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Paul McCartney – One On One In Paris (No label)

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Intro / A Hard Day’s Night / Save Us / Can’t Buy Me Love / Letting Go / Temporary Secretary / Let Me Roll It + Foxy Lady / I’ve Got a Feeling / My Valentine / Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five / Here, There and Everywhere / Maybe I’m Amazed (49:22)
We Can Work It Out / In Spite of All the Danger / You Won’t See Me / Love Me Do / And I Love Her / Blackbird / Here Today / Give Peace a Chance / Queenie Eye / New / The Fool on the Hill / Lady Madonna / FourFiveSeconds / Michelle / Eleanor Rigby / Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite! (54:31)
Something / Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da / Band on the Run / Back in the U.S.S.R. / Let It Be / Live and Let Die / Hey Jude / Yesterday / Hi, Hi, Hi / Birthday / Golden Slumbers / Carry That Weight / The End (65:11)

From one of the first few concerts of Paul McCartney’s never ending tour, this year re-titled ‘One One One’ (The name for which reminds me of a workplace appraisal rather than the fun it should be) the No Label gang bring us a triple set from Macca’s show in Paris at the Accor Hotels Arena. A very good audience recording but at times it shows a little sign of being overblown, like listening on an old transistor radio – I played about with the equalisation on my stereo to flatten it out a little which helped (drawing up the bass, flattening down the treble) but there’s still a little distance between taper and stage.

Paul’s not having a great night either as he already sounds a bit weak, his voice wobbling a little under a less than perfect recording – Maybe it’s something in the air but I have denied that his voice is getting increasing more wavery before. This time, I might just have to accept that what I hear is par for the course.
The set list is one of the most varied that Macca has played in a while – all morphed from the previous of course but there are some nice twists in there too – Wing’s ‘Letting Go’, 1980’s ‘Temporary Secretary’ and his collaboration with two of the hottest acts in pop right now (G*d help us) Kanye and Rhianna, ‘FourFiveSeconds’ alongside his latest album are pleasing to hear as opposed to breaks for the bar – Thankfully, Macca is getting a grip on the pieces that he wants to play as opposed to filling his list with crowd pleasers one and all. This adds a bit more meat to his convictions and thankfully proves him right about what he can do, not what he should do for us (IE: The not quite as obsessive fan) but the stories are a bit hackneyed – Is it time for a new set of memories, Paul?

A fairly grand old show – there are a few wobbly moments in there (Can you hear me ‘My Valentine’?) – We start with a good couple of minutes of the megamix that proceeded Macca’s concert on the One on One tours – ‘Junior’s Farm’ melds in to a choral version of ‘The End’ to which the band enter on to the stage. It’s a funny set up this as there’s a good few seconds of dead silence before the band kick in to an over fussy ‘AHDN’ – The sound is great but Abe’s paddling bongos are far too frustratingly over cooked and take away from the overall quality of the track. ‘Can’t By Me Love’ sounds, under these circumstances, like Paul is a bit weather beaten and tour worn.

‘Here, There And Everywhere’ is a little too mawkish with it’s fake strings. Failing to the “Paul has lost his voice” category, if you’re on that club, ‘Maybe I’m Amazed’ certainly gives you the reason to fold your arms, nod and say, ‘Well, I told you so”. I found ‘We Can Work It Out’ to fall the same way as despite a strong presentation, it’s just too slow.

However, ‘Letting Go’ is a great diversion – I never truly loved this song and it wouldn’t reach my Spotify playlist of must play Macca-trax generally, unturfed from mothballs though, I found myself digging it a little more. ‘Let Me Roll it’ is a solid fave of mine – despite protestations that Paul’s voice is fading a little, I mainly think that theres life in him yet (See above). I’ll admit, my toes curled from time to time as he missed the big spots a couple of times here but it’s still an amazing feat for a man of his age to pull off.

Same with it’s follow up, ‘I’ve Got A Feeling’, long missing from a spot in Paul’s playlist, tonight’s rendition is stronger than most things I’ve heard from him in a while (Even if he does struggle to keep up with his own lyrics at one point), same for ‘Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five’. Long languishing on the back of “Band On The Run”, this band, I’ll admit it, bring it to life again once more.

‘In Spite Of All The Danger’ is lovely. Avoiding all the banality of an oft’ repeated Beatles tune, turning this in to a call and response with the crowd and including the cute, prehistoric harmonies, which the crowd lap up, is delightful. I also enjoyed the stripping back of ‘You Won’t See Me’. Building blocks in to the finished article was a lovely idea, not new but appreciatively different for Macca. ‘Here Today’ followed by ‘Give Peace A Chance’ (Prompted by the crowd) gives Macca a chance (sorry) to pay due respects to John – At least his voice now sounds fragile enough for it’s delivery.

The two “New” tracks that follow, I love. Despite anyones disapproval of this late stage album, dancing around different producers worked for him and the songs are enough for me to have breathed a sigh of relief for Macca not to have given up his talent for gone.

‘Lady Madonna’ I dropped in to the enjoyable category – slower for sure – still a fantastic track nearly 50 years later. I was put of by the sax solo a bit though – We’ve done well enough so far without THAT, thank you. Not now. The afore mentioned ‘FourFiveSeconds’ does a lot better with out the other two, a Paul McCartney cover is much stronger for me at least and, really, not a bad track at all. I might believe the lyrics a little more were Paul not 70-odd years old but for that ..

Dug out for the citizens of Paris, ‘Michelle’ was a special surprise for the crowd. We’ve to expect nothing less really but it is really a solid rendition and nothing too taxing on the voice. The same for ‘Something’, Paul does his best not to tear his voice apart by staying on the lower register.

Of course, the best is all set for the latter half of the set, apart from Let It Be (Yeah, I know, it’s a tribute to his parents, a tribute and possibly relief to all the folk who have lost someone in the same conditions) which I could do without hearing again, and the bands version of ‘La Marseillaise’ (Where else would do?), things are golden. Why wasn’t Macca playing some of these tracks years ago – That said, without streaming to guide tastes and inform what people were listening to, some of these tracks may still have been considered ‘cult’ classics)

Another good release from the No Label set up. If that intro wasn’t there right at the beginning or the proposal after ‘Yesterday’ (It would be nice for the video that we don’t have but this couple might buy the bootleg) then this selection might have fit over 2 disks but this set should be a little more affordable than some of the Japanese sets that get produced.

Great artwork that represents the tour as usual with some amazing photography (No pixelation to be seen at least) – You can make up your own minds about this release – Hardly essential, only slight deviations from the set from the past few years and I might have been persuaded to have waited for a recording from Philadelphia at least (Where the band played homage to Prince) but once I got used to the recording, I was happy with what I heard.

If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)

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