Bob Gannon, who has seen 110 Paul McCartney shows, says that after seeing his second U.S. show in Pittsburgh, there's no doubt McCartney is back in action.
“The big question by fans coming to these early shows is how Paul looks, feels, sings and performs after his illness,” Gannon told Beatles Examiner. “Well, at least early on, the question has been answered in a quite resounding fashion. After playing a 15-song sound check in which his voice sounded stellar, he came out and played a 37-song set in front of the Pittsburgh crowd who were in full swing.
“Not only did Paul look good, his voice was in especially fine form as he belted out song after song over 3 hours. Watching this performance would certainly make you ask yourself, 'Was this guy really sick?' because there was certainly no sign of it. Of course this is only the second show and we will see if there will be any lingering effects but it certainly does not look like it so far. A lot of smiles onstage as Paul and band have returned to doing the thing they love to do...perform!”
Gannon says McCartney's birthday tribute to Ringo was special. “A nice moment was when Paul gave Ringo a shout out for his birthday and played some of 'Yellow Submarine' as a big yellow submarine appeared on screen. He also informed the crowd that this day was somebody else important's birthday...his dad!!! He then thanked both of their mothers for having them!
“He also was telling the story about how all of the signs make it difficult for him to concentrate on lyrics and chords. He then started looking around at the signs in the audience and picked one out, 'Will you sign my butt,' which he immediately answered "No." After the crowd laughed Paul looked back at them and said, 'Well let me see it first, and then assumed a go ahead and show me posture before letting them off the hook.”
The normally quiet song “Yesterday” was interrupted with some noise, he said. “While Paul was playing 'Yesterday' the crowd became very raucous and cheering quite loudly. Paul kind of looked puzzled and glanced over at the big screen to see that there was a close up of his guitar with the Detroit Red Wings logo and the home town Pittsburgh Penguins logo on it that he put on the guitar four years ago when he opened the Consul Center.”
Gannon says that at the Pittsburgh sound check McCartney arrived late. “He walked in and greeted the members of the band and then the audience. He then played the following songs: Jam, “Matchbox,” “One After 909,” “Flaming Pie,” “Drive My Car,” “Things We Said Today,” “C Moon,” “Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On,” “Alligator,” “Every Night,” “Midnight Special,” “Ram On,” “Bluebird,” “Queenie Eye” and “Lady Madonna.”
He says Chicago was hot, both with the weather and the heat generated by the show. “Not since the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 had it been so hot here, but on this day Paul McCartney generated enough heat to make the United Center spontaneously combust. Paul and band were in top form and the Chicago crowd was right there with them.
The Chicago crowd was very enthusiastic, he said. “Definitely one of the better shows and better audiences that I've sat in. The crowd was loud and in swing from beginning to end! Once again, Paul's voice was in really good form and he just got better and better as the show went on. Paul and band had smiles glued to their faces and Paul thanked the audience several times for their enthusiasm. Paul said that he always liked Chicago because he remembers his father playing and singing 'Chicago, Chicago,' but unfortunately he didn't go further into the song!! Would have been fun.
“One of the signs he picked out welcomed Paul to the home of the Chicago Black Hawks which got a resounding cheer from the home crowd! Nothing changed in the set list from Pittsburgh other that "Yellow Submarine" was taken out. Some new graphics on the big screen were cool. The Chicago crowd were better with the newer songs than in Pittsburgh, but unfortunately most folks around me did not know the words. Nancy was about two rows in front of me on the aisle. I could see her singing along. It was a great show.” Tickets for U.S. shows available here and here.