Good Evening London 2009 (Piccadilly Circus PCCD-92/93/94)
02 Arena, London, England – December 22nd, 2009
Disc 1 (62:14): Introduction, Magical Mystery Tour, Drive My Car, Jet, Only Mama Knows, Flaming Pie, Let Me Roll It, Highway, The Long And Winding Road, I Want To Come Home, My Love, Blackbird, Here Today, Dance Tonight, And I Love Her
Disc 2 (71:38): Eleanor Rigby, Leaning On A Lampost, Something, Mrs Vanderbilt, Sing The Changes, Wonderful Christmas Time, Band On The Run, Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da, Back In The USSR, I’ve Got A Feeling, Paperback Writer, A Day In The Life/Give Peace A Chance, Let It Be, Live And Let Die, Hey Jude
Disc 3 (34:21): Day Tripper, Lady Madonna, Get Back, Yesterday, Helter Skelter, Mull Of Kintyre, Sgt Pepper/The End
Paul McCartney closed the short Good Evening Europe tour with his first concert at the O2 Arena in London, just three days before Christmas. Piccadilly Circus use a clear but thin audience recording of the entire concert. The top end is very clear but the bottom frequencies are very thin. While it serves as a nice document of the show, it’s not up to the standard of contemporary audience recordings.
Also, unlike the other Piccadilly Circus releases from this tour, there are no bonus tracks. Good Evening London 2009 contains the entire two and a half hour concert in total with no extras included spread out over three CDs.
Nevertheless it is an outstanding performance in front of a warm London crowd. A review of the show in the Telegraph stated that: “Having gone on X Factor to demonstrate how a real star does it, Paul McCartney used his only UK concert of 2009 as a showcase for an epic display of back-to-basics music-making. Armed only with his four-piece band and the greatest collection of hits in pop history, he travelled back and forth across the decades like the Dr Who of rock’n’roll. After almost three hours, he wrapped it up with Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, but looked as if he’d have been quite happy to carry on all night until the trains started running again.
“The most striking part about it was the way McCartney and band just stood up there and played, without assistance from sequencers, samples, dancing girls or orchestras (though there was a dramatic late appearance by the bagpipers of the Balmoral Highlanders on Mull Of Kintyre, one of several rarely-played songs refurbished for the occasion). Obviously picking the right players helps. The long-serving Paul “Wix” Wickens was at the keyboards, supplying everything from the organ counterpoint on Let It Be or the synthesised orchestrations in The Long And Winding Road to the swirling maelstrom effects in a hugely effective A Day In The Life. The physical bulk of drummer Abe Laboriel accurately reflects the concussive force of his playing, while guitarists Brian Ray and Rusty Anderson handled the riffs, licks and power chords with nonchalance.
“Whatever elixir the 67-year-old Macca is running on remains a mystery, but he seems to get a huge charge from performing to an audience, especially one which is bombarding him with waves of adoration. Structuring a set from such a huge catalogue must be a real brainteaser, but he struck an effective balance between raunchy Beatles’ nuggets (Get Back, Day Tripper, Lady Madonna) and Beatles’ ballads (Eleanor Rigby, Yesterday), highlights from Wings (souped-up versions of Jetand Band On The Run) and solo material. Standout among the latter was a scintillating Sing The Changes, from the Electric Arguments album.
“There was a sense, too, that McCartney was finding himself again after the traumas of the Heather Mills’ years. My Love came with a heartfelt dedication to the late Linda, and he used Here Today and a version of Somethingto summon the spirits of John Lennon and George Harrison. But dying before he gets old looks like the last thing on Macca’s mind. (“Paul McCartney at the O2, London, review” by By Adam Sweeting.)
The setlist remains similar to the other stops on the tour. Before “Something,” while Paul is speaking about George’s love for the ukulele, plays a little bit of “Leaning On An Lampost” by George Formby as an introduction. Also “Wonderful Christmas Time,” played as an encore in Cologne, is played earlier in the set after “Sing The Changes.” In the encores he plays “Mull Of Kintyre,” one of his biggest hits in Britain and played only at this show. Good Evening London 2009is packaged in a three disc fatboy jewel case with thick one-sided inserts. It’s a good memento of the show although it makes one wish better tapes exist.