Concert Review: Paul McCartney: On the Run Tour – St Louis, Missouri

Paul McCartney/On the Run Tour
Date:  November 11, 2012
Venue:  Scottrade Center, St Louis, Missouri

Even at age 70 Paul McCartney can bounce around like a youngster.  Despite a trip off of a riser towards the end of the show (Macca quickly hopped up, struck a pose and began his guitar duel with Rusty Anderson and Brian Ray on the solo riffs during “The End”) McCartney and company played for a solid 3 hours, introducing some new Beatles and Wings songs to their live catalog.

After taking the summer off, St. Louis saw the beginning of the second leg of the “On the Run” tour.  The Fab Five (besides McCartney, Anderson and Ray the group included longtime members Paul “Wix” Wickens (Keyboards) and drummer Abe Laboriel, Jr.) kicked off the show with “Magical Mystery Tour.” before sliding into “Junior’s Farm.”  After a rousing “Drive My Car” – with the audience supplying the “Beep, beep, beep, beep, beep YEAHS – McCartney removed his jacket.  As the woman in the crowd began to “Woo” he smiled and informed them “That is the wardrobe change of the evening.”

With a playlist full of Beatles and Wings classics, the band managed to sneak in some lesser known songs, including “Sing the Changes” (The Firemen) and “My Valentine,” a song McCartney recently penned for his wife, Nancy.  After the first group of songs McCartney held aloft what has to be the most recognizable musical instrument in the history of rock and roll:  his Hofner 500/1 violin bass.  Later in the show McCartney strapped on his old Epiphone Casino guitar to introduce the song he wrote on it, “Paperback Writer.”  There were other song snippets played as well.  “Let Me Roll It” ended with a quick, loud snippet of “Foxy Lady,” with McCartney giving a quick shout out to the other left handed musical genius, Jimi Hendrix.  Later, during “A Day in the Life” the song evolved into an audience inducing “Give Peace a Chance.”  He also paid tribute to his former Beatles mates no longer with us.  A touching accoustic “Here Today,” a song he wrote to John Lennon, had him brushing away a tear at the end while a simple version of “Something” on a ukulele given to him by George Harrison ended as a full blown rendition.

As with everytime I’ve seen McCartney (this makes number six since the 1980s), his back up band was tight.  But even they are not above reproach.  Deducting that Rusty Anderson had made a minor mistake during his solo on “And I Love Her,” Paul admonished him and had him play just the solo over again.  And I’m pleased to say that the one song I’ve wanted to hear live and never have, “Maybe I’m Amazed,” was finally played.  I can now die happy!

The audience was packed with music fans of all ages – from senior citizens to teenagers to a young boy in his stroller whose parents were staying in the same hotel we were.  He may not remember the music he heard but years from now he can proudly tell people that he saw Paul McCartney live!

Magical Mystery Tour, Junior’s Farm, All My Loving, Jet, Drive My Car, Sing the Changes, The Night Before, Let Me Roll It/Foxy Lady, Paperback Writer, The Long and Winding Road, Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five, Maybe I’m Amazed, I’ve Just Seen a Face, And I Love Her, My Valentine, Blackbird, Here Today, Dance Tonight, Mrs. Vandebilt, Eleanor Rigby, Something, Band on the Run, Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da, Back in the U.S.S.R., I’ve Got a Feeling, A Day in the Life/Give Peace a Chance, Let It Be, Live and Let Die, Hey Jude.

Lady Madonna, Birthday, Day Tripper, Get Back

Yesterday, Helter Skelter, Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End 

Photo Credit: Rob Pue

Theater Review “Memphis” Starlight Theater – Kansas City, MO

Starlight Theater
Kansas City, Missouri
July 10, 2012

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

The time – the turbulent 1950s. The place – Memphis, Tennessee. Alabama born W.C. Handy, the father of the blues, wrote his first song here. Mississippi’s Elvis Presley, the king of rock and roll, died here. In between those two the musical heritage of the city grew, exploding into a new sound. That sound is captured in the Tony Award winning Best Musical, “Memphis.”

The show opens in a non-descript club, one that clearly caters to a strictly black clientele. The joint is jumpin’ until a new visitor walks in. A white visitor. This is Huey (Brian Fenkart). Huey loves the music he’s heard from outside the club and wants to experience it in person. It seems to sing to him. As he refers to it in the show’s first big number, he’s listening to “The Music of My Soul.” While there he meets a Felicia (Felicia Boswell), a featured singer in the club, which is owned by her brother, Delray (Quentin Earl Darrington). It’s obvious that there is an initial spark between Huey and Felicia, but to pursue such a romance in 1950s Memphis could have tragic consequences.

One day, while working his day job at a local department store, Huey is put to work in the stores record department. Tired of listening to Perry Como all day he puts on something a little more lively. The store starts hopping and record sales boom. However, when the manager learns that Huey has been playing “race music,” he fires him. Huey enjoyed his brief time selling records and begins applying for D.J. jobs around town. He comes across a local station whose weekly “Blues” show includes songs by Patti Page and Roy Rogers! When the D.J. vacates the booth for a moment Huey sneaks in and takes over. Next thing you know….HOCKADOO!….the city of Memphis begins to groove.

Packed with songs you’ll leave the theatre humming, “Memphis” is that rare 21st Century musical that wasn’t based on a film (“Spamalot,” “The Producers”) or full of familiar songs (“Jersey Boys”). The songs, by Joe DiPietro and David Bryan, are well written and, unlike some musical numbers, quite memorable. DiPietro had written the book for the musical “All Shook Up,” so he certainly has a knowledge of the early days of popular music. Bryan was once studying medicine at Rutgers when a friend of his called and asked him to join his band. That friend was Jon Bon Jovi, and Bryan has been the group’s keyboard player since day one, so he certainly has a knowledge of current popular music. And that is what “Memphis” is, a blending of various types of music into, as Dick Clark would say, “something you can dance to.”

The cast is first rate. Both Fenkart and Boswell were involved in the original Broadway production and their talents are more than evident. Fenkart gives Huey an almost child-like quality. He can’t seem to comprehend that what he’s trying to do is wrong. He loves music. All music. And he wants to share his love with anyone within listening distance. Boswell has a voice that would knock you down in the back row of the theater. Her solo number, “Colored Woman,” is one of the show’s highlights, as are her duets with Huey. The entire company was in fine voice, often causing those in the audience to rise to their feet and dance along, the sure sign of a great musical.

After finishing up in Kansas City the show moves on to:
Las Vegas – July 17-22
San Diego – July 24-29
Los Angeles – July 31-August 12

For more tour dates and information on the show, go to


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