Paul McCartney “Red Light Entertainment – Japan Tour 2013” (Broad Disk Network BD001CD1/2)
CD ONE 1. The Show Opening 2. Eight Days A Week 3. Save Us 4. All My Loving 5. Listen To What The Man Said 6. Let Me Roll It 7. Paperback Writer 8. My Valentine 9. Nineteen Hundred And Eighty-Five 10. The Long And Winding Road 11. Maybe I’m Amazed 12. I’ve Just Seen A Face 13. We Can Work It Out 14. Another Day 15. And I Love Her 16. Blackbird 17. Here Today 18. New 19. Queenie Eye 20. Lady Madonna 21. All Together Now (76:50)
CD TWO 1. Lovely Rita 2. Everybody Out There 3. Eleanor Rigby 4. Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite! 5. Something 6. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da 7. Band On The Run 8. Back In The U.S.S.R. 9. Let It Be 10. Live And Let Die 11. Hey Jude 12. Day Tripper 13. Hi, Hi, Hi 14. Get Back 15. Yesterday 16. Helter Skelter 17. Golden Slumbers / Carry That Weight / The End 18. The Show Ending (79:38)
Live At Tokyo Dome, Tokyo, Japan November 21st 2013
The Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton and Paul McCartney tours of the Far East in late 2013 / early 2014 spawned a glut of fantastically recorded audience recordings, the Macca shows going one step further and benefiting from the appearance of several rehearsal tapes recorded in a near silent venue, audience wise at least.
Upping the stakes on the other releases is a soundboard of McCartney’s show at the Tokyo Dome on the 21st of November. Following Macca’s European and U.S. promotions, Paul arrived in the land of the rising sun for the first time since 2002 with no little fanfare and played 6 shows between Tokyo, Osaka and Fukoka.
The Japanese shows followed the standard, post ‘New’, “Out There!” tour set list after the release of the album, replacing a couple of Beatles or Wings tracks and promoting the ‘singles’ (As far as they go nowadays at least) instead. An grand affair, full histrionics abound, Macca noisily punching his weight around.
The first disk opens with a slowed down, almost reverential version of the coda to “The End”, or rather, the lyrics to it before we kick in to to the bouncy steps of “Eight Days A Week”, the tours standard opening closely followed by a chugging “Save Us”, relentless and properly set for the stage, it boots up the show and give a nice unexpected kick for the fans who may be bored of another repeated, reheated Wings track.
Some wonderful Japanese precedes “All My Loving”, Paul has been swatting up obviously, to which the crowd reply favourably and ecstatically but after, well, there’s more. The long flight to the Far East has obviously given Paul a little more time to beef up his linguistics. Another thing that has been given a bit of a spruce is an urgent, tinkering, “Listen To What The Man Said”, almost afro-pop as opposed to dreamy stroll, the cow bell gets a bit of a hammering.
“Let Me Roll It” lends a bit of a buff up too with a squelchy, psychedelic fabrication added to it’s opening chords, under the sound of the recording it sounds like a heavyweight contender, twined with a longer that usual “Foxey Lady” jam at the end, it’s a contender for effort of the night.
Paul proceeds to fumble with his english before “Paperback Writer”, obviously mindful of trying to punctuate his sentences with his pidgin-Japanese, he falls around all over trying to grasp his words. He turn’s is around almost eloquently though and maybe it’s because of this, then the song itself turns in to an out and out onslaught, aping Paul’s even rockier missives. Honestly, he couldn’t have wrung a lot of this out of ‘Helter Skelter’.
Now, I’d usually skip past “My Valentine” as if it was ‘Magnito And Titanium Man’, it isn’t my favourite score of his but despite the slightly mawkish instrumental section in the middle, this soundboard is able to offer a little redemption to it and despite myself, I was happy to listen to it all the way through. A quick rock through “Nineteen Hundred And Eighty-Five” was the balm though, and this harmonic rocker sets the men against the boys. Tough, crazy and beatific, bollocks to anyone who says that his voice isn’t what it was, Paul still tears it up.
After a little more Japanese (That’s a lot of Rosetta Stoning going on!), “Maybe I’m Amazed” makes an appearance – one of the centuries most romantic love songs, Paul still means it after all these years, whether he’s still singing it for the same muse, the other or both, his puppy dog yelps and chest-bursting cries are nothing less than affecting.
“I’ve Just Seen A Face” and “We Can Work It Out” skiffle shufflers that they are, are another set of hair-raisers of a different kind, a little less easy to dance to nowadays but they sprinkle their Beatle magic around the stadium.
With a little audience baiting and after promising a party before unleashing the nights two tamest songs, Paul tells his time honoured story about “Blackbird”. Hardened Beatle fanatics have heard it may times before so when the song starts, it’s much less of a surprise than it could be. It’s here where Paul’s voice sounds at it’s weakest – it’s still a strong voice but, as I mentioned before, it quavers beneath the weight of going acoustic, Macca still gamely employs a high note but it’s a shot in the dark as to where it lands.
Paul’s tribute to John is in Japanese prior to “Here Today”, a great time for reflection and he pulls it off beautifully.
Promotion time again with “New”, the parping, ‘Penny Lane’ sound alike is pure McCartney, sprinkled with a couple of ad-libbed catcalls and played side by side with “Queenie Eye”, proves Paul’s ever dedicated romance with the melody remains undiminished. They’re a great duo together. As the latter fades out, it becomes linked with another classic, “Lady Madonna”. Rabble rousing, sing along from the golden age, it’s a guaranteed crowd pleaser.
Disk two (Disk one ended with “All Together Now”, No soundboards are going to make me mention that damn thing.) begins with “Lovely Rita”, a lively, breezy version customised with a little comb-kazoo action and rinkydink piano. Paul chuckles to himself at the ‘Sitting on the sofa with a sister or two’ line too (None of that this time, jailbird!)
“Everybody Out There” has been mentioned as one of the songs that Paul would love to play live, it’s very McCartney circa ‘Flaming Pie’, but is a little insipid in comparison to the others played tonight from the album. Still, let’s not let that get in the way of a good old chant along and audience interaction.
Following a delicate, “Eleanor Rigby” (Asong that comes from “Sgt. Pepper’s ..” apparently) there’s another trip back in time with “Being For The Benefit of Mr. Kite”, always nice to hear now Paul can actively reproduce it on stage, calope samples, jangles and bells, as it’s still in it’s live infancy, it still sounds good and new.
There then follows Paul’s tribute to George by way of handing him back his personal best song, a comically plodding “Something” which bursts in to life properly in it’s second half. Swooping, gleaming and almost authentically built to sound like it was made that way, it couldn’t be much of a better thumbs up to it’s author.
“Band On The Run” pretty much leads the way in to the final selection of the show, hearing it serves to build on Macca’s reputation for the classics and with this mashy, grinding song cycle we’re lead merrily through some great pop action as the song flows almost straight in to a rumbling “Back In The U.S.S.R.”, a useful double header.
“Let It Be” is the first in the line of E-cigarettes aloft wavers, seating Macca back at the piano before some of the stages own pyrotechnics raise a huge cheer from the band and Paul lets rip at the keys for “Live And Let Die” while playing at being Jerry Lee Lewis for a while, letting his band play out some crazy guitar lines.
If he’s sat at the piano, why not stop for, let’s say, “Hey Jude”? Go on then. There’s not much to be said for this event that no one has said before but having a McCartney concert without it would be a massive bust.
In to the final laps, “Day Tripper” builds up the electric level, Abe drumming up a wonderful back bone to it all, skittering over the bass like an angry electrical snake, “H, Hi, Hi” continuing the job nicely, the bootleg term in the first line a nice trade off when listening to an illicit recording such as this, “Get Back” bringing it all back home.
“Yesterday” is the final track for swingin’ lovers to sing along to. It may sound wrong now from the mouth of a multi-milionare, 70 year old as it’s hardly “My Way” any more but just like “Hey Jude” it wouldn’t feel right casting it aside.
Here’s an odd choice for an ending though, I’ve always thought, a head shaking rocker from the Beatles most convoluted album, never a single but “Helter Skelter” still marks itself in the annals of Rock history for better or worse. Certainly not a clear choice to have made but a good one.
Finally, the grand medley, the great finale, the blend to end all shows. Paul has scooped “Golden Slumbers / Carry That Weight / The End” from the final few grooves of ‘Abbey Road’ and breathed a new life in to it. It helps having a crackshot, fender bending, groovy new group around him to take the weight (sorry) too but for the big blow at the end of the show, it is perfect.
Show over the firework sprinklers come alive, all in brilliant sound quality but then someone turns off the crowds mikes and, brilliantly enough, the whole thing sounds like a dream. Specifically this time as once the crackle fades all that’s left on is the sound of the bands mikes and so it’s almost like Paul has been rehearsing at Woolton Church Hall to an appreciative audience of two.
This soundboard is fantastic, as I’ve complained about Paul’s official releases being chopped around too much before and, as has also been mentioned, that the official versions often appear overdubbed this is another real deal. File along side the recent HMC soundboards under ‘E’ for excellent.