Paul McCartney Good Evening New York City Review

Live. Released 2009.  

BBC Review

He could turn up and play on a washboard and it'd still be worth 20 quid.

Will Dean 2009

It's probably fair to say that, for non-baseball fans, Shea Stadium is associated more with The Beatles’ record-breaking 1965 gig there than the exploits of Mike Piazza and the rest of the New York Mets. When the historic venue closed in 2008 with a gig by Billy Joel, Paul McCartney flew in especially to sing with him.

When Citi Field, the Met's recession-defying new stadium, announced its first musical act, it wasn't tremendously surprising that McCartney was going to be declaring the building open. In July 2009, Britain's greatest living musician (heck, person) entertained 120,000 New Yorkers with a career-straddling set of Beatles classics, Wings favourites (both of them) and solo tracks.

Anyone who saw McCartney's on his huge Back in the World tour will know what to expect from his modern show. The band, featuring Rusty Anderson, Brian Ray and Abe Laboriel Jr, is wildly accomplished, giving a slick stadium-rock edge to tracks that, when The Beatles played Shea, would have been barely heard through the stadium's PA. But that's not always a great thing, as some period studio shakiness is lost. But it's always a joy to hear a real Beatle singing real Beatles songs, and during I'm Down some video trickery even allows Macca to duet with John and George, as they play the same song at the 1965 Shea show.

There are tributes to old pals past – Here Today for John and Something for George ("I played this to George, and I'm not sure he was very impressed"). Even if you've seen him do these things ten times before, it's still nearly enough to bring a tear to your eye.

As the undying thirst for Beatles media proves, these songs are both for everyone and timeless – just look at the diversity of attendees captured enthralled on the DVD. And then look at the last ten selections of this mammoth 33-song set: that kind of closing chapter to a show doesn't need words here telling you how great it is.

Always incredibly hard-working, McCartney never relents here – his patter isn't cool, but it absolutely doesn't matter, as he could turn up and play on a washboard and it'd still be worth 20 quid. Good Evening… is a wonderful souvenir for those who were there or who've seen his tour over the last few months, and a perfectly pleasant second-hand experience for those who weren't.

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