Beatle Drive

I was surprised to see a Sunday newspaper advert for Paul McCartney’s tour that didn’t have a Sold Out notice over one of his dates.

So having never seen him, thought it about time that I did.

I’ll be honest; growing up McCartney was always portrayed as being a bit naff. Mid 80s to mid 90s was a pretty fallow time for him, and his best days seemed so far away.

Our household was also more Stones, Tamla, Atlantic and Stax than Beatles and Merseybeat, so as a kid I wasn’t exposed to the Beatles’ genius.

But genius it undoubtedly was, and going through a list of Rolling Stone magazine’s top 100 Beatles songs with a colleague recently was especially jaw-dropping. The Long and Winding Road, for instance, is at number 90. They consider The Beatles wrote 89 better songs than that.

If it had been at 90 in a top 100 written by anyone you could argue it was too low, but this was just their own songs.

Anyway, I digress.

The gig was at Birmingham’s Barclaycard Arena – formerly the National Indoor Arena – so required a post-work dash down the M6 which we made with 20 minutes to spare.

A pre-show mix of Beatles cover versions heralded McCartney’s appearance and he delivered a two and threequarter hour history and music lesson. He might as well have put up a big sign at the back saying `Pop Music – This is how you do it’.

His voice stood up terrifically well and his band, for the most part, were unfussy supporting players doing what they do to a very high standard.

Paperback Writer, Lady Madonna, Live and Let Die, Band on the Run, Eleanor Rigby, Yesterday, Helter Skelter, Maybe I’m Amazed, Back in the USSR – I could go on and on.

He finished up with the Abbey Road medley which includes The End, a fitting way to close, and for a legendary figure, he did that legendary status justice.


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