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Live Review and Photo Gallery: Paul McCartney at The TaxSlayer Center Moline, IL

| June 13, 2019

Paul McCartney

TaxSlayer Center


Tuesday, June 11, 2019

If there’s anyone on earth who could kick up their feet and collect royalty checks until kingdom come, it’s Paul McCartney, who besides flying high with Wings and steadily cranking out solo material or duets with everyone from his late frenemy Michael Jackson to current conquerors Kanye West and Rihanna, was of course a primary songwriting partner in the British Invasion’s primary torchbearers. And even though he continues to crank out respectable studio showings up through 2018’s Egypt Station, the surrounding “Freshen Up” Tour provides a more than generous overview that goes back further than The Beatles.

Actually, it was The Fab Four’s “A Hard Day’s Night” that joyfully jumpstarted a sold out evening at the TaxSlayer Center, foreshadowing the type of work ethic that would fuel three hours filled with nearly 40 non-stop tunes. It would’ve been an impressive feat for absolutely anyone and was all the more unfathomable for someone about to turn 77, but then again, this is Paul McCartney we’re talking about and he’s arguably the most impenetrable rock star to ever occupy earth.

Despite all that fame and status, Sir Paul was always happy to oblige with the oldies (“Can’t Buy Me Love,” “Got To Get You Into My Life,” “Let Me Roll It”) and sneak in a handful of his strongest newer cuts (“Save Us,” “Who Cares,” “Come On To Me”), all while carrying on pleasant exchanges with fans, such as scanning and reading of the several signs that frequently flashed random musical or personal requests. No, he didn’t kiss anyone, sign body parts and seemed to stick to the pre-determined song order, but there was satisfaction at nearly every turn.

McCartney also managed to make the arena setting intimate during an acoustic set that highlighted his longtime (and superb) backers throughout “In Spite Of All The Danger” (from his first group The Quarrymen), this century’s standout “Dance Tonight” and the ageless “Love Me Do,” then unplugged all by himself for the civil rights-themed “Blackbird” and the John Lennon reflection “Here Today” atop a raised platform to give the balcony a better look. It was during these moments where his vocals admittedly came across a bit thinner and rougher, but once the band kicked back in for the stomping “Queenie Eye,” the bouncy “Lady Madonna” and the playful “Fuh You,” everyone’s harmonies blended tightly to mask any imperfections.

The audience kicked in on several occasions as well, notably during an unstoppable stretch that featured “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da,” “Band On The Run,” “Back In The U.S.S.R.” (accompanied by a boundary-breaking tale of performing in that previously forbidden place) and “Let It Be,” which was one of many moments when McCartney nestled behind the piano. Visually speaking, the show reached an apex with the astounding “Live And Let Die,” then turned right back to karaoke for “Hey Jude” as each section tried to outdo the others’ “na-na-na-na-na-na-na’s.”

As if that wasn’t enough to send everyone home happy (including many who surely came from Chicago and the surrounding suburbs), a Beatles-centric encore was practically a mini-set unto itself. It was certainly worth the trip no matter how extreme the distance, especially if this winds up being the closest Macca ever gets to the area again, though before he said goodbye until the next round or forever, he steadfastly reassured a world-weary crowd that “in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.”


-Review and photos by Andy Argyrakis


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Category: IE Photo Gallery, Live Reviews

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