Someone on London Underground’s ad team is really big Beatles fan.
Listen: Studio version of Paul McCartney & Nirvana’s “Cut Me Some Slack”
Well, this is big big news. Do we call them Sir-vana? The Without-Kurts? Paul, Dave & The Other Two? Available on iTunes now, “Cut Me Some Slack” is a spiritual successor to “Helter Skelter”, with the combined pop nous of Macca and the remaining Nirvana members. Not to sound like damning with faint praise, but it’s certainly better than anything any of these guys have done separately for quite a while.
A quarter of the biggest and best group of all time. Half of one of the greatest song writing partnerships ever. A musical and cultural icon. And the only 69 year old who can introduced a song in a cod-Jamaican accent whilst standing in front of a 30ft tall picture of Barack Obama. Yes, it’s Paul McCartney. Rolling up for the penultimate show of his world tour in Manchester, the ex-Beatle is in fine form. From this show alone, you wouldn’t think he’d been doing this for almost fifty years, let alones that he’s soon entering his eighth decade. Almost three straight hours without a single drink and only two brief breaks for the encores; it’s fair to say Macca is in the running for the title of Hardest Working Man In Showbusiness.
With a huge backcatalogue that keeps on growing, it would’ve be possible for Sir Paul for play a set made up of only his latter-day material. But then you’d be left with an arenaful of rather annoyed Mancunians, which is never a good thing. Thankfully, the classics are gleefully rolled out, touching on every Beatles era from the moptop years (“All My Loving”, “I’m Looking Through You”) to the hirsute Abbey Road days. Even the handful of Wings songs that get an airing sound fresh. The backing band sound tight and near flawless, as you might expect from a group that have been playing together for nearly ten years, with every riff and bear sounding exactly as should.
Throughout the night there are anecdotes and tales from Sir Paul’s incomparable career (including one particularly good one about Jimi Hendrix), alongside the usual stadium show patter. Obviously, with his level of experience, Macca knows exactly how to work a crowd but it still seems competely effortless. The heartwarming tributes to John Lennon and George Harrison before “Here Today” and “Something” respectively don’t seem rehearsed or trotted out (with some visible tears after the former).”Live And Let Die” is another song that takes on a whole new life live. The unmistakable riffs enhanced by the power of live guitars and further enhanced by the pyrotechnic spectacular used on stage. Fireworks, explosions and roaring flames aren’t usually what you’d associate with this Beatle, but they help transform the song into a rock monster.
Speaking of rock,the undoubted highlight has to be “Helter Skelter”. It may not sound quite as brave or original as it did back in 1968, but this rendition is brilliantly fierce and more than stakes its claim as the greatest rock song ever. Forget the Stones, this is the best rock ‘n’ roll show on Earth. There’s nothing quite like seeing Beatles songs performed by the one man who can actually play them as originals; you haven’t experienced the likes of “Yesterday”, “Blackbird”, “Back In The USSR” and “Paperback Writer” until you’ve heard them live.
They’ve already covered The Waitresses’ “Christmas Wrapping”, and now adorkable indie duo Summer Camp have taken the dual challenge of mashing-up two of the most famous festive tunes. The result is a wonderfully fuzzy and lo-fi take on Paul McCartney’s “Wonderful Christmastime” and the Mariah Carey standard “All I Want For Christmas Is You”. It doesn’t quite measure up to the former (but then, not much does) but it far outstrips Mariah’s hollering.