Paul McCartney – Roll The Citi Field 2009 (Piccadilly Circus PCCD-072/073)

Roll The Citi Field 2009 (Piccadilly Circus PCCD-072/073)

Citi Field, Flushing, NY – July 21st, 2009

Disc 1 (78:00):  Drive My Car, Jet, Only Mama Knows, Flaming Pie, Got To Get You Into My Life, Let Me Roll It/Foxy Lady, Highway, The Long And Winding Road, My Love, Blackbird, Here Today, Dance Tonight, Calico Skies, Mrs Vanderbilt, Eleanor Rigby, Sing The Changes, Band On The Run, Back In The USSR 

Disc 2 (79:26):  I’m Down, Something, 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, Day Tripper, Lady Madonna, I Saw Her Standing There, Yesterday, Helter Skelter, Get Back, Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)/The End.  Bonus track, Grammy Awards, Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA – February 8th, 2009:  I Saw Her Standing There

Roll The Citi Field contains the complete July 21st, show at Citi Field.  This is the third of three shows at the venue and this serves as a sequel of sorts to  Rock The Citi Field.  July 21st was added after the first two nights sold out within five minutes.  Piccadilly Circus use a good to very good audience recording of the event.  The taper was sitting a fair distance away from the action and although its a reasonable listen, it’s not up to the standards we’re used for contemporary audience recordings.  Perhaps it’s expecting too much to have perfect stereo DAT recordings for every concert these days and we’ll take what we can get.

After listening to many recordings of Paul McCartney live performances throughout out the years, it is patently obvious that he is the consummate performer.  On any given tour, not only do the set lists remain the same night after night (with very rare exceptions), but his “ad libs” between songs and routines also remain the same.  In 2009 the show has a great balance of Beatles, Wings, and solo hits, all sung in the same arrangements such as the “Foxy Lady” ending for “Let Me Roll It,” the ukulele arrangement of “Something” and the “Day In The Life / Give Peace A Chance” medley.  

His stories and dedications remain the same, so that “My Love” is dedicated to his deceased wife Linda, “Here Today” is about John, and “Blackbird” on this tour is about the 1960’s civil rights movement.  McCartney’s talent is in not only playing the songs correctly each night, but in each show making it sounds fresh, exciting and energetic.  

One savage review posted online slams the performance.  The review states claims that “Paul McCartney seemed tired….McCartney and his band rarely showed the energy cited in reports from Friday’s or Saturday’s shows. … McCartney largely seemed to be going through the motions, as did the band.  His banter was lazy, with the same oft-repeated stories, in a laconic monotone, and the pace of the show and the band’s energy was truly lacking. 

“Sadly McCartney, who lest we forget is 67, just seemed tired or to be phoning it in at many points like this and during the mid-tempo songs.  He was clearly reading the middle section of ‘A Day In The Life’ (which combined with Lennon’s ‘Give Peace A Chance’ provided a touching, mass audience singalong) and the lyrics to ‘Highway’ from his Fireman album, for instance.  And his band clearly takes its lead from McCartney, because they also seemed to be going through the paces for much of the night.”

The reality is this is an excellent performance given additional context by its setting in Citi Field.  Throughout the set Paul makes references to the classic 1965 performance like mentioning how much technology has advanced in sound systems between that and the current performance and asking the audience if they like the new stadium.  The set list is slightly different than in Halifax.  “I’m Down,” played at the first Shea Stadium show in 1965 is included and “Mull Of Kintyre,” a song that was never a hit in the US, is dropped.

Several moments are poignant.  He dedicates “My Love” to Linda whom he reminds the audience was a New Yorker.  This performance of “Here Today” is perhaps the most emotional since he introduced it into the set list several year ago.  At one point it sounds like he breaks down and cries.  Before “Mrs Vanderbilt,” as he has been doing in these shows, he reads some of the banners in the audience and on this night reads one that says:  “Last chance Paul, marry me.” 

What is particularly noteworthy is the long encore set he’s playing on this tour.  Actually, he’s playing two separate encore sets every night.  “Day Tripper,” which was played at every Beatles show from when it was released until they stopped touring in 1966 makes a return to the set list.  It sounds a bit ragged in this show.  The second encore set begins with “Yesterday,” played on acoustic guitar with synthesized violin section.  “Helter Skelter” sounds very violent in this recording.  The show ends with the appropriate “Sgt Pepper’s / The End” medley.  Piccadilly Circus include “I Saw Her Standing There” from the Grammys as a bonus.  The sound quality and performance are excellent but it’s a bit out of place here.  Nevertheless Roll The Citi Field is another commendable effort worth having.     

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