Concert Review: Paul McCartney (PNC Arena)

Paul McCartney has been performing for over sixty years with the Quarrymen, the Beatles, Wings, and as a solo artist, so it would be diffi...

Paul McCartney has been performing for over sixty years with the Quarrymen, the Beatles, Wings, and as a solo artist, so it would be difficult to condense his career down to one concert. But dang if he didn't do a phenomenal job in his amazing, nearly three-hour set on Monday night at Raleigh's PNC Arena that touched on every aspect of his amazing career.

Like most of the music-loving public, I have been a Paul McCartney fan forever. His songs call back significant memories in my life; we even played one at our wedding reception. However, I had never seen him live until Monday. I now deeply regret not seeing him sooner and more often and am actually hoping to see him again on Thursday night in Greenville, SC.

Why? Despite being 76 years old, the man puts on an incredible show, a performance that shames artists a third his age. True, he's not doing backflips onstage, but he's lively, an incredible musician, funny, interacts with the audience and reads their signs, and while he might've been a bit under the weather (or maybe it was our notorious North Carolina pollen getting to him?) because he did break his no-water-drinking rule while performing, Paul sounded superb.

His backing band was tight and complemented McCartney well. Highly animated and entertaining drummer Abe Laboriel Jr. almost stole the show perched behind McCartney's head for most of the evening. Paul moved from bass to electric guitar to piano to acoustic guitar to mandolin to ukulele. And then there were the songs!

The problem with having such an illustrious career is that unless you play a six-day set, you're going to have to omit certain songs. Sure, there was no "Penny Lane," no "Yesterday." But there were great Beatles songs like "Let It Be," "Hey Jude," "Something," and one my favorite favorites from the night, "Helter Skelter." There were solo numbers like "My Valentine," a song dedicated to his wife that was backed by a video of Natalie Portman and Johnny Depp signing the song. There were classic Wings songs like "Let 'Em In," "Band On The Run," and "Live And Let Die." Heck he even threw in a bit of Jimi Hendrix's "Foxy Lady," which he followed up with an amusing story of Hendrix learning Sgt. Pepper's in a weekend, performing it onstage, and then asking Eric Clapton to come up and tune his guitar (he refused).

Simply put, Paul McCartney's Freshen Up tour is an amazing show. We loved every middle of it and so did the rest of the sold-out crowd. We highly recommend you attend one of his few remaining shows! Here are the remaining dates, which includes a South Carolina show on Thursday night:

05.30.19 Bon Secours Wellness Arena, Greenville, SC
06.01.19 Rupp Arena, Lexington, KY
06.03.19 Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, Fort Wayne, IN
06.06.19 Kohl Center, Madison, WI
06.08.19 Lambeau Field, Green Bay, WI
06.11.19 TaxSlayer Center, Moline, IL
06.14.19 Globe Life Park, Arlington, TX
06.22.19 Petco Park, San Diego, CA
06.26.19 Talking Stick Resort Arena, Phoenix, AZ
06.28.19 T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, NV
06.29.19 T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, NV
07.06.19 BC Place, Vancouver
07.10.19 SAP Center, San Jose, CA
07.13.19 Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, CA



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  1. I've been listening to him for 50 years. Never knew he could play as well as he did at PNC. His voice is faltering, however. Broke numerous times. Maybe it was the "pollen", or a cold, or something else, but it happened just about whenever he went to even a medium-high range. If it wasn't sickness, maybe he should consider pulling back.



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Strange Carolinas is the Travelogue Of The Offbeat, a wry look at the interesting, unique, and offbeat roadside attractions, people, music, art, food, and festivals in North and South Carolina.


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