Written by General Jabbo
When the Beatles played Shea Stadium in 1965, it revolutionized the concert industry. Rock bands didn’t play baseball stadiums and though you could barely hear the band over the drone of screaming girls, it set the tone for bands such as The Rolling Stones, The Who, and Led Zeppelin.
Now 44 years later, Shea Stadium is gone, but the Mets have a new stadium and who better than Paul McCartney to christen its concert stage? Captured over three nights at Citi Field in 2009, Good Evening New York City is an excellent document of these historic shows.
Containing two CDs and one DVD, Good Evening New York City offers a healthy cross-section of McCartney classics old and new — from “I Saw Her Standing There” with New York-native Billy Joel guesting on vocals and piano to “Sing the Changes” from McCartney’s critically acclaimed Fireman album, Electric Arguments — the latter featuring images of Barack Obama on the video screen during the performance.
As has been the case in recent tours, Paul pays tribute to both John Lennon and George Harrison by performing “Here Today,” the song he wrote after Lennon’s passing and “Something” for George, featuring Paul on ukulele for the first part of the song. McCartney gets visibly choked up during “Here Today” and his voice cracks, only adding to the song’s poignancy.
McCartney has also taken to performing Lennon-written songs in recent years with “Day Tripper” and “A Day In The Life/Give Peace a Chance” getting the nod here. With Lennon and Harrison gone, McCartney has effectively become the curator of the Beatles legacy.
“I’m Down” was added to the set list as a nod to the Shea Stadium show from 1965. While the CD features the unedited audio of the performance, the DVD has a mash-up of both footage and audio with the Beatles’ performance and McCartney’s. It’s a clever touch and very well done.
It’s not all hits either. Obscure gems such as “Mrs. Vanderbilt” from Band on the Run and “Calico Skies” from 1997’s Flaming Pie sit nicely in between the better known “Blackbird” and “Eleanor Rigby.” In addition, the limited number of shows McCartney does these days has done wonders for his voice, as it is the strongest it has been in years.
Fans have been clamoring for a McCartney DVD release that offers a straight performance without interruptions, interviews, cuts to different shows and the like. Good Evening New York City delivers in this regard, focusing on the New York show, without too much audience hamming or rapid-fire MTV-style editing. In a clever touch, many in the crowd were handed handheld flip cameras to film whatever they wanted. Some of that footage is included in the DVD, which has a 5.1 DTS Surround Sound mix as well as standard stereo.
For fans of Paul McCartney, Wings and The Beatles, Good Evening New York City offers something for everyone. These are timeless songs, played by an energized McCartney with a crack band. What’s not to like?