Sometimes even royalty needs a kick in the ass. That's what Sir Paul McCartney got for himself by pegging Beck/Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich to helm his recent Chaos and Creation in the Backyard. Godrich is a man not afraid to tell a living legend when he's wanking out the silly love songs; in return, he inspired a creative jolt from the Macca that led him to play almost all of the instruments himself. The result? A vision of depth, romance and reflection sans cloyingness, and the best Paul record since his May bride was still watching Thomas the Tank Engine. The good vibes seem to have carried over to this tour: Shows are reportedly running a generous two and a half hours, with around 35 songs a night -- which, according to Rolling Stone, is two digits more than his waist size (hmm, maybe that vegetarianism thing isn't so crazy). Of course, the "problem" is having too much great material to play. But as in his past two U.S. tours, McCartney is deftly mixing Beatles monsters ("Drive My Car," "Get Back," "Magical Mystery Tour"), Wings/solo hits ("Jet," "Maybe I'm Amazed"), a few obscurities for the hard-core ("Too Many People" from Ram, the pre-Beatles Quarrymen's "In Spite of All the Danger") and surprises ("Helter Skelter," "I'll Get You"). Add a sprinkling of worthy Chaos tracks ("Fine Line," the lush "Jenny Wren"), a solid band and a ten-minute movie, and what's to carp about? Nothing. And all from a man who next year will finally be able to sing "When I'm Sixty-Four" as a reality instead of future forecast. A rare -- and possibly final -- Mac attack in Houston.
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