I attended the “amazing” concert and was amazed — but not in the way the Winnipeg Free Press’ reviewer, Melissa Martin, was. I went to hear Paul McCartney perform some of my favourites from his huge and mostly magnificent songbook. However, I was appalled (no pun intended) again and again by his deliberately brutal arrangements of both his own rock ’n’ roll hits and many of his beautifully delicate and subtle songs.
In what was by far the worst concert I have ever attended, there were only two bright moments — when McCartney paid homage to George Harrison with a clever and only mildly overproduced version of “Something,” and then, near the end, his interaction with the audience during the “Hey Jude” anthem.
Apart from them, almost everything was grotesquely overproduced and distorted. With few exceptions he consistently used absurd levels of an unnecessary thundery bass background, pointlessly flashy guitar work by his accomplices and percussion work that can best be described as brutal. For this I suppose we can partially blame many of his fans and their tin ears and uncritical acceptance of whatever he serves up.
The worst moments in the concert for me occurred during the (in)famous McCartney hymn to James Bond, “Live and Let Die.” Almost everyone enthusiastically applauded for an absurd series of explosions and fireballs — not just once, but twice. Their applause was to celebrate what? Loud noises? Killing people?
In short, McCartney’s musical genius did not honour the best of his own work. Instead, he chose to serve Mammon. As has been said before, the sad truth about McCartney is that the man has great gifts but an often weak moral compass.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition August 21, 2013