13 songs Paul McCartney should play at Target Field, but probably won't
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Plenty of musicians have impressive back catalogs and prestigious songbooks to their credit. But the exalted 50-plus-year oeuvre of Sir Paul McCartney is something else. He's bringing a fraction of those celebrated songs to a sold-out Target Field on Saturday night, for the first full-stadium rock 'n' roll show in the ballpark's history.
There will ultimately be nothing to complain about in McCartney's song selection during his upcoming performance -- with typical set lists on his current tour stretching to a generous 39 tracks -- but we dug through Macca's impressive collection of musical gems and found 13 overlooked numbers.
This spirited tune was originally a b-side to "Help" released in the summer of '65. "I'm Down" began the long tradition of U.K. acts not including killer b-sides on their official full-length studio albums, and it remains one of the hardest-rocking numbers in the Beatles' early catalog. The group recorded this song in a prolific session that also saw them lay down finished versions of "Yesterday" and "I've Just Seen a Face," proving that every time the Fab Four stepped into a studio during this highly productive period all George Martin had to do was hit record and wait for the magic. But hidden within the relentlessly upbeat tempo of the track was a desperate plea from McCartney, letting attentive listeners know that there were dark moments inside the mad, chaotic world of Paul and his Beatles cohorts.
"I'm Looking Through You"
This rollicking Rubber Soul jam was featured on McCartney's recent tours, but hasn't been included in the sets during his current string of shows. That's too bad, because the track really lets loose in the bridge following the acoustic-guitar driven verses. When the electric guitar kicks in, they reinforce the sting of McCartney's kiss-off to then-girlfriend Jane Asher, as well as his percipient look at how the band was treated differently by everyone now that they had become worldwide superstars. This emphatic number represented a quick transition from the darling "I Want to Hold Your Hand" Beatles who had their adoring female fans incessantly shrieking, to a band that clearly wanted their space and wasn't afraid to call out old hangers-on who just couldn't act naturally around them.
"Drive My Car/The Back Seat of My Car"
The lead-off track to Rubber Soul seems tailor-made for rocking big stadiums. It's all too easy to picture massive crowds singing the jubilant "Beep beep, beep beep, yeah!" part of the chorus, as McCartney takes it all in with his winsome smile. Plus, it would make a smooth and suitable pairing with the rousing section of "The Back Seat of My Car," one of the hit singles drawn from McCartney's 1971 album Ram. Cars and long drives have long been an inspiration to McCartney in his songwriting (see "Helen Wheels" on the following page, as well) and tying these two tracks together would be a way of unifying two radically different times of his creative career that both were motivated by the pleasure drawn from taking a ride.
"Got to Get You Into My Life"
This brass-laden number has long been one of my favorite McCartney numbers, and I'm including it on this list for purely selfish reasons. This track anchors the strong finish to Revolver along with Lennon's psychedelic gem "Tomorrow Never Knows" -- two numbers that brazenly prove the duo's impressive creative progress as songwriters over the scant three years spent in the intense public spotlight. In addition to the soulful horns, McCartney's impassioned vocals resonate boldly above the vibrant arrangement. There are also clear references to the drug culture that was permeating the Beatles' lifestyle -- and much of society in the '60s -- at the time, with McCartney later admitting that the song was essentially "an ode to pot."
"Why Don't We Do It in the Road"
I've always felt that this White Album stomper could stretched out into a full-fledged jam as opposed to its scant 1:42 running time. And what better place to extend this bluesy, percussion/piano-filled track than in a live setting? Since Paul ostensibly recorded this number mainly on his own in the studio (with Ringo later adding drums and handclaps) he could expertly lead a full band through a scorching live take, with each member of the group taking a few quick bars for a seamless solo. It never quite gets its proper respect amid the chaotic sonic hodgepodge of The White Album, perhaps due to its preposterous title. Plus, including this number in his sets would also provide the 72-year-old McCartney an opportunity to take a seat at the piano if he needs to catch his breath during his marathon sets.