Paul McCartney – Viva Joint (Piccadilly Circus PCCD-63/64)

Viva Joint (Piccadilly Circus PCCD-63/64)

The New Joint Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas NV – April 19th, 2009

Disc 1 (79:41):  Opening SE, Drive My Car, Jet, Only Mama Knows, Flaming Pie, Got To Get You Into My Life, Let Me Roll It – Foxy Lady, Highway, Baby Face, The Long And Winding Road, My Love, Blackbird, Here Today, Dance Tonight, Calico Skies, Mrs.Vanderbilt, Eleanor Rigby, Sing The Changes

Disc 2 (79:18):  Band On The Run, Back In The U.S.S.R., Something, I Got A Feeling, Paperback Writer, A Day In The Life - Give Peace A Chance, Let It Be, Live And Let Die, Hey Jude, Can’t Buy Me Love, Lady Madonna, I Saw Her Standing There, Yesterday, Helter Skelter, Get Back, Sgt.Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band reprise – The End

The Joint, the Hard Rock concert hall in Las Vegas, hit the jackpot by getting Paul McCartney to reopen the venue after its multi-million dollar makeover…

Fresh from his popular Coachella Show, Paul McCartney followed up with a set at the New Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. The 4000 tickets sold out in 7 seconds…

We are afforded the 9:47 minute recorded build-up to this excellent audience Piccadilly Circus label release. The recording is a little flat featuring a bright and more accentuated high end with solid gain and no distortion.  The set list varied ever so slightly from the preceding 4-17-09 Coachella show with “Birthday” dropped off and replaced with a brief “Baby Face” and “I Saw Her Standing There”.  The audience buzz was electric and clearly heard in the background of just about every track. “Let Me Roll It – Foxy Lady” was played with an edge and given the additional finishing touch at the 4:31 minute mark through 5:34: “A little tribute to Jimmy there” as McCartney went even further to describe a 10 minute bootlegged version that Hendrix played of the “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” single on that Sunday evening immediately following the Friday release of that Beatles album. “Highway” was the first of the heavier sounding tracks from his new Fireman album which was well received by the audience. Huge applause followed a solid “The Long And Winding Road’. The harmonies blended well on a deserving 4:03 “My Love” featuring strong instrumentation accompaniment with McCartney stating: “Thank you, thank you. Love is everywhere”. The stage banter was pretty much identical to that of Coachella. “Dance Tonight” sounded like a good food-stomping track which reminded me of Paul & Linda’s “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey”. “Mrs. Vanderbilt” could have benefitted from more felt bass with this spirited version that kicked into higher gear at the 4:00 minute mark. “Sing The Changes” was the 2nd driving track from Macca’s new Fireman release that has just continued to grow on me with repeated listens and exhibited effective instrumentation  especially from Abe and well-blended harmonies. It sounds like a typical U2 track with an “edge” but with more melodic infusion.

The audience was at a fever pitch following “Band On The Run” + “Back In The U.S.S.R”. Macca sounded more comfortable with a 4;00 minute “Something” which went electric at 1:32 featuring great guitar work and some deeper felt bass notes. McCartney, in my opinion, has finally adopted this Harrison track which was well-received. A nice transition followed  with a 4:05 “I’ve Got A Feeling” which the band really got into. The “new” ending resulted in the band taking off through to the 5:43 mark. “Paperback Writer’ was re-worked and highly energized. It’s always a good sign when McCartney let’s the music do the talking… “A Day In The Life – Give Peace A Chance” offered a more subtle transition compared with the Coachella version mentioned in my CMR review. This 2nd disc literally kicked the concert into higher gear. It was plainly evident that the band practiced the 3:44 “Let It Be” as they came close to replicating the original album track which was greeted with good crowd cheer. I can tell the difference when McCartney performs this track with other supporting musicians as opposed to playing it with his current long-standing band. The sudden fireworks explosion on “Live And Let Die” really jolted the crowd. This audience recording, however, does not capture the full impact of this performance. The 2nd fireworks blast caught me by surprise at 3:02 and ended with a 3rd blast. With the 7:00 “Hey Jude”, I felt that McCartney nailed down the timing lending to the impact of the original album track. McCartney’s timing was right on for the entire show which I actually first picked up on with my listen to his 4-17-09 Coachella performance.

The first encore, “Can’t Buy Me Love”, sounded so much closer to the original. Macca sounded good on “Lady Madonna” measuring his vocal leads with his more natural sounding sense of urgency. He was actually leading ahead of his band in a good way. The flatness of this excellent audience recording was more apparent with the 3:02 “I Saw Her Standing There”. The 2nd encore kicked off with a 2:07 “Yesterday” with Macca’s timing spot on making all the difference in the world. He added a little bit of unrehearsed levity explaining afterwards that he recalled that about 3 of the 10 of the so-called best covers of “Yesterday” featured an exaggerated vocal twist which he demonstrated very effectively for the amused audience. “Helter Skelter” tore the roof off as they really kicked it. This particular 3:12 track made me crave for a soundboard source of this show and McCartney lead the band through their “improvised'” ending up to the 4:04 mark. Band introductions were offered in a collective mode following “Get Back”. A raucous “The End'” was featured in the 4:30 “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – The End” medley with deeper bass lines lending to a powerful finish as McCartney stated: “Thank you. It was our pleasure and we’ll see you next time”.

The 4-17-09 Coachella concert was unique and I suggest accessing the CMR posted review for further clarification. I took a liking to both sources of the Piccadilly Circus label release of that show as compared with the more flat sounding excellent audience recording of PCCD-63/64. The performance, however, for the latter might have even been better, hard as it is to believe, and all things considered. PCCD-65/66/67 was a more enjoyable listen for me primarily because of the improved fidelity and the freshness of hearing this revamped set list. There is no doubt, however, that McCartney and his band have matured and sound like one cohesive well-timed unit with pretty much anything they touch now.

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