Thursday, June 14, 2007

Paul McCartney Plays a Small Club-for free, June 13, 2007

By Jim Farber, NY Daily News (
You'd have to time-travel back to the earliest days of the Beatles at the Cavern Club to eyeball Paul McCartney in so gloriously cramped a space as the one he performed in last night.
The 700-capacity Highline Ballroom, nestled next to the Meatpacking District, served as host to a "secret" gig by the ex-Beatle last night. Lucky fans lined up eight hours early to land passes to the freebie show. The point was to create extra buzz around McCartney's new solo album, "Memory Almost Full."
But the performance had more than just a rote promotional tone.
McCartney caught the spirit of the new CD, one of his most buoyant in years. The disk features fleet tunes and philosophical lyrics about the pull of the past and the mystery of time.
Last night's set followed suit, bouncing around the 64-year-old's history with songs from the Beatles as well as from his solo career.
Nothing sprung from the days of Wings.
Backed by a tight, four-man band, McCartney kicked off his 90-minute, 21-song set with "Drive My Car," done with garage rock flair. From there, he cherry-picked the new songs, starting with "Only Mama Knows," as toned a piece of power pop as this decade has produced.
Ever the deferential host, McCartney didn't overtax the crowd with new pieces. He performed just five, although he did offer a few cuts from other solo albums, including 1997's "Calico Skies" and '82's "Here Today," which he dedicated to "fallen heroes: John, George and Linda."
The new CD's backwardglancing theme cut the star a blank check to mine the past. He did so by performing no fewer than 11 Beatles songs, highlighted by a lacy "I'll Follow the Sun" and a chunky "I've Got a Feeling."
The intimacy of the venue would have made any performance by so vast a star a thrill.
But the warmly contemplative context of the new CD gave it an especially rosy glow


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