Paul McCartney at Grand Central Station

by Paul Levinson about a year ago in concert

Unique, Memorable, Gratifying

Paul McCartney at Grand Central Station

My wife and I saw Paul McCartney and his band perform at the Nassau Coliseum a year ago. We loved it. Thought it was the best concert we'd ever attended. Tonight's nearly surprise concert at Grand Central Station, which we just saw live streaming on YouTube, was even better. I'm not kidding. I'd intended to live tweet it at least a little, but the music was too good to do anything other than watch and listen. I managed a couple of snapshots at the beginning, then even that was too much of a distraction from this wonderfully astonishing performance.

It's often said that the Beatles invented all kinds of trends in music, which McCartney continued doing after the group split up. "Helter Skelter" presaged heavy metal. On September 7 at Grand Central Station, McCartney and his band (Brian Ray and Rusty Anderson guitars, Abe Laboriel Jr. drums, Paul "Wix" Wickens keyboard)—always fabulous—gave it an extraordinary performance, with Wickens picking up a guitar to join McCartney and his other two guitarists for a four-guitar rendition.

Speaking of guitars (by the way, this review is just about what most struck me, and is not in order of the songs performed), Paul and his two guitarists did that priceless three-way guitar duel in the "Carry that Weight" medley just perfectly. And just about every song was that way—unique, memorable, gratifying, and priceless.

The mini-early Beatle set, in which McCartney did "From Me to You" and "Love Me Do" was a heart-tugging form of time-travel, with the songs sounding almost just the way I first heard them, or remember first hearing them, in the early-mid 1960s. "Let It Be"—a song which McCartney wrote for Aretha (she turned it down, but later recorded it after the Beatles)—was profound and tender.

The new songs, from the just released Egypt Station, were great, too. I've already heard a lot of "Come On To Me" on The Beatles Channel on Sirius XM Radio, and it's already a favorite. I liked the live performance even more than the recording. "Fuh You" and, especially, "Who Cares?"—a put down of bullies—were outstanding.

The Beatles were far and away the best in their time. Paul McCartney continues to be that to this very day, with new albums and concerts. We're lucky indeed to have him on our planet.

Hey, the concert is still up on YouTube at this moment—you can watch it here. See also Paul McCartney's Two New Songs, Paul McCartney at Nassau Coliseum, and A Vote for McCartney. Also The Village Voice Goes Silent.

How does it work?
Read next: Jay Z: From Worst to Best
Paul Levinson

Paul Levinson's novels include The Silk Code (winner Locus Award, Best 1st Science Fiction Novel of 1999) & The Plot To Save Socrates. His nonfiction including Fake News in Real Context has been translated into 15 languages. 

See all posts by Paul Levinson