Saturday, May 18, 2013

Ultimate McCartney Set List - GO.

It's three years later, and Paul McCartney is touring once again! A lot has changed since I last checked in with this blog, but my devotion to Paul remains steadfast and true. (Despite the fact that, even after endless prodding, the guy has never actually called me.) If you care to, you can read about my adventures the last time Paul came through Boston back in 2009-- which, fortuitously enough, was also the year I kept a daily blog about Beatles songs-- right here.

So, the indefatigable Troy over at kinde words and I have been talking set lists. Every McCartney tour has a pretty much unchanging set list, which is a mark of either consummate professionalism or control freakishness, take your pick. So his current set list has already been spoiled. The list has high points and not-as-high points, but I won't get into those here. The question now is, what is the set list that would make for the PERFECT McCartney show? Troy made his list, which you can check out here, and challenged me to make mine. Fair enough. Here's mine, with copious notes following.

Maybe I’m Amazed
Sing the Changes
Daytime Nighttime Suffering
The World Tonight
Every Night
Bring It on Home to Me
Call Me Back Again
Live and Let Die
Back Seat of My Car

Encore I

Encore II
Let Me Roll It

I think my list is little farther out than Troy's. Like him, I discounted songs that are too much Lennon songs, as McCartney does himself most of the time. (There's an extremely, extremely interesting exception to that on the current tour, though, so I'll have that to breathlessly await.) Collaborative songs that are truly half-and-half or lean in Paul's favor are fair game-- hence I allowed "All My Loving" but ended up not including "Please Please Me" despite being sorely tempted. However, while Troy allows for "Baby You're a Rich Man," that one goes too far for my tastes. After all, the verses are John's, and that's where the meat is, and in the end it doesn't feel Paul-ish enough for me.

After that, though, I just started daydreaming. I did try to include songs that Paul ALWAYS does live, and that would be sorely missed, but I indulged my personal tastes all over the place. So we get Paul opening with an oldie, treating us to the deepest of deep cut covers of early rock and roll, like "Clarabella," which you can hear on Live at the BBC, and "Bring It on Home to Me," which can be found on the Russian album of 1988. Here, too, is "Long Tall Sally," because of course I want to hear him sing that. After the old rock and roll stuff, we get a couple of my favorite Wings and solo tracks because this is my list, darn it, and did you know that Paul has NEVER done "Daytime Nighttime Suffering" live, EVER?

A couple other notes:

- I want so badly to lay into Troy for including "Rocky Raccoon," but as long as he refrains from laying into ME for including "Every Night," I'll call a truce. We all have the right to enjoy our silly little McCartney ditties.

- I sort of wanted to just end the whole thing on "Back Seat of My Car," but ended up with that playing into "Hey Jude" for the finale. It's really really hard to end any other way. I see that Troy agrees with me.

- I didn't belabor the order TOO much, but I'm pleased with a few of my transitions here, especially "Waterfalls" into "Sing the Changes," "Daytime Nighttime Suffering" into "Paperback Writer," "Bring It on Home to Me" into "Call Me Back Again," and "Every Night" into "Yesterday" launching right into "Clarabella" and then those couple soul-centric numbers. Oh, and my impulse to follow "Why Don't We Do It in the Road?" with "I Will," which is how it goes on the White Album, was too strong to resist.

- Despite the fact that I have been subjected to f*cking "My Love" on at least three tours, I have NEVER heard Paul do the vastly superior "Here, There, and Everywhere" live. Paul! Explain yourself!

- If I were awesome, I would have taken key relationships and Paul's movement in between a guitar and piano into consideration in planning the order. But I didn't.

Thoughts, anyone who might still be reading this for some reason?


  1. Poor man. Long Tall Sally and Oh! Darling? What are you trying to do, kill him?

    Other than that, I wouldn't lay into you for including anything, although as far as that note goes, how about he launches into Every Night up by you and Rocky Raccoon down here, and we'll see which one the people go apeshit for?

    No, I'm far more interested by the omissions. No Band on the Run? No Blackbird? No Eleanor Rigby? (OK, I omitted that one too.) And I'd love to know how your ultimate list can not include You Never Give Me Your Money. I'm gonna have to go read your review of What You're Doing, too, to see what you have against that song.

    But all reasonable people can agree that we could do without every hearing the Long and Winding Road ever again. We won't be so lucky ... but we can agree, at least.

  2. Admittedly, his pipes get a workout on my list. "Long Tall Sally," "Oh! Darling," AND "Call Me Back Again" is a bit much, but we're dreaming, right?

    As far as omissions go, yeah, I've heard him do "Band on the Run" et al enough times now that I'm thinking, OK, Paul, kick it out for this rotation to work in some deeper cuts. I kept a lot of standards, though, like "Live and Let Die" and "Jet" and "Hey Jude" (though I guess removing that one would have been unthinkable), in deference to the fact that I like those, and that a McCartney show does need a few straight-up showstoppers.

    The last time I heard him sing "You Never Give Your Money" he sang one entire bit as "this is the part where I don't know the words," and indeed, it's the part where I've NEVER been able to understand what he's saying. It was kind of funny that he clearly doesn't understand it either, but, I mean, dude. Do better than that. We all paid hundreds of dollars to be there, after all. Grumble grumble grumble. I think that annoyed me enough that I could live my whole life and never hear him do it again.

    I enjoyed your inclusion of "What You're Doing," and then I thought of other For Sale tracks, ESPECIALLY "Every Little Thing." That one, I think, is one of the only songs that Paul wrote that John sang lead on, which is all the more reason why Paul should totally do it in concert. Plus they could wheel out a timpani, maybe! Now I don't remember why I left out "Every Little Thing" in the end, but I'm annoyed with myself. But "What You're Doing"? Who could have anything against "What You're Doing"? Still, it's a bit much, in my opinion, to put it in the high ranks we're talking about here.

    Ugh, people probably WOULD lose their shit for "Rocky Raccoon," too. I will never understand the appeal of that one. It's not bad, but the fact that its popularity is so out of proportion to how good it actually is just irritates me.

  3. You know you're all over the road, right?

    Gotta wonder what Frank would think of all of this ...

    Thanks for doing this, this was fun.

  4. Could've done without knowing he actually played You Never Give Me Your Money, though. Now I'm bitter. I would lose it if I saw him play that -- moreso than with Hey Jude, for which he always incites the singalong, which I hate, because that's the part where Paul scats, dummies.

  5. Welcome back, Megan. I still click on your blog all the time. What a kick to see a new post.

    First, I must chastise you both (friendly-like): There's nothing silly about Every Night. It's gorgeous. And Rocky Racoon is satire; it's SUPPOSED to be a goof. And both both songs are great -- and so, so different from each other that they serve as one of those handy examples of how incredibly diverse Paul is as a songwriter.

    I'm seeing Paul in July myself. I last saw his show in 2009. I compared the setlist from that 2009 show with the one he's doing now (what can I say? I love spoilers) and he'll be singing a whopping 19 songs that he didn't perform in 2009. Color me happy.

    Still, the songs I've love to hear him play (most of which would never happen):

    Monkberry Moon Delight (that would kill his voice)
    Temporary Secretary
    Check My Machine
    One of the Days
    Smile Away
    Sun is Shining
    In My Life
    This Never Happened Before
    Too Many People
    English Tea
    Why Don't We Do It in the Road
    Helen Wheels
    Friends to Go
    Goodnight Tonight

    These are in no particular order. I'm not a set list designer by trade. They're just tracks I love that show the incredible diverse craziness of his catalog.

    -- Drew

  6. Oops, I meant: One of These Days.

    -- Drew

  7. I've been falsely impugned! I never criticized Every Night. Megan put words in my mouth there. But I admit to being fascinated by your wanting to hear Why Don't We Do It in the Road?, and your inclusion of In My Life. And good call on Too Many People. I'm sure some of the others are good calls too, but I'm not at your or Meg's level when it comes to solo Paul.

  8. I just think seeing 71-year-old Paul singing Why Don't We Do it In the Road? would be an absolute hoot. My choices were driven by my own belief that Paul needs to embrace his weirdness. Paul has a lot of terrific solo work (and a lot of terrible solo work that I don't bother to listen to anymore) but, for me, his best stuff is his most eccentric: McCartney, Ram, McCartney II, his Fireman albums, etc.

    Two other more conventional pop songs, though, that I would love to hear live are My Brave Face and This One (from Paul's period working with Elvis Costello). Both are great Beatles-quality songs.

    As for In My Life, I think there are so many friends and lovers that Paul has loved and lost that it would be really moving to hear him sing that song and make it his own.

    -- Drew

  9. "In My Life." Interesting. I like it. I'm a little rusty on some of my solo and Wings McCartney too, so I don't remember or recognize every song you listed, but "Temporary Secretary?" YES. Good call! And "Monkberry Moon Delight" would be, um, delightful. "Goodnight Tonight," like, I could sit here and say that I would take a bathroom break for that one, but I'm probably lying. I'll bet in the zone I could get super into it.

    Oh, and I nearly added "Helen Wheels" myself. Put it in and out a few times before settling on out, just to make room for something else. Hasn't he done that one before recently? Like a tour or two ago?

    I would die a very very happy woman if I got to hear him do "Why Don't We Do It in the Road?" at least once.

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