Paul McCartney Performs at Yankee Stadium: What the Critics Say

8:28 PM PST 07/17/2011 by THR staff
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The legendary singer's first show at the venue featured about 35 songs, mostly Beatles tunes including "Let iI Be" and "Yesterday."

Paul McCartney performed his first-ever show at New York's Yankee Stadium this weekend.

The legendary singer put on two shows -- Friday and Saturday -- that lasted two and a half hours and featured about 35 songs, most of which were Beatles tunes -- including "Let It Be," "Drive My Car" and "Yesterday" -- but also included songs from Wings (including "Band on the Run" and "Maybe I'm Amazed"), his solo albums and his group the Fireman. By many accounts, he remained faithful to all of the original recordings.

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On Saturday night, he brought out a special guest: Billy Joel, with whom he traded verses on the Beatles' "I Saw Her Standing There."

So what did the critics have to say?

The Wall Street Journal's Jon Friedman noted that the 69-year-old singer didn't stop once even to take a drink of water and that he "looked confident and poised" throughout the whole show.

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"Paul McCartney is many things, a gifted musician, singer and band leader. Mostly, he is an inspiration," he wrote. "Last night at Yankee Stadium, McCartney played and played, gave and gave, for well over two hours. He never stopped singing, playing, performing and smiling. He loves pleasing crowds."

The New York Times critic Jon Pareles wrote that McCartney's concerts are a "gentle reminder of his survival and vitality."

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"Mr. McCartney has a trouper’s ability to make the routine look and sound spontaneous," he added. "His voice reveled in the songs, hinting at little improvisatory variations. After them he raised his instruments overhead in a mixture of exuberance and pride in musical craftsmanship. … He perseveres, and entertains, by directly reconnecting to his songs across the decades and still having fun."

The New York Daily News critic Jon Farber was equally impressed, writing that McCartney enthusiastically put on a show that that, taken with his other live performances, now serve as "living museums, the last faithful recreations of what many see as pop culture's most sacred catalogue."

"McCartney's continued ability to perform such key material so gracefully makes his shows more than just worthy entertainment," he added. "They're a kind of public service."

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Added Glenn Gamboa of Newsday: "The genius of Paul McCartney's songwriting is in making complicated emotions and situations sound simple. The genius of his live show is how he makes the mundane sound fresh – not just in his music, but in his banter with the audience."

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