Tuesday, September 26, 2017
Dave Carlock - A Day In The Life
CONCERT REVIEW: PAUL McCARTNEY IN INDIANAPOLIS PT. 1
Originally Posted: 07-19-2013 8:03 PM
Previous Article Next Article
Watching Sir Paul McCartney in concert Indianapolis this week, I suddenly realized that every song he played took me to a place in time, some as flashback, some as surprisingly emotional triggers. It really underscored what good music does. It gets in your DNA. It changes you. The maker of the music becomes an unwitting collaborator to your experience. And when you see the maker of that music playing that music exceptionally well and authentically for you, it unlocks everything in you, like a password. It certainly did for me and I would suspect it also did for the majority of the 18,000 in attendance at Banker’s Life Fieldhouse.

To even wrap my head around the influence Paul McCartney had in my life, I began considering his work in decades—great chapter markers in the career of one of England’s greatest treasures.
He first hit the world scene in his 20s as a member of The Beatles, the British band that set the blueprint for musical world domination. There was no one that could touch them, save Elvis, their hero. But it was the Lennon/McCartney songwriting team that really set them apart from the King and everyone else. It was songs, as I proclaim with regularity, that built their career and cast Lennon & McCartney’s influence as a bronze centerpiece in the pop music universe forever.

In his 30s, Paul was newly out of The Beatles and started another band project he called Wings. Despite significant pressure to perform Beatles songs with Wings, Paul rarely did so, focusing instead on building his new band’s identity. Some critics felt Wings were trite at the time, but I loved them and as time has revealed, so did people like director Cameron Crowe & the Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl, one of Paul’s recent friends and collaborators.

Between The Beatles & Wings catalogues, new generations have grown up with two “Paul bands” they could choose from. Different, yes, but both feature hit songs with his unmistakable melodic touch and “seemingly” simple and universal arrangements. And of course, tying all of the material together from decade to decade was McCartney’s voice, which has always been there to school the world on what beautiful male ballad singing should be, just before turning expectations on their head with a dose of ratty, hard-edged rock singing on songs “Helter Skelter” or the outro of “Getting Closer” from 1979’s “Back To The Egg”.

Paul’s 40s were spent focused as a solo artist rather than any “band” identity, kicked off by the McCartney II album which Paul recorded at home alone yielding quirky tracks that are a great listen today. The quirky attitude also led to several quirky videos a few years before the dawn of MTV which may or may not take away from the innovativeness of music. Hmmm… I’d suggest a listen before a look, then you be the judge.

At the edge of his 50s, Paul decided to add Beatle material into his live shows touring in support of his 1989 album, “Flowers In The Dirt”, which featured a host of different musicians such as keyboardist Wix Wickens, Average White Band guitarist Hamish Stuart, and Pretenders guitarist Robbie McIntosh. 1997’s “Flaming Pie” was released as his wife Linda struggled and shortly after succumbed to cancer, and featured one of Paul’s best ballads “Beautiful Night” which always makes me think of Linda no matter when I hear it.

As he turned 60, Paul was found relaunched his band as a lean, hard-fighting machine and created what may arguably be the very best, most well-rounded, LIVE pop/rock band in the history of the genre. Where many top artists have assembled really great backing bands, Paul’s is exceptional in that their vocals, a critical element in most of Paul’s catalogue either with or without the Beatles, are absolutely phenomenal without incorporating backing vocalists.

The genesis of this current Crack Musical SWAT Team happened following the making of Paul’s 2001 album “Driving Rain” in LA with producer David Kahne. Paul asked the album’s session guitarist and session drummer Rusty Anderson & Abe Laboriel, Jr., respectively, to join forces with his tenured musical director and keys man Wix Wickens, to feel out a live band scenario. Needing one more member to play guitar, lend another voice, and cover Paul when he left bass to play piano, Abe suggested another LA supertalent in my friend Brian Ray, who had had significant experience in stadium shows with France superstar Johnny Hallyday, and had been musical director with the late great Etta James for well over a decade. Brian was as perfect a fit for the gig then as he was in Indianapolis, 11 years later.

It’s hard to even say “2nd guitar” in regard to Brian—he is a MONSTER guitar player. At the show this week, the high neck arpeggio licks at the end of “Junior’s Farm” were flawless and effortless, solos on Beatles songs like “All My Loving” were Harrison-authentic and joy-inspiring, in full-on Gretsch glory. On Wings material, Brian nails the slide licks in “Hi, Hi, Hi” on the yellow 1958 Les Paul TV Jr. that he’s been excitedly sharing photos of recently. By the way, “Hi, Hi, Hi” was a song people considered very naughty in 1972. YouTube it to hear what the brou-ha-ha was all about and to see if you think controversy was warranted. You probably never thought of Paul as having a “body-gun”…

It’s hard to imagine a musical artist ever being more enduring and successful than Sir Paul McCartney and there may never be a concert that can top this one for its combination of song power, a Task Force level band replete with stunning vocal harmonies, and massive-scale visuals. Next week in PART TWO, we’ll get into the setlist, this event is too big for one week!

TO BE CONTINUED

FIND A WAY MY FRIENDS
Dave Carlock
DAVE CARLOCK -
A DAY IN THE LIFE
Follow Dave Carlock
Recent Columns
NAMM 2014 PT. 4--THE HOT ZONE
» 2014-02-14 14:06:45
NAMM 2014 PT. 3--BONZO BASH
» 2014-02-07 13:50:56
NAMM 2014 PT. 2--OPENING DAY
» 2014-01-31 13:19:07
NAMM 2014 PT. 1--BACK IN LA
» 2014-01-24 14:29:27
WHEN NETWORKING, 'BE' THE PLANCHETTE
» 2014-01-17 15:47:08
WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE?
» 2014-01-10 15:27:30
TRACKING • MIXING • MASTERING
» 2014-01-03 15:23:28
GREAT MIXERS NEVER DIE
» 2013-12-27 20:21:12