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Published: 2015/04/21
by Larson Sutton

A MusicCares Tribute to Paul McCartney

A MusicCares Tribute to Paul McCartney derives from the 2012 pre-Grammy dinner honoring the legend as the charity’s Person of the Year and features an hour of ready-for-broadcast performances from an A-list range of musical admirers and friends paying homage to Macca. It’s the kind of evening that looks amazing on paper, and with a few exceptions, the appearances are enthusiastic, heartfelt, and maybe even amazing. McCartney’s time on the stage with his highly proficient touring quartet offers robust renditions of “Magical Mystery Tour” and “Junior’s Farm” at the front end and closes the show with the “Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End” trio from The Beatles’ Abbey Road, with trading, fearsome guitar solos including Joe Walsh and Dave Grohl. In between, the women come closest to stealing the show, with Alicia Keys, Norah Jones, Alison Krauss, and Diana Krall each taking on a McCartney classic in uniquely beautiful ways, but it’s Neil Young and Crazy Horse that the forever Beatle singles out in his brief and somewhat tossed-off acceptance speech, appreciative of Young’s garage-rocking assault on “I Saw Her Standing There.” Unfortunately, Sergio Mendes arrangement of “The Fool on the Hill” feels a bit like an excerpt from an ‘80s romantic comedy set in Rio, and Coldplay’s stripped back, reimagining of the melody on “We Can Work It Out” removes all the optimism from the original, leaving it listless and disappointing. Nevertheless, it’s a compact, well-paced evening of acknowledgment to one of the most popular and successful musicians of the last 50 years by some of the industry’s brightest stars.

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