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Is Paul becoming his own tribute band?
21 September 2013
12.58pm
trcanberra
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I bought the 2009 set "Good Evening New York City" earlier today and was surprised by how many Beatles songs were on it.  When I saw Paul back in 1975 the 2 or 3 Beatles songs he did were jewels in the crown of a wonderful set list of Wings and other solo songs.  Now the solo tracks are in a minority and that got me wondering.  Later I saw this in a Daily Mail article:

"Now, with the wounds healed, his tour shows contain so many [Beatles songs] that his latest group has jokingly been referred to as the ‘Best Beatles Tribute Band in the World’."

I'm wondering, is it a joke, or is it now the way things are?
 
Don't get me wrong, I am on a major Paul kick at the moment, and maybe this is just the time in his life when he is looking back on the whole of his career.  I just hope that the "New" album gets its share of coverage in the shows he plays after its release.  I know it can be very hard for stars who have been around so long, they have a long shadow.  I saw Neil Young a few months back and he took a lot of stick for devoting around half of the time in his concert to his latest album.
 
Just wondering what others think about the songs Paul is choosing to play these days? (and like I said, don't get me wrong, if he comes down this way again I would be lining up to watch).
21 September 2013
1.39pm
unknown
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There was an interview Paul was in once where he said that he doesn't like it when he goes to a concert and the artist only plays their recent songs. He plays a lot of Beatles songs because that's what he thinks his fans want (which is probably true for many). 

Maybe you could say he's his own tribute band, but that's kind of a weird way of putting it. If Paul is his own tribute band, then almost every other artist or band is their own tribute band too. 

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21 September 2013
1.50pm
Ron Nasty
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I will confess pretty much the same view as you, trcanberra. Much as I love Paul, he does seem to have become largely a "Beatles jukebox". I might even go further, and say that it annoys me how little he experiments with his catalogue live. I have to admit that it's been a while since I last saw Paul live, but he sticks too closely to the original arrangements on the records. You know, it'd be nice to have him perform, say, something like the bluesier versions of Helter Skelter and Can't Buy Me Love.

It's one of the reasons I love someone like Dylan live. You may know every song in the set, though he regularly chucks in unexpected surprises (Bobby's version of the Stones Brown Sugar is an eye-opener, and it's lovely when he pulls out Something in tribute to his friend), you never know how he is going to play them. I wish Paul would do more of that.

"I only said we were bigger than Rod... and now there's all this!" Ron Nasty
21 September 2013
1.54pm
trcanberra
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unknown said
There was an interview Paul was in once where he said that he doesn't like it when he goes to a concert and the artist only plays their recent songs. He plays a lot of Beatles songs because that's what he thinks his fans want (which is probably true for many). 

Maybe you could say he's his own tribute band, but that's kind of a weird way of putting it. If Paul is his own tribute band, then almost every other artist or band is their own tribute band too. 

I was using the term in the sense that often performers seem to cross an invisible line where they go from being an innovator to a reproducer, locked in a time warp like the Beach Boys - where people only want to hear older material.  I have no doubt that many fans love the Beatles stuff (I know I do), I'm just wondering about the balance.  As I say, I was just surprised to see the set list was 2/3 the first ten years of his career, and only 1/3 the next 40 - important as that first ten was.

 

21 September 2013
5.48pm
SatanHimself
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Gene Simmons of KISS once stated in an interview something to the effect that while there are a certain number of hardcore fans of the albums who would love to hear the "deeper cuts" and unappreciated gems, at the end of the day the majority of the concert audience for any "legacy" act is the casual fan who really just want to hear a collection of greatest hits.

So while it'd be great to hear Paul do more interesting solo material from the last 25 years, today's audience would be disappointed if he cut stuff like "Blackbird" and "Hello Goodbye" in favour of more recent stuff like "Young Boy" and "Jenny Wren".

And as much as I hate to use the term when it comes to any act I enjoy...  Paul now tours on the nostalgia circuit.  You'll get one or two obligatory songs from his most recent release, but after that it's mostly just the hits.

E is for 'Ergent'.
21 September 2013
6.07pm
meanmistermustard
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Whilst it may get frustrating to see Paul sing the same songs every tour, and im one who wishes he didn't, a large percentage who go to see him will be expecting the big Beatles tracks and would be disappointed if Paul didn't. And Paul has always aimed to please. Not many who attend will know even some of the deeper Wings/solo material, he did Letting Go in Glasgow and nearly everyone around me had no idea what song it was and either stood up chatting to a mate or sat down.

Wait for the wave of negative reactions if Paul does a small handful of tracks from New - unless its solely a concert to promote the release. Its a trap that befalls many - give us the hits.

 

He told us not to get overwhelmed by grief and whatever thoughts we have... to keep them happy, because any thoughts we have of him will travel to him wherever he is. (John Lennon - 27/8/67)
21 September 2013
7.11pm
Ron Nasty
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I think it's a trap that many performers allow themselves to fall into. There were plenty of years when Paul wasn't performing many Beatles songs and the audience were still turning up. It wasn't until he started including more Beatles songs in his set that people started expecting more Beatles songs in his sets. He willingly dug the hole for himself and jumped into it wholeheartedly.

Dylan is the only person who is in a similar position to McCartney so far as impact and importance in the '60s goes. Dylan's last concert was on 4 August this year. He played a 15 song, 90 minute set. This is how the set broke down as far as when the songs he performed dated from -1965 (3); 1967 (1); 1975 (2); 1983 (1 -unreleased till 1991); 1997 (1); 2000 (1); 2001 (2); 2009 (1); 2012 (3).

Bobheads are no less demanding, they just accept that Bob will play what Bob wants to play.

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21 September 2013
7.33pm
WETSRoosa
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mja6758 said
I think it's a trap that many performers allow themselves to fall into. There were plenty of years when Paul wasn't performing many Beatles songs and the audience were still turning up. It wasn't until he started including more Beatles songs in his set that people started expecting more Beatles songs in his sets. He willingly dug the hole for himself and jumped into it wholeheartedly.

Dylan is the only person who is in a similar position to McCartney so far as impact and importance in the '60s goes. Dylan's last concert was on 4 August this year. He played a 15 song, 90 minute set. This is how the set broke down as far as when the songs he performed dated from -1965 (3); 1967 (1); 1975 (2); 1983 (1 -unreleased till 1991); 1997 (1); 2000 (1); 2001 (2); 2009 (1); 2012 (3).

Bobheads are no less demanding, they just accept that Bob will play what Bob wants to play.

When I worked in the restaurant business a few years back, an old boss of mine told me the story of how he and his then-wife went to see Bob live in 1979, right after Dylan entered his "Christian" period and was strictly playing the Slow Train Coming tracks. The crowd began booing, and my boss asked a regular concert-goer of Bob's what was up. The guy replied "Bob does whatever the hell Bob wants to do." So yeah, your comment about Bob pretty much nails it. Bob came this way with Willie Nelson a couple of years ago, and had my wife not been heavily pregnant at the time, I might have gone to see it. 

"Daddy, just remember... Mommy's smarter than you. She said so."- My 4 year old
21 September 2013
9.38pm
Funny Paper
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The gold standard, perhaps, of this phenomenon is James Taylor inevitably including an obligatory "Fire and Rain", his signature song of all time, in his sets even now.  He's even referred to this in a couple of song lyrics over the years:

From his song "Money Machine" --

It takes a strong hit from the money machine
Sitting on top, on top of the world
...

When I began the game
See me singing 'bout "fire and rain"
Let me just say it again
I've seen fives and I've seen tens!

Or his song "That's Why I'm Here" --

Oh, fortune and fame's such a curious game
Perfect strangers can call you by name
Pay good money to hear fire and rain
Again and again and again...

Nevertheless, each time JT sings that song, he taps into the original feeling of love and loss for his friend that is the core of the lyrics.  At his "Pull Over" concert in 2003, after he sang it, the reaction from the crowd was such an explosion of love and appreciation, he looked up startled and deeply touched.

 

 

Faded flowers, wait in a jar, till the evening is complete... complete... complete... complete...
21 September 2013
9.56pm
Ron Nasty
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And, of course, Rick(y) Nelson wrote about living up to people's expectations after a bad reception to a show at Madison Square Garden, peopled with some celebs you might recognise.

"I only said we were bigger than Rod... and now there's all this!" Ron Nasty
21 September 2013
11.38pm
trcanberra
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mja6758 said
I think it's a trap that many performers allow themselves to fall into. There were plenty of years when Paul wasn't performing many Beatles songs and the audience were still turning up. It wasn't until he started including more Beatles songs in his set that people started expecting more Beatles songs in his sets. He willingly dug the hole for himself and jumped into it wholeheartedly.

[SNIP].

This reflects my thoughts as well.  Given Paul's age and all he has done over the years I am completely OK with this.

However, I would also like to see him do a tour in smaller venues, clearly advertised as supporting "New" and perhaps calling it "New and Rare" so folks would know that this would not be a 'golden oldies' tour.  He would still get some flack, some concert attendees seem to miss the obvious no matter how clearly presented, but it would be fun - like the pub tours he did with Wings early on.

I'm just dreaming; just as Bob does, Paul of course does what he is happy with doing, and as noted in my OP I'm okay with that.  Thanks for all the comments everyone, this thread has had some good thoughtful discussion of what could have been a touchy subject.

21 September 2013
11.51pm
Ahhh Girl
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mja6758 said
And, of course, Rick(y) Nelson wrote about living up to people's expectations after a bad reception to a show at Madison Square Garden, peopled with some celebs you might recognise.

...

My mom remembers that incident very well. She told me about it recently. Since I got her into talking about and listening to the Beatles with me, I've found out she knows some really interesting stuff she has never shared with me all these years. <-- <-- When I started writing this sentence, I didn't know I would end it that way. That's just how it flowed out.

trcanberra said

However, I would also like to see him do a tour in smaller venues, clearly advertised as supporting "New" and perhaps calling it "New and Rare" so folks would know that this would not be a 'golden oldies' tour.  He would still get some flack, some concert attendees seem to miss the obvious no matter how clearly presented, but it would be fun – like the pub tours he did with Wings early on.

We can dream, can't we?

22 September 2013
12.56am
LongHairedLady
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I wouldn't say that Beatles songs dominate his concerts.  I think he has a very healthy mix.  Sure he plays more Beatles, but that is to be expected. I LOVE Wings almost more than I love the Beatles (I definitely listen to them more), so if anything I would want to hear more Wings at his concerts...  but Paul is a people pleaser, and as an entertainer, he chooses to give the fans what the majority wants.  At his concerts, I can notice how many people don't even MOVE during Wings songs, while they are losing their shit during all of the Beatles songs.  I know a lot of fans like more than just Beatles, but a lot of people at the concert are more there for that.  A whole ton of people left to go to the bathroom during "My Valentine"...  so I really can't blame him for what he chooses to play.  He can't only please his hardcore fans that like his solo/Wings stuff.

If he only cared about himself and what most people want to hear, then he would play mostly his new stuff.  Example:  I saw The Smashing Pumpkins a few years back.  Their new album had just come out.  Billy would play about 5 new songs, followed by one old one.  He did this the entire concert, and it was a drag.  Then at the end of the concert he told us that he wasn't going to play "Disarm" which we all really wanted to hear.  A bunch of people (me included) started giving him the finger and calling him an asshole.  a-hard-days-night-paul-11

"Please don't bring your banjo back, I know where it's been..  I wasn't hardly gone a day, when it became the scene..  Banjos!  Banjos!  All the time, I can't forget that tune..  and if I ever see another banjo, I'm going out and buy a big balloon!"

 

22 September 2013
1.18am
Ron Nasty
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LongHairedLady said
I wouldn't say that Beatles songs dominate his concerts.

See, I would have to disagree. Take his Outside Lands performance. 39 songs. 1 cover of a song he's known since his teens. 12 songs from after the Beatles split. 26 Beatles songs. If that doesn't constitute Beatles songs dominating his setlist, what would?

"I only said we were bigger than Rod... and now there's all this!" Ron Nasty
22 September 2013
2.07am
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This question becomes more complicated if you are a PID believer.

Don't you know? It's gonna be alright. (Shoo-bee-doo-wop)
22 September 2013
2.16am
trcanberra
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mja6758 said

LongHairedLady said
I wouldn't say that Beatles songs dominate his concerts.

See, I would have to disagree. Take his Outside Lands performance. 39 songs. 1 cover of a song he's known since his teens. 12 songs from after the Beatles split. 26 Beatles songs. If that doesn't constitute Beatles songs dominating his setlist, what would?

Which is what prompted me to create this thread.  I would love to see it flipped so that it was 1/3 Beatles and 2/3 solo - but I appreciate that Paul is doing what he likes doing, and long may he do so.

I never thought that any of the Beatles would still be touring by now, so for those of you who manage to see a show I am going to go all *green with envy*.

 

22 September 2013
2.56am
parlance
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The shows are Beatles-heavy, but I agree with LHL that there's a fair balance - particularly right now with the Wings songs added - given the expectations of the general audience. At Outside Lands, most of the audience didn't really wake up until the second half of the show, when it is almost entirely Beatles. Like or not, Paul's solo efforts are uneven, and I think a show for hardcore fans with far fewer Beatles songs is probably best left to venues smaller than festival grounds or arenas, or you might find much of the audience left politely bored.

Or perhaps Paul could do something like Steely Dan where one night he performs an entire album such as Ram and the next night the hits.

parlance

Beware of sadness. It can hit you. It can hurt you. Make you sore and what is more, that is not what you are here for. - George

Check out my fan video for Paul's song "Appreciate" at YouTube and Vimeo.

22 September 2013
4.54am
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Good discussion. I think his performance at the iHeartRadio festival tonight sheds some light on this question. Since this was a young audience who aren't necessarily Paul fans, I was expecting him to totally stick to Beatles hits, since those are most likely to be familiar to everyone. Instead, in an 8 song set, he played 2 Beatles, 1 Wings, and 5 solo (3 from the New album) songs. That suggests to me that the "these people have paid money to see a Beatle" idea is a huge consideration for his usual setlist. But this concert was already sold out before he was even announced as a performer, so I guess he felt he could do whatever he wanted without "letting down" anybody.

22 September 2013
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Sky999
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acmac said
Good discussion. I think his performance at the iHeartRadio festival tonight sheds some light on this question. Since this was a young audience who aren't necessarily Paul fans, I was expecting him to totally stick to Beatles hits, since those are most likely to be familiar to everyone. Instead, in an 8 song set, he played 2 Beatles, 1 Wings, and 5 solo (3 from the New album) songs. That suggests to me that the "these people have paid money to see a Beatle" idea is a huge consideration for his usual setlist. But this concert was already sold out before he was even announced as a performer, so I guess he felt he could do whatever he wanted without "letting down" anybody.

a-hard-days-night-ringo-8Good observation. I was expecting him to sing more Beatley songs, especially since it was younger crowd. I liked the others songs, but then again I'm not everyone else. There were some people dancing, but they didn't start to go crazy unless it was Beatles songs or Live and Let Die. 

22 September 2013
5.36am
Ahhh Girl
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acmac said
Good discussion. I think his performance at the iHeartRadio festival tonight sheds some light on this question. Since this was a young audience who aren't necessarily Paul fans, I was expecting him to totally stick to Beatles hits, since those are most likely to be familiar to everyone. Instead, in an 8 song set, he played 2 Beatles, 1 Wings, and 5 solo (3 from the New album) songs. That suggests to me that the "these people have paid money to see a Beatle" idea is a huge consideration for his usual setlist. But this concert was already sold out before he was even announced as a performer, so I guess he felt he could do whatever he wanted without "letting down" anybody.

I was thinking the **exact** same thing while watching the show.

Then I wondered if it would hurt future sales to his concerts if people kept this performance in the back of their mind and didn't really get his non-Beatles offerings.

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