Sunday, 19 December 2010

McCartney at Hammersmith Apollo Review

Well a couple of weeks ago, I wouldn't have expected to be writing a review of Paul live in concert at the relatively intimate Hammersmith Odeon (or Apollo as it is now called).

The announcement came out of the blue and then tickets came my way courtesy of a 'boardie' on the official Paul fourm. Many thanks for that unexpected offer!

The weather seemed to be the only thing stopping us getting to the concert. To be honest it was a dangerous journey and in many ways I was a little surprised that the concert went ahead. However, once there, the weather was forgotten for a couple of hours and the tension built and we waited for the show to begin.

Of course, in these interactive days you pretty much know the set list before the gig, which does take some of the surprise away. However, Paul has been mixing up things a little recently so nothing was set in stone.

I have seen Paul a few times, but have pretty much decided that the big outdoor and indoor venues are not for me anymore, so this opportunity was not to be missed. A proper gig. How about a UK tour of these kind of venues Paul?!

Paul still puts on such a fantastic show, that you can't help enjoying every moment, even when you know what is coming next, even down to the 'ab-libs'. I think the WHOLE WORLD now knows George used to play the Ukulele or that Blackbird originated with Paul and George playing Bach on guitars. Oh well, time for some new tales Paul....but you still raise a smile and a chuckle, the guy is  charasmatic.

Listening to your musical heritage is always an emotional experience,  you feel proud to be there, watching the best show in town with songs that shaped lives. As Paul gets older is voice does not quite hold up like it once did but the experience is still fantastic and the majority of the songs still sound great.

However, songs like Jet, Band on the Run and Long and Winding Road can be hit and miss, with the misses getting more common, but when you are there the pure euphoria and joy takes you away from some of the imperfections. I still think they these need to be replaced though with other Macca gems, but tonight they sounded good. Paul really was on top form and vocals were strong throughout and the band tight and having fun. You could just come and watch Abe's antics. He is so funny!

Maybe I'm amazed made a return to the set list in these recent series of concerts, and being my favourite Paul song, I was a little concerned that he would not do it justice. However, to be fair, it was a very good and emotional performance and being played back to back with 1985, another one of my absolute favs, I was in my element.

Other big highlights were I'm Looking Through You (an underated gem), Sing the Changes (really great live), Here Today (nailed the vocal) and Back In The USSR (rocked the house). 

He played One after 909 from Let It Be (but of course it dates back to the very early Beatle days), it was fun to hear and nice to have a new addition to the set list. However, I can't help thinking that a 'Listen to what the man said', "'Juniors Farm' or 'No More Lonely Nights' would have been better. The same with the cover of 'Hitch Hike' too really, although it was another good fun moment. As was the quirky and jokey Petrushka.  Anyway, I'm being a little picky! I was singing along with the best of them.

Strangely two of my least favourite Paul songs, Dance Tonight and Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da are great fun live and the audience really enjoyed them, as did Macca.

I can't really complain about anything, great venue, great view, Paul and the band sang and played really well. The Christmas spirit was present and Wonderful Christmastime was so close to the record I thought he was miming! The choir that joined the band added to the good feelings of the evening.

Despite hearing them for the millionth time the reaction that he gets when Hey Jude, Yesterday and Let It Be are played speaks volumes. You forget that at each concert there is a good percentage seeing Paul for the first time and their reaction is there to be seen. Although, I'd still love a radical set list change and to try and keep some of these songs in but perhaps with some more rotation. I think it can be safely said that he has the back catalogue over the last 50 years to do that!

All in all a fantastic evening and when Paul nails it, he is unbeatable. He did that on this cold Saturday night and warmed everyone's spirits, the fireworks during Live and Let Die literally did!

Click here for set list.


  1. Spot on review. It was a special evening.

  2. Couldn't believe how strongly he sang - as if singing his heart out - on Maybe I'm Amazed. He's a master showman and always tunes right into the audience. Love him dearly and always will.