Paul McCartney– Live at RDS, Dublin, June 12th, 2010

Paul McCartney likes to get back: Mark Ronson- esque remixes of Beatles songs keep his audience content in anticipation of the main attraction and a homage of Beatles memorabilia adorns stage screens. That McCartney is dressed in a Sullivan suit and Chelsea boots as he strides on stage with a simple, stripped-down band, is no coincidence. There are even lava lamps atop the keyboard player’s stack.

Homage and nostalgia informs the show throughout: ‘Let Me Roll It’ ends with a coda of Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Foxy Lady’ and before beginning ‘The Long and Winding Road’, McCartney recounts the time that he “ran into Hendrix in the ’60s…he was a very, very humble guy”. Add to this a version of George Harrison’s ‘Something’ on ukulele and a heartbreaking ‘Here Today’, with McCartney’s falsetto echoing that of Thom Yorke’s, and the mood of the night is both elegiac and certainly one of veiled melancholy. McCartney’s preamble to ‘Here Today’ is in keeping with the tone of the show and he advises audience members to “say what you mean to say to someone; don’t wait until it’s too late” and dedicates the song to “The Lennon boy”.

The obligatory Paddywhackery and banter ensues throughout with McCartney introducing himself “Is mise Paul McCartney, go raibh maith agat!” What follows, however, is a thunderous, faithful rendition of “All My Loving”, complete with images of the Fab Four from the “A Hard Days Night” movie. It’s so convincing that it could have easily been a disc from the recent Beatles reissues.

The nostalgic tone is occasionally broken and we’re treated to ‘Highway’ and ‘Sing the Changes’, both taken from The Fireman’s Electronic Arguments, McCartney’s criminally overlooked 2008 album, which he co- wrote and co- produced with artist / producer Youth. During ‘Sing the Changes’, digital images of U.S. President Barack Obama are projected on- screen. Having played at The White House for President Obama prior to his Dublin date- during which he serenaded First Lady Michelle Obama with ‘Michelle’- McCartney claims that “it’s fitting that the gig after The White House should be Dublin”.

Some may find that McCartney’s set is too formulaic: there is an opening set of rock songs, followed by mid- tempo piano- rock songs, followed by an acoustic set and ending on rock songs. This, though, matters little. What is most evident by the night’s conclusion is that McCartney’s versatility as a songwriter equals that of his role as a performer. He can let loose, make noise and explore his more bombastic side (‘Live and Let Die’, ‘Helter Skelter’) or effortlessly have a stadium in the palm of his hand (‘Blackbird’, ‘Here Today’).

Most telling of all is a sobering performance of ‘Yesterday’. One line, in particular, stands out: ‘I’m not half the man I used to be’. As 67 year- old Paul McCartney leaves the stage after a set that clocks in at 2hrs 45mins, a near- capacity RDS begs to differ.

Setlist for Paul McCartney, Live at RDS, Dublin, June 12, 2010 

1. Venus and Mars / Rockshow
2. Jet
3. All My Loving
4. Letting Go
5. Got To Get You Into My Life
6. Highway
7. Let Me Roll It
8. The Long And Winding Road
9. Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five
10. Let -Em In
11. My Love
12. I’m Looking Through You
13. Two Of Us
14. Blackbird
15. Here Today
16. Dance Tonight
17. Mrs Vandebilt
18. Eleanor Rigby
19. Something
20. Sing The Changes
21. Band On The Run
22. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
23. Back In The USSR
24. I’ve Got A Feeling
25. Paperback Writer
26. A Day In The Life / Give Peace A Chance
27. Let It Be
28. Live And Let Die
29. Hey Jude

30. Day Tripper
31. Lady Madonna
32. Get Back

2nd Encore
33. Yesterday
34. Helter Skelter
35. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band / The End

Originally published on

©  Philip Cummins. All rights reserved.

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