seemed even the slightest bothered.

Taking to the piano for Wings song Let ‘Em In, with a brass backing section sounds intensely wonderful. Still sat for another Wings favourite Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five, Macca was in full flow.

Who’s not from not from Liverpool? As chairman of the tourist board we welcome you”.

A fantastic surprise within the set took us back to his Skiffle and Merseybeat heritage, with an offering the first demo recorded with The Quarrymen, In Spite of All the Danger, and an honorary mention given to Colin Hanton, the bands drummer who was in attendance tonight.

With From Me to You, Dance Tonight, and Love Me Do all done it was now time to give the band a well earned break, with acoustic guitar only on a now elevated stage, Blackbird and his personally remorseful tribute to John Lennon Here Today was just heartbreakingly stunning to witness, 
Something started with ukulele, giving appreciation to George Harrison, who was, in McCartney’s words, a fantastic ukulele player. A truly emotional moment of the night, and a beautiful tribute.
Live and Let Die could well be one of the most powerful moments this stage has seen, with a fire and laser show to accompany the pounding base. 
With a smoke engulfed arena we were in middle of one of the biggest singalongs in Hey Jude. 
Encore of Birthday, I Saw Her Standing There, A Wonderful Christmas Time where joined by a LIPA Youth Choir. Before closing the party with Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band, Helter Skelter, Carry That Weight, and finally Abbey Road’s, The End

In what transpired to be a roller coaster of emotion in the performance, there was joy, sadness, and regret throughout the historical music and stories, but the main message was all about love, the love the fans have for McCartney. But more poignant, the love given back to everyone here, and tellingly the love he has for his band mates and the legacy they will leave for generations.

And In the end the love you take is equal to the love you make.

Images by Getintothis’ Kevin Barrett

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