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Review and photos by Mary AndrewsJames McCartney made a return visit to Tucson, AZ to perform solo at Club Congress. He seems to prefer the intimate, dark venues for his shows. McCartney tries to visit Tucson in April each year before the extreme heat makes its extended appearance in Southern Arizona. This year, his visit was a month later, but so is the extreme heat. It is rumored that the family still owns property on the outskirts of Tucson where his mother, Linda McCartney spent her last days. Hence, this may be the reason for the yearly visits. The tour this year is in support of McCartney's new record release, The Blackberry Train.
James took the stage very quietly by first removing his backpack and setting it at the rear of the stage. He picked up his electric guitar (rumored to be his father's Epiphone Casino) that had a foot pedal fuzz attachment and proceeded to play and sing the first song,"Too Hard" from his new album. He announced he had had two "mass-a-ges" today and he was up for the show. From there he quickly performed "Paralysis" another song from the new album. All but three of the songs in the set were from the new album. The new material is testimony of just how good a songwriter McCartney is.
The white elephant in the room was that James is Paul McCartney's son. There is as much scrutiny that comes with that as there is privilege. Many of those in attendance were there because they were Beatles fans. Some verbalized that maybe "Paul would make a surprise appearance." Through no fault of his own, James has an amazing resemblance to his famous father. As James rocked his songs, you could not help but look and see Paul.
James played terrific guitar although the guitar "special effects" bordered on monotony. There were two delicious songs that he played acoustic guitar. His attack on his instrument was much like Neil Young playing "Old Black" during one of his solo sets. James' vocals were clear and spot on. He sounded more like John Lennon than his father. There was a 'Beatlesque' edge to some of the songs, but more from the "White Album" era than earlier works.
James was very comfortable performing his songs, but he was obviously very uncomfortable communicating with the audience. He made an effort at one point by asking if anyone had any requests, yet he did not wait for anyone to answer. Communicating with the crowd seemed painful for him. He introduced each song by name but he would not reveal anything about the songs or how he came to write them. Within 55 minutes, the 14-song set ended as it started. He put the guitar down, still live, donned his backpack and walked off the stage. He spent time at the merchandise table for autographs and photos still wearing his backpack.
His jammed tour continues through the Month of June.
1. Too Hard
8. Peyote Coyote
11. Ring O Roses
13. Peace and Stillness
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