Paul McCartney – On The Run In London (no label)

On The Run In London (no label)

O2 Arena, London, England – December 5th, 2011

Disc 1 (62:35)Intro, Hello Goodbye, Junior’s Farm, All My Loving, Jet, Drive My Car, Sing The Changes, The Night Before, Let Me Roll It / Foxy Lady, Paperback Writer, The Long And Winding Road, Come And Get It, Nineteen Hundred And Eighty Five, Maybe I’m Amazed, I’ve Just Seen A Face, I Will

Disc 2 (71:47)Blackbird, Here Today, Dance Tonight, Mrs Vanderbilt, Eleanor Rigby, Something, Band On The Run, Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da, Back In The USSR, I’ve Got A Feeling, A Day In The Life / Give Peace A Chance, Let It Be, Live And Let Die, Hey Jude

Disc 3 (33:32), Encore/MC, The Word / All You Need Is Love, Day Tripper, Get Back (with Ronnie Wood), Yesterday, Helter Skelter, Golden Slumbers / Carry That Weight / The End

Paul McCartney’s On The Run tour began in July and lasted only nineteen gigs spread out over six months.  The first UK date, and only show in London, was on December 5th, 2011 at the O2 Arena.  As with all things associated with McCartney, there was tremendous build up in the press in the months leading up to the gig, including his October 9th wedding to Nancy Shevell and his confession in the NME that he has nightmares of “crowd members who are ‘just standing there'” and how “people start walking out of his gigs.” 

On The Run In London is a 3CD with the complete two and a half hour performance in the O2 Arena.  It is sourced from a very good to excellent audience recording.  It is very enjoyable despite a slight fuzziness in the upper frequencies.  

The show starts off with the taped introduction featuring the funky rearrangements before they band come onstage.  A riff-laden heavy melody serves as a build up to “Hello Goodbye” from Magical Mystery Tour.  They follow with the mid-seventies Wings tune “Junior’s Farm,” played several times in 1975 but rarely since.  It’s a very good live piece and fits the opening rush of the concert very well. 

He welcomes everyone to London, hopes they enjoy the party, wants to take it all in and, after playing “Jet,” McCartney takes off his coat and jokes that it will be the only wardrobe change of the evening.  In general, his quips between songs remain, some being standard for the past couple of years.  He is taking into account that many people in the audience have either never seen him before or do not own any of the bootlegs.  

“Sing The Changes” from The Firemen project remains in the set and is a fantastic live number.  “What should we do now?  Anyone know any jokes?” he states afterwards.  The then refers to the next song as “being played for the first time in the United Kingdom.”  He first played “The Night Before” from Help! at Yankee Stadium in July and kept it in the set.  It’s good to hear an obscure Beatle tune.

Abe Laboriel, Jr bashes the hell out of his drum kit during “Let Me Roll It.”  They make the transition into “Foxy Lady” as a coda and McCartney tells the story of seeing Jimi Hendrix play “Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” right after it first came out, and asking if Eric Clapton could tune his guitar afterwards. 

After “Paperback Writer” McCartney plays several piano-based tunes, starting with “The Long And Winding Road.”  He follows with “Come And Get It,” another new addition to the live repertoire.  McCartney wrote the song for Apple act Badfinger in 1969, giving them a hit.  McCartney performed the song live for the first time in Bologna, Italy on November 26th, 2011, and then in Paris, France on November 30th. 

Nineteen Hundred And Eighty Five” is “for the Wings fans.” 

After “Maybe I’m Amazed” McCartney plays more acoustic guitar oriented material.  They attempt “I’ve Just Seen A Face” but there is a mistake and they stop.  “My fault” confesses Paul.  After another false start he jokes off mic “his fault.”

The audience have a good time during “Dance Tonight,” stomping and clapping along.  At the song’s end McCartney thanks Abe for the dance moves.  “He is our choreography” he quips.  A spirited version of “Mrs Vanderbilt” follows.  Paul mentions its debut in the Ukraine in 2008 where it was voted the most popular McCartney song there.  “I’ll take anything” he jokes. 

“Something” is played in the same arrangement as the past couple of years, starting on ukelele.  Afterwards, before starting “Band On The Run,” McCartney plays vocal call-and-response games with the audience, very similar to Freddie Mercury in the eighties. 

“I’ve Got A Feeling” is played with the recently added hard rock coda complete with dueling guitars.  The set ends with two of McCartney’s most soaring anthems, “Let It Be” and “Hey Jude,” along with the pyrotechnics of “Live And Let Die.” 

The encore set lasts for more than a half hour, starting with the strange pairing of “The Word” and the final chorus of “All You Need Is Love.”  They continue with “Day Tripper.”  Ron Wood of The Rolling Stones comes onstage for the encore of “Get Back,” adding his guitar licks to the fray.

After a pause, he starts the second encore set with “Yesterday,” followed by a raucous “Helter Skelter” and “Golden Slumbers” / “Carry That Weight” and “The End” from Abbey Road.  It is fitting that the ending musical statement of The Beatles on their final album should also bring the long marathon performance to a close. 

Paul McCartney was named the millennium’s greatest composer by BBC readers in 1999 and he’s shown no signs of slowing down in the intervening twelve years.  Over the course of a two and a half hour concert he gives a review of some of the greatest songs ever written.  There can be some quibbling over the setlist.  I’d love to hear  “Take It Away” from Tug Of War or something from his nineties output (he completely skips over this decade).  But ultimately every McCartney performance is satisfying on many levels.

On The Run In London is packaged in a thick jewel case with many photos from the show including shots of Ron Wood onstage with McCartney.  It’s a very nice release worth having.   

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