(Palace of Auburn Hills, MI – 05/01/02)
Sitting in my seat, the anticipation of the forthcoming show building inside me like an expectant young child sitting cross-legged beneath the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve, I was suddenly taken aback to see a heavily-costumed couple come bouncing down the stairs next to me. Dressed in circus attire, they proceeded to shake people’s hands and generally get everyone even more hyped up than they already were ! These ‘performers,’ as it turned out, were now flooding in at every given orifice that the Palace presented, their destinations the huge stage down below.
Then, just as suddenly as they had appeared, the lights dimmed, they grabbed ahold of the huge black cloth that enveloped and concealed the stage, and everyone held their breath. From behind the curtain a gentle white light shone, illuminating the outline of a single man holding a guitar: Ladies and Gentleman, Paul McCartney is in the building !
As the curtain dropped and the ‘performers’ gathered it up and scurried off backstage, the infamous musician stepped forth and broke immediately into ‘Hello, Goodbye.’ Much to the vocal appreciation of the gathered admirers, Sir. Paul then moved swiftly into his Wings period with the aid of his backing band for ’Jet’.
If you ever wanted to witness a concert that was purely and simply a greatest hits tour from heaven, then this was your night to be present. The man was simply incredible, his voice although a little nervy at the beginning quickly settling, his constant audience involvement and story-telling a marvel to behold. And the songs kept coming from all his musical incarnations such as Wings, The Beatles and his very own solo career. Having now introduced himself to Detroit, he blazed on through with ’All My Loving,’ ‘Getting Better All The Time,’ and ‘Comin’ Up.’
“So, how are things in the Motor City ?,” he asks us as he takes off his black jacket to reveal a solid red T-shirt. He then sings two new tracks from his new album Driving Rain entitled ’Lonely Road’ and the title track itself. Introducing his incredible drummer, Paul then sits behind the piano and brings us his song for his new fiancée, ’Heather’, whom he mentions is in the audience tonight.
Stepping back to the front of the stage, he then goes solo with nothing more than an acoustic guitar and a video-screen backdrop to perform a stirring rendition of ’Blackbird’ which was followed by ’We Can Work It Out,’ ’Mother Nature’s Son’ and ’Vanilla Sky’ from the Award-winning movie soundtrack. The circus folk come out again and this time delivered a rainbow-colored piano to the fore, which allows Paul to sing ’Breakdown.’ Then, he relates a story of when he was in Tokyo and how his masseuse was singing a Beatles song to him in broken Chinese, before settling right into ’Fool On The Hill’ together with a backdrop of 30 TVs and their displayed images of a young John, Paul, George and Ringo in black and white. Taking his guitar back he then sings a song he wrote for John after his death entitled ’Here Today,’ before singing one for George on a ukulele called ’Something In The Way She Moves.’
Then, we were off and running again with the classic stuff such as ’Eleanor Rigby,’ ‘Here, There and Everywhere,’ ‘Band On The Run,’ ‘Back In The USSR’ before heading back to the piano to perform ’Maybe, I’m Amazed,’ ‘C-Moon’ and ’My Love’ for Linda. Striding back to front stage, his arms always now raised after the finale of each and every song, we suddenly get swept away again with ’Can’t Buy Me Love’ and the now classic 9/11 anthem, ’Freedom’ where the infamous ‘signed’ yellow banner unfolds before our very eyes.
’Live and Let Die’ was next up together with fireworks that even seemed to shake Paul off of his stride and then one of the true nights highlights: spot on perfect renditions of both ’Let It Be’ and ’Hey Jude’.
Coming back for the encore waving the American flag and now sporting another new red T-shirt that read: NO MORE LAND MINES, Paul gave us ’Long And Winding Road,’ ‘Lady Madonna,’ and the classic ‘Just Seventeen,’ before closing the night down with a picture perfect ’Yesterday’ that got received by a flood of appreciation from his followers.
And then, just over two hours later, it was all over with. Paul McCartney had officially left the building and the spectacular evening was locked into the memory banks for future verbal recounting to friends and family. Paul was absolutely incredible tonight, perfect in all manners of music and vocalization, and just a wonder to behold musically. Even at $250 a ticket, this was a show to have been at whether you could afford it or not !
Reviewed By Russell A. Trunk