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McCartney hits it out
of the park

Paul McCartney - Good Evening New York City
(Alive Records)
4 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: Dec. 4, 2009
Paul McCartney

Review by Holiday Girod

With five live albums already under his solo belt, one wonders whether Sir Paul McCartney really needs to spit out yet another live set of Beatles classics and Wings hits to the masses. But after soaking up his recently released 2-CD and single DVD release, Good Evening New York City, the answer is a resounding 'yes.'

Never mind that Beatlemania is, once again, at a fever pitch (spurred on by their long-overdue remastered back catalog - both in mono & stereo, as well as the popular Beatles Rock Band video game both recently hitting store shelves). This collection first scores points because of the historical importance of these particular shows as they were recorded over three nights last July as the inaugural concerts at NYC's Citi Field - located adjacent to the site of the former Shea Stadium where The Beatles set a record attendance back in 1965. Much more important, however, is that this entire 33 song set is miraculously played out by the Former Fab and his brass-tacks rock band. Not only are McCartney's vocals still in remarkable shape (capable of peeling paint off the walls as he howls his way through The Beatles' "Helter Skelter" and soothing the savage beast on his more recent ballad to longtime musical partner John Lennon "Here Today"), but the audio mix puts the 67 year-old's bass guitar up front where it belongs, showcasing what an absolutely astonishing musician he still is. Likewise, his band of Rusty Anderson (guitar), Paul 'Wix' Wickens (keys), Brian Ray (guitar) and Abe Laboriel Jr. (drums) inject a renewed and sinewy edge into even the most well-worn of McCartney's numerous hits.

And the hits are certainly here, with a wealth of Beatles chestnuts like the show opener "Drive My Car," "Day Tripper," "I'm Down," "Lady Madonna," "I've Got a Feeling," "Paperback Writer," "Something" and "A Day In The Life" (the previous respective two numbers as odes to George Harrison and Lennon). McCartney also injects many Wings favorites into the set list such as "Jet," "Band On The Run," "Live and Let Die" and the heavy rocker "Let Me Roll It," which not only features one of the most killer guitar riffs in McCartney's 50 years of recorded music, but on this particular version the band cuts loose at the end of the number for an incendiary instrumental version of Jimi Hendrix's "Foxy Lady." There are also a few rarer gems here, such as the bouncy "Mrs. Vanderbuilt" from Band On The Run, and the bluesy rocker "Highway" from McCartney's most recent project The Fireman with Killing Joke's Martin Glover.

Sir Paul & Co. close out this historic show with the high-octane Beatles medley of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" and "The End." Ironically though, for a guy who's pushing 70, 'the end' is nowhere even remotely close for this living legend as he hits another one way outta the park with this live concert document.

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