Making the Case Why McCartney Should Continue Touring

There’s been an ongoing discussion among Paul McCartney fans in recent months about the wisdom of Macca continuing his “never-ending” tour, and how his voice is holding up. (You can watch a recent show here.) What follows is a reasoned look at both sides of the issue from a recent exchange Beatlefan Publisher Bill King had with some other McCartney fans …

Macca performs in Minneapolis on the current tour. (Photo: Rick Glover)

Macca performs in Minneapolis on the current tour. (Photo: Rick Glover)

I had seen the complaints about the declining state of Paul McCartney’s voice on social media from those who questioned whether he should still be performing in concert, but I’d written those comments off largely to folks who probably aren’t really hard-core fans.
After all, I’d never heard such sentiments from those leaving one of Macca’s marathon concerts. To the contrary, the blissful smiles on the faces of departing concertgoers seemed to indicate an audience well-satisfied.

"Yesterday" in Seattle during the One on One tour. (Photo: Gillian Gaar)

“Yesterday” in Seattle during the One on One tour. (Photo: Gillian Gaar)

Then, I received a note from a longtime Macca fan that raised the issue.

Now, understand, this is someone who has traveled to see Paul in concert many times, continues to follow his every move, and who has a very extensive collection of just about every recording McCartney has ever released. This is someone who truly loves Paul McCartney.

Here’s what the fan said:

Looking at this current Macca tour and the sad shape of his voice, do you think it’s time for him to think about hanging up his touring shoes? 10 days off since Minneapolis didn’t help 1 bit and the crowd last night in Argentina was strangely quiet. He even commented about that onstage. I love and respect the fact that he loves doing this at his age, but noticing the band are taking more and more vocals dealing with higher notes, I sincerely think  “it’s time” to think about this. …

I replied:

On Macca, I’m sort of divided. I agree with you about his voice, but, even so, I see how much pleasure he STILL manages to give so many people, so I can’t bring myself to say he should hang it up on touring.

And the fan responded:

Macca on his second night in Minneapolis. (Photo: Rick Glover)

Macca on his second night in Minneapolis. (Photo: Rick Glover)

I can understand what you are saying about Macca and being on the fence with either direction, but at the amount of $$ he charges for his well-orchestrated A/V shows and the chance to see 1 of the 2 surviving members [of The Beatles], it is kinda disappointing to hear him croaking on songs in a range he shouldn’t try to be singing in; even “Live and Let Die” is now out of his vocal range. We used to say that he had to get several shows under his belt to loosen/toughen his vocal chords up, but that is no longer the case. It’s sad, but we all get older and I know there are things I did in my past that I’d no longer attempt to try. …

Looking for a different perspective, I asked for some input from my son Bill, who saw his first McCartney concert in 1993 at age 8 and who continues to go to Paul’s shows (even without me). Young Bill’s thoughts, which closely match my own:

I wish his set list was more interesting for this tour. I still think the opening 10 songs are poorly paced and several “deep cuts” could have been traded out by now for other deep cuts. (I love the deep cuts and want more of them. I just think he has trotted out the same ones for several years now and they don’t really resonate much.)

I think his voice is certainly diminished, but science dictates that we only have a few years left of him being able to do big shows and tour before he has to hang it up or significantly alter the performances. So, I’m fine with him continuing on and doing it until he can’t anymore. I do think he should be more careful about the televised appearances and keeping within his range on those. Those have been a little rough, but mostly forgiven because of who he is.

I replied:

I agree with you on both counts. I’d like him to mix up the set list more. And, as long as he’s still able to perform (and nearly 3-hour shows are amazing at his age, though they probably don’t help his voice), I think he should keep doing them. But the one-off appearances on TV (Olympics, Grammys, etc.) almost never are satisfying. He ought to avoid those.

So, then I turned to the original Fan on the Run, Rick Glover, who has seen well over 100 McCartney shows. Here’s what Ricky (as Macca recently dubbed him) had to say on the issue:

You don't hear fans leaving Paul's concerts complaining. (Photo: Gillian Gaar)

You don’t hear fans leaving Paul’s concerts complaining. (Photo: Gillian Gaar)

I would certainly weigh in heavily on the side that Paul should continue doing these live shows as long as he feels like he can.

While I will acknowledge the more frequent missed notes and squeaky moments, as recently as the Minneapolis shows his vocals were much more “on” than “off.” Whether it may be more coverage from the band (I have noticed Abe singing unison more lately) or the energy of the experience live, it still works in a grand way — people leaving the show have the overwhelming positive impression. And it always surprises me, finding folks that have never seen him live before, how impressed with his vocals, and the spectacle of the show, they seem to be. I can’t recall ever hearing anyone say they did not feel they got their money’s worth. Especially for those that never got a chance to see him in his prime, for whatever reason. And even the “regular” Fans on the Run.

The freshening of the show [on the current tour] brought a few welcome additions in the set, and certainly the production aspects (now even more awe-inspiring than before), and I, too, would love a more varied, and deeper selection. But, the show is somewhat like a finely tuned Broadway production, and a lot more than just his actual vocal delivery (and there are a lot of acts out there that are nothing BUT production).

one to one tour logoIf the only reference for his vocal ability is from Periscope and YouTube audio quality, I don’t really think that is a fair representation. There are still MANY thrilling and exciting vocal delivery moments every night, as with the scat-shouts-screams in “Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five,” for example.

Reality says the “science” that young Bill mentions does indeed mean there’s a cap on how many more opportunities we will have to enjoy that experience, for sure. And Paul could certainly rethink the set list based on his range and abilities — but that would probably mean stepping away from a few “musts” in the show. And changing the key might seem like cheating, too.

But, I think the one deciding factor will be the show where Macca himself is dissatisfied with his own performance, and that’s when he will stop. He is clearly still happy onstage. And I think that’s his perspective. And I trust it.

I believe my son and Rick both came up with some interesting (and pretty convincing) arguments in favor Paul continuing to tour. What do you think?

Bill King

You can find Rick Glover’s report on the One on One tour in Beatlefan #220. If you’d like to order a copy, email goodypress@gmail.com.

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66 Responses to Making the Case Why McCartney Should Continue Touring

  1. CHAS says:

    The fans have fun singing along. The show is fun. I wish he would change the setlist but there are people out there who have never seen Paul so for a lot of them, this is the first time hearing the songs. Willie Nelson is still belting them out at 84 though he is not singing Helter Skelter and other rockers. Maybe, eventually, Paul will morph into the mellow Paul tunes. I will be OK with that….

  2. Scott says:

    When Allan Clarke of the Hollies could no longer hit the notes, the band dropped the key for some songs. Eventually, while the voice still sounded like him, it was no longer good enough for a professional show like what the Hollies put on. Quite rightly, Clarke retired. If only he hasn’t smoked cigarettes all though years, he could have possibly kept performing for another decade, but that’s water under the bridge. The point is that when Clarke could no longer provide the voice, he retired. And as much as I love Paul McCartney, the same final, sad decision is coming to him, too. Sooner rather than later.

    • Mike j Oliva says:

      I hate to say this. I really do but its time for Paul to stop touring. He is my all time hero and I have seen him over a dozen times since 1989. I really hope that Paul and the rest of his contemporaries call it a day in October after that two weekend fest. His voice is shot and there is absolutely no reason to continue to tarnish his incredible reputation as a performer. There is no need to apologize for this. The man is 74 and its time. The “bring the joy to the fans” is utter nonsense too. His ticket prices are ridiculous and that is a fact! If John were still alive he would have a field day with this! I think if Linda were still around she would tell him its time too. It was sad to see “Ole Blue Eyes” rolled out there in his 80’s and its beyond embarrassing to see Dylan croak out there now! I love Paul to much to witness this. He has wealth beyond imagination and should just enjoy it. If he wants to record new stuff and put it out fine. It’s time to walk away from touring and there is no problem with that. His kids and his wife Nancy should just be honest with him.

      • Ed Sullivan says:

        Starving himself is definitely the problem. Nothing a couple of cheeseburgers can’t fix.

      • Susan Larson says:

        To Ed’s comment… that is mean, not funny at all. He spent and spends his whole life helping others and supporting others only for you to dump on him with a stupid joke?? How would anyone on this or any list feel who at this moment are knocking him? Its give me give me give me until the chips are down then… lets kick him. For some reason I dont think that is right

    • John Beland says:

      Alan Clark left the Hollies to tend to his sick wife.

  3. Mike j Oliva says:

    I hate to say this. I really do but its time for Paul to stop touring. He is my all time hero and I have seen him over a dozen times since 1989. I really hope that Paul and the rest of his contemporaries call it a day in October after that two weekend fest. His voice is shot and there is absolutely no reason to continue to tarnish his incredible reputation as a performer. There is no need to apologize for this. The man is 74 and its time. The “bring the joy to the fans” is utter nonsense too. His ticket prices are ridiculous and that is a fact! If John were still alive he would have a field day with this! I think if Linda were still around she would tell him its time too. It was sad to see “Ole Blue Eyes” rolled out there in his 80’s and its beyond embarrassing to see Dylan croak out there now! I love Paul too much to witness this. He has wealth beyond imagination and should just enjoy it. If he wants to record new stuff and put it out fine. It’s time to walk away from touring and there is no problem with that. His kids and his wife Nancy should just be honest with him.

  4. well for a start paul is 74 and yes his voice is not as good he will continue to perform on stage he said himself years ago when asked about when he thinks he will retire he said his fans would let him know well his fans have not spoken yet but do agree he will know as his voice would let him know until then rock on paul

  5. James Percival says:

    First off it is nice to read a reasoned response. I have only seen Paul live twice, in 1990 and then 2003, and both were fabulous shows. But as a serious fan with all the records I have to say his voice did start declining from at least as early as the mid 1980s, but obviously the tail off is growing faster and faster. He will have to stop at some point, and that will be a big moment. Looking at both sides is important; if a lot of fans really get a lot from his concerts then no doubt Paul feels justified continuing, but my biggest fear is that he is damaging his reputation. I certainly agree with Bill’s point about keeping off TV because this is fuelling some of the online commentary ‘that he was never a good singer’ which is absolute rubbish. At his best he was unquestionably a very talented and versatile singer, but nevertheless this viewpoint is increasingly being made.
    The point from Scott about the Hollies is interesting. Allan Clarke was a great singer, but without being too unfair, Allan isn’t the Hollies, and the Hollies weren’t even close to being the Beatles. I’m always amazed when people pay to see bands with just a couple, perhaps even one, original member, but when people pay to see Paul they expect to see and hear Macca!
    As for the set list – yes, it could be more varied and include more solo songs. But we’ve all heard him in interview state that when he went to concerts in Liverpool he expected to hear the hits.

  6. Roy Matthews says:

    Interesting reading and arguments for and against. Firstly let me lay out my Macca background. I have been a Beatles fan since 1963 and bought everything on the day of release along with books, magazines, posters, clothes etc. I then moved on to Paul (never ignoring the other 3).. bought his solo albums and then Wings… I have seen him on every tour since 1973, sometimes multiple shows. I have watched/listened as his voice deteriorated, seen some pretty awful TV appearances and said a number of times in recent years that I would be happy for him to bow out and keep his legacy intact. I last went to see him about 4 years ago… yes the crowd still seemed to love it, they are not analysing his performance, they are enjoying the atmosphere, the nostalgia and the song choices. However I heard nothing that night to change my mind, I still think he should hang up his guitar.. it upsets me everytime I read the comments about his voice, partly because they are true and partly because I love the guy. I left the concert before the encore and said my goodbyes… I knew that would be my last. I have memories of the most fabulous shows from the humble beginnings with Wings to the great solo shows in the late 80’s and through the 90’s… plus other shows of his I attended like his appearance at The Cavern Club, Concert for Linda, Concert for George, Live Aid, Live8 etc. His shows, his decision.

  7. BeatleTom says:

    There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with, shameful or deceitful about performing songs in a lower key than they were originally recorded in. Proof is that many many cover versions of his songs are performed in different keys, which are naturally better suited to the vocalist. A goodly number of Paul’s songs require a broad vocal range (lows and highs … good examples being Live and Let Die, and Maybe I’m Amazed, as cited). I’d rather hear a smooth and unblemished vocal than one that sticks to the original key but is marred by a vocal that falls short on the upper register.

    • James Percival says:

      Tom, this would have been good advice 10-15 years ago, but even dropping the keys for whole tone is not going to work now because his voice is truly shot!

      • susie murphy says:

        just saw him in st. louis, mo. Aug. 13, he was amazing, he filled the whole Busch stadium, his voice is not shot, I couldn’t believe i had a another chance to see him again, so keep on touring, we love you , paul

  8. Mike j Oliva says:

    I hate to say this. I really do but its time for Paul to stop touring. He is my all time hero and I have seen him over a dozen times since 1989. I really hope that Paul and the rest of his contemporaries call it a day in October after that two weekend fest. His voice is shot and there is absolutely no reason to continue to tarnish his incredible reputation as a performer. There is no need to apologize for this. The man is 74 and its time. The “bring the joy to the fans” is utter nonsense too. His ticket prices are ridiculous and that is a fact! If John were still alive he would have a field day with this! I think if Linda were still around she would tell him its time too. It was sad to see “Ole Blue Eyes” rolled out there in his 80’s and its beyond embarrassing to see Dylan croak out there now! I love Paul to much to witness this. He has wealth beyond imagination and should just enjoy it. If he wants to record new stuff and put it out fine. It’s time to walk away from touring and there is no problem with that. His kids and his wife Nancy should just be honest with him.

  9. Lee Curtis says:

    I agree totally that the one off TV performances have to stop and that if a key change will work/help in the concert environment then Paul needs to seriously look at doing that. When you are at his show and get caught up in the moment the quality of vocals tends not to be noticed too much but when you see it back on you tube for example in the cold light of day then it can be quite a shock.
    I believe Paul should carry on touring as long as he can and if a few simple changes would help then that’s the way to go. For those who say he should retire now just remember when he’s gone he’s gone, there is no going back, time won’t stop still to preserve our two remaining Beatles. Make the most of them while we still can.

  10. Kathy says:

    Thanks for posting this discussion, Bill. I’ve been sometimes irritated, sometimes dismayed at the caliber of the comments on Paul’s own fan board. Of course, his vocal quality has declined in the last 50 years. But, for me at least, the experience of seeing Paul in concert is about so much more than the quality of his voice. He is still a consummate performer who connects with his audience in amazingly intimate ways, and he brings us the most revered song catalog in popular music history. I think he should carry on as long as he feels the thrill as much as we do, making adjustments in the set list and keys as needed. I saw the Beatles in concert in 1966 and I never dreamed I’d be seeing Paul in concert 50 years later. As long as he’s still coming around, I will be there!

    • psix66 says:

      yeah , same for me ! i can only say

      Come on, voice critics ….

      don´t make it bad ,
      take your sad words and make them better !!!
      remember to let him into your heart
      then you can start to make it better.

      Hey Paul,
      don´t be afraid,
      you were made to go out and “get us”.
      the minutes when we all see you on tour,
      let us make sure , they make it better:

      And who thinks seeing him´s now pain , hey Fans, refrain,
      you might just have too high expectations
      if critics think that he´s a fool who plays it cool ,
      and only because he´s getting older?

      na na na nah nah, na na nah nah

      hey paul, don´t let us down, you have found us now go on touring
      remember we all have you in our hearts
      so you will start to make it better

      so play for us , and let us in, hey paul, begin
      you still have your great band to perform with
      you know our hero is just you
      yeah, paul, you do
      even if like us all you´re now older
      nah nah nah nah nah, nah nah nah, nah

      hey paul, don´t make it bad, take all your songs and mike it better
      because from one gig to another one
      there you are still just getting
      better better better better better better
      wooooooow!

      naaaaa na na nanananaaaa nanananaaaa hey paul
      ( yeah , paul, mamamamacca you´ll never get old now, waaahwaaah)
      naaa na na nanananaaaa nanananaaaa hey paul
      ( yeah come on, you sound so sweet every night )
      naaaa na na nanananaaaa nanananaaaa hey paul
      ) and everybody got the feeling feeling woooooow )
      naaaa na na nanananaaaa nanananaaaa hey paul
      ( yeahyeah, yeah yeah, yeah yeah, yeahyeaah, waaaaah )
      naaaa na na nanananaaaa nanananaaaa hey paul
      (we will always love you our hero , yeah yeah, whoooo)
      naaa na na nanananaaaa nanananaaaa hey paul
      ( and we´ll always wanna see you gigging wooooow yeah)
      naaa na na nanananaaaa nanananaaaa hey paul
      ( cause you evoke so many emotions inside us, come on whooo)
      naaaaa na na nanananaaaa nanananaaaa hey paul
      ( we stil wanna hear this song so many times now , Macca, yeah )
      naaaa nana nanananaaaa nanananaaaaa hey paul
      ( one gig´s just getting better than another , rock on, yeah yeah )
      naaaa na na nanananaaaa nanananaaa hey paul )
      ( you even are the influence for barclay james harvest, yeah yeah, )
      naaaa na na nanananaaaa nanananaaa hey paul
      ( and keep on playing also wings , songs, wings songs,)
      naaaa na na nanananaaa nanananaaa hey paul
      ( give us the feeling, give us the feeling , now )
      naa na na nanananaaaa nanananaaaa hey paul
      ( macca, macca, macca, don´t let us down, no no no )
      naaa naaa na nanananaaa nanananaaaa hey jude
      ( we can´t wait to see you many more times, come on, whoooo )
      naaaa , na na nanananaaaa nanananaaaa heyyyy Paaaaaaul!
      ( yeah , yeah, keep playing for us, we will always be coming ..whooooooo !!! )

    • Andrea T. says:

      Kathy, you beautifully summed up my feelings on this! I, too, saw the Beatles in 1966 and feel so grateful for the opportunity to still be seeing Paul…and Ringo… 50 years later. I agree that Paul should carry on as long as he feels the thrill as much as we do. And boy, I’m still feeling the thrill!!

    • Susan says:

      Well said Kathy, well said. “Here, There and Everywhere” I will be there as well. Have never known of a more humanitarian, artist and selfless person. World should support not knock him and shame on anyone that does.

  11. The one song that is hard for him to do now is Maybe I’m Amazed. When he did it on T.V., I was actually embarrassed for him. That being said, he puts on a tremendous show, I love him, and go see him every time he comes to Philly.

  12. Carol Ghesquiere says:

    As long as he enjoys performing and people enjoy his shows, what’s the problem?

    • James Percival says:

      His reputation – it’s taking a big hit, especially from people who never heard him at his best.

  13. eastonebee says:

    it is now painful to watch and hear him live. Is it really worth killing his voice for the sake of fans having fun going to his concerts? I’d rather he saved it so he’s able to make a few more albums. I sometimes think fans consider him like a mere monkey whose role is to entertain within the Beatles circus which sounds a bit selfish. Let the man show more creativity with new material and a few small shows here and there to promote those albums. That never ending live trail he’s been on has to stop!

    • psix66 says:

      no, it sdoesn´t have to stop ! i might want so see him again ! i enjoyed his show a lot in Munich and tbh i´m just the other way round than you, as i loved seeing him live in munich and i consider the “never-ending tour” as better than ” saving his voice for more albums”? who needs more new mccartney material than the master himself wants to do? he´s to celebrate his legend imho !

      btw : does anyone here know john lees from barclay name sharpest? he still has a great voice and still does new BJH albums with his band ” John Lees´Barclay James Harvest”. But he is also touring and celebrating the legend of his Band. I enjoy this, and there´s even another new studio album in the pipeline for next year, as a follow-up to 2013´s ” North” ( great album !!! ). I understand if he promotes that album North by live airings of 2 of its tracks ( “On Leave” and “North” ) and i even love those tracks played live ! But still i prefer the band doing the old stuff live!

  14. Unlike many people reading this blog, I’m not a “super” Macca fan. I’ve seen him in concert only once, and that was a good dozen years ago. As I recall, Paul’s voice was in pretty good shape then. But I was absolutely shocked when hearing McCartney on last year’s Saturday Night Live 40th anniversary show. His waver-y, “old man’s” voice literally made me cringe. I know the guy can’t help it — he’s seventy-four years old, for God’s sake. I would hate to see Paul severely tarnish his legacy by continuing to tour, doing 3-hour shows and using every onstage trick in the book to disguise his increasingly impaired vocals. It IS time for him to quit — and there’s absolutely no shame for McCartney admitting to what the passage of time does to all of us.

  15. Sharon Liott says:

    If he is selling out shows, adding new dates due to demand and if the audience is pleased and Paul is happy, what is the issue?? How come he is seems to be held in a higher regard and has to always prove himself. I don’t hear people telling Mick to hang it up or so many others that voices are not good, not the same, no where near the original key etc etc….Don’t attend the show if you don’t want to.

  16. NORBERTO says:

    I think it should make a two hours show and that their tours are shorter time as Ringo,Richie every year is more Young and his voice is strong tan ever,

  17. Al Sussman says:

    Carol G. pretty much nailed it. If Paul still has the performing itch and people are willing to fork over big money to attend his shows, he should continue to perform. Elvis Presley was a bloated parody of himself in the last years before his death, but his Vegas and concert shows continued to draw big crowds. By the time Frank Sinatra reached his upper 70s, decades of cigarettes and Jack Daniels had turned his voice into a shard of what it had been and his vision and memory were going. But not only did his concerts continue to sell out, but the early ’90s Duets albums were big sellers, despite the condition of his voice and delivery. Paul McCartney certainly hasn’t reached those depths yet. That said, not only is his singing voice becoming wobbly, but so is his speaking voice, as one might have gathered from his recent BBC interview. We’re beyond the “he can’t do concerts two nights in a row” stage. Maybe he needs to revamp his shows and not spend three hours on stage without a break or liquid refreshment. It certainly has worked for Ringo, just days short of 76 and in arguably better voice than he’s ever been. And, a la Ringo, Paul needs to concede the passage of time and lower the key on a number of songs, notably “Maybe I’m Amazed,” or at least retire those songs. And maybe the days of playing stadiums and doing throat-shredding rockers like “Helter Skelter”also need to come to an end for Paul. But telling him to retire will do nothing but bring out the stubborn streak that gave us the spectacle of Heather Mills.

    • James Percival says:

      Al,
      However bloated Elvis was by the mid 70s, he hadn’t lost his voice and he was only in his early 40s rather than mid 70s. Dylan I can’t really comment on because I have no idea what he is like live now, but it is reasonably fair to say he never had a voice to lose, however influential his singing style once was. The comparison with Sinatra is probably the best. Certainly one thing that probably encourages Paul is that, unlike Sinatra in his 70s, he is still very fit for his age and his instrumental abilities do not seem much impaired. And whether it is Nancy’ influence or not, he is dressing sharper and looking trimmer than he has done for a very long time; and it has to be said that Sinatra’s later shows don’t seem to have affected his overall standing and status. But I also remember Whitney Houston’s last British tour where there were a lot of negative comments about her declining voice and overall performance. I would not like him to retire, but I would prefer him to now put his energies into creating more new music – another oratorio maybe – something that will enhance his legacy rather than running the risk of diminishing his status.

    • eastonebee says:

      Paradoxically though, his voice is in better shape when he sings rockers than when he sings ballads or at least what you hear sounds better. His when he sings ballads. Everywhere being one of the many where his voice is at its worst. I guess it’s a Catch 22 where singing rockers kills his voice and affects his singing ballads even though he sounds better on rockers.
      The way I see it from the comments is that people are more interested for him to continue touring all over the place than releasing new work and show creativity. So they’re happy for him to exhaust himself, exhaust his voice and probably eventually die on stage like a true entertainer.
      Personally I’m a fan of Paul the artist, the one who pushed the limits of pop music and likes experimenting while keeping the songs to a commercial level. I’m not sure I want to see him as a crowd pleasing performing monkey for much longer although that doesn’t prevent him from doing smaller shows from time to time and make himself desired.

      • Roy Matthews says:

        Really? You think his voice sounds better doing rockers… like ‘Helter Skelter’ or ‘Maybe i’m amazed’, not from where i’m sitting it doesn’t.

      • Timothy Kelly says:

        For those who need to complain about Paul’s voice, you apparently forgot the Beatles’ message of Let It Be. The only voice that is truly sour is the cynical and negative posts I keep reading.

      • eastonebee says:

        Maybe I’m Amazed is hardly a rocker… What I meant to say was when he belts it out (or tries to) his voice is not has bad as when he sings ballads and he can just about shakily sing through them like he’s about to expire…

  18. Katie b says:

    He should continue to tour yes you go to want to hear him andt you also want to say I saw paul mccartney

  19. Mike says:

    I would love to hear a much different set list. As I say that people only want to hear the standards these days. Which I believe is the fault of the current media and clear channel owned stations. If they would play alternate Macca the crowds would come to accept it. I think Macca is getting close to just going through the motions like “The Stones” are. I love Macca and was floored that he did 1985. I saw this tour, the last and one in 1993 and walked away feeling great! The set list for this tour was a tad boring. I want more from Ram, Red Rose, Back to the Egg, Flaming Pie, Venus and Mars, etc. Macca gives more to his fans than 98% overall than most bands. Which he’s been doing since 1960. Bands like KISS do the same set lists for years on end, same as the Stones. When that starts happening with Macca that will be the tolling of the bell.

  20. Mark Matlack says:

    Been to Candlestick, St Louis, Milwaikee, Pittsburgh, Yankee Stadium, Citi Field, Radio City, Philly and Philly and Hershey this yesr. Voice is great, 3 1/2 hours on stage. Everyone will be crying when he is gone and say please come back. Let It Be!!!

  21. Roy Matthews says:

    Can I just say it is great to see this debate continue without any arguing or name calling. Just reasoned well thought out comments.. none slagging Paul off, all those in the YES and NO camps quite obviously still holding the man in the highest esteem and rightly so.

  22. Mike Oliva says:

    After reading all of these comments I just watched the Minnesota show yet again…..sorry its pretty awful. That is a fact. Paul struggles the whole show vocally. I don’t want to see this with my hero. I saw him last at Barclay’s 3 years ago and he has lost about 10 miles off his fastball since that show. He was workingman like but still great then. Sorry not now. As far as Ringo goes he has been playing the same set list for the last five years with the current band and he refuses to add anything new to the set list. I know that he cancelled that NC show because of the bathroom issue but the real reason is that he sold about a thousand seats in that venue…my friends daughter works there and said sales were beyond disappointing. These men are both in their mid to late 70’s for christ sakes! There is nothing to apologize for…its time to stop touring. I saw The Who at the Prudential Center in Newark back in April and they were amazing but you can see Roger pacing himself and saving his voice for when he needed it and they played for two hours on the nose. Even he knows its time after they finish this tour. The Stones were doing about 23 songs in their sets the last 10 years or so and now they are down to 16-17. Again I hope they all call it a day after the desert fest in October. Its time for all of them.

    • Mike, those October concerts are going to be both EXTREMELY competitive AND revealing. McCartney, Dylan, The Stones and the Who are all going to want to be at their best. It could be the last hurrah for one or two of them and they certainly don’t want to stumble off the stage looking bad…

  23. Mick Mckenna says:

    I want to remember him when he had such a strong voice. Was lucky to see him live, when he was touring with the release of Red Rose Speedway. But sadly the voice has gone now, he has hammered his voice for all them years!!

  24. Lucrecia says:

    I was at the first show in Argentina. The crowd was quiet because it was the first time he played in Córdoba, and honestly nobody could believe that Paul was in front of us. But two or three songs after that, people went crazy!!! It was the second time i’ve seen Paul live, I noticed that his voice doesn’t sound like a few years ago, but the energy and the love that flows in his shows has no compare. I’ve seen people of all ages crying and smiling, we lived an historical night. I think thats the reason why he’s still touring.
    He loves playing and we love to see him play. Maybe those people who see him play often can’t apreciate it.

  25. Susan Larson says:

    I was at the Minneapolis show and he was great, even ADDED to the sow just for Minnesota. I was fearful he was sick and do not want to loose him (dont forget he had several shows the day before). I have traveled across the country to see him and will continue to do so. SHAME ON those who say bad things and they can stay home. AS LONG AS HE PLAYS I WILL BE THERE and hope it will be for years to come.

  26. Victoria says:

    When his concert goers sing with him and enjoying the experience, I say YES! I’m 58 and still would LOVE to see him in concert, even if he is in his 90’s and I’m in my 70’s, I would STILL want to see him doing what he loves. It’s been on my bucket list since I was 10 years old. I’m afraid I will never get the chance.

  27. Renee says:

    I love him and I love seeing him perform and have seen him several times and have been amazed at how well he does sound and at the amount of energy he still has!!

  28. Mike Oliva says:

    Jonathan I totally agree with you about the October concerts! I have seen all of the performers many times….I am a huge Dylan fan but he should have quit long ago. The last time I saw him when he was still great (at least to me) was when he toured with Paul Simon back in 1999. I saw him about 5 years later when he did the minor league baseball stadiums with Willie Nelson and Bob was awful….and that is almost 10 years ago! His voice has only gotten worse. My friend begged me to go last year when he was playing a club in NYC. I declined. My friend went and said it was horrible and sad! Dylan is the real wild card at this fest. I was quite shocked that he was offered a slot there. I would have figured Clapton would have got the call.

  29. Rob Befumo says:

    I think the decision of “Should or Shouldn’t continue” lies with Paul, and the fans that are willing or anxious to see him. My hope is that he would take a year or so off from touring so his voice would recover, and then record an album of new material. That’s what I’m hungering for: new music! I thought “New” was the best collection since “Ram”. There was a confidence, energy and swagger that reminded me of Paul of the mid 1960’s. However, there were some vocal performances that could have been better if not for the constant touring that surrounded those recording sessions.

    • Mike Oliva says:

      Rob, I loved NEW! I thought it was brilliant! I will say his best since “Flowers in The Dirt”. I hope he still records new stuff. Just not tour like this anymore.

  30. Skokiaan says:

    Paul’s voice has been on a slow decline since the 1989/90 tour. Recently the decline has accelerated. The issue is not merely age.

    Besides the fact that he smoked for decades, the big problem is that Paul never warms up his voice. The band has a ritual of doing a group shout/cheer before hitting the stage, but that is not a warm up. This means his voice is cold when he sings a three hour show. This can damage the voice in a single performance, and Paul has been doing it for decades.

    I love Paul. I have seen every one of his solo tours (never saw Wings), been to dozens of his shows including some odd one-offs and have tickets to see him this summer, Still, if he decided to stop performing live I would not be disappointed.

  31. Susan Larson says:

    I was at the Minneapolis show and he was great, even ADDED to the show which was only played for Minnesota, a tribute to Prince. I was fearful he was sick and do not want to loose him. I have traveled across the country to see him and will continue to do so. SHAME ON those who say bad things and they can stay home. AS LONG AS HE PLAYS I WILL BE …… HERE, THERE AND EVERYWHERE!!!

    • Mike Oliva says:

      Sorry that you take it as bad Susan. Its not. Its fact. I love Paul and always will. I have every single Beatles, Wings & Solo album on vinyl. I was a huge Wings fan and had the posters in my room. Along with Elvis, Paul is my idol. That said it is time for him to stop with these tours. Like in politics people only want to believe what they want to hear and not the truth, Listen to all the audio from all these shows in 2016 thus far….if you really think he still sounds good then I don’t know what to tell you.

  32. Timothy Kelly says:

    If you are one of the sour notes that thinks Paul should quit, just don’t go to the dang concert, but
    you don’t speak for me. If you want to live in some fantasy that we don’t all age, and that we need to hide away so as not to embarrass ourselves, then go ahead and apply it to yourself too.
    As for voices getting old, what in the heck is wrong with that. Rock and roll has adapted, much like the blues, to accommodating old farts with old voices, and if that bothers you, good luck with the Beiber.

  33. Dave Wallace says:

    He’s having fun and the fans are having fun. My only comment is that with the constant touring, he is making his product a little less “exclusive” in that it seems you can see him every year if you like. The Beatles helped make themselves seem like music gods by making their availability infrequent (too infrequent in the last years). I fear Paul might be doing the opposite -oversaturating his product.

    • Timothy says:

      He is saturating for a reason. It isn’t just building a legacy, it is enjoying every last drop.
      He also wants to entertain.
      I don’t second guess a genius.

  34. WingsJer says:

    Macca can’t win. First the oft-criticized brand new “Pure McCartney” box set which in spite of its flaws is a long overdue welcome solo box set for Paul. This has come under fire from casual as well as his biggest fans. Then those same fans rip him for not sounding like he did even 10 years ago, let alone 20,30,40,50 years ago. I remember complains back to the 1989-1990 and 1993 tours about shaky vocals at times. Listen to “Ebony and Ivory” from “Tripping The Live Fantastic” for some very rough Paul vocals and that was over 25 years ago! Then lastly the man just turned the big 74 and go forbid it is starting to show. Raspy voice, wrinkles etc, it all goes with the territory. He is not immune to aging. I do think like Al said that Paul has a stubborn streak and the “old hippie” in Paul is fighting back the years and giving the effort he did 50 years ago with the Beatles and 40 years ago with Wings. However, he has given us 55 years of music now and while I don’t see him ever ceasing to record or reissue his extensive post Beatles back catalog, he has nothing left to prove to any of us.

    I do agree continuing to sing songs like “Helter Skelter” and “Maybe I’m Amazed” live can’t help his 74 year old vocal chords, his charm, persona, stage presence etc. carries the show- oh yeah that and some of the greatest songs ever recorded in music history! I do wish that he changed up the set list more, dug deeper in his catalog etc. As nice as “Here Today” and “Something” are, they have now been part of the set list for 15 years!

    I don’t feel I am in any position to question what this man has given us for his entire adult life with very little breaks. If he (and Ringo for that matter) want to tour until they drop, then by all means do it. Paul can tweak his show and maybe he hears the whispers and will do songs that help his voice along through a tour. I agree also with Rick in saying that the Minneapolis show online through a lousy Iphone speaker does sound pretty good and better than I expected hearing all the complaining online these days. Lets chill everyone and realize again Macca is 74 now and is not getting any younger. Enjoy his CD’s/vinyl etc. and if you have a chance to see him live enjoy him because a big void will occur in many of our lives when he is not around!

  35. Mike Oliva says:

    I saw Ali hang on too long and I can never forget the ass kicking that Larry Holmes gave him. I saw how bad Frank & Dino were in their last tours and they were my parents heroes. I watched with amazement how Dick Clark’s family let him on the New Years Eve shows his last few years…I see how they roll Brian Wilson out there now…rock n roll music was never meant to be played by folks in their 70’s! At least not live…these guys are becoming parodies of themselves and I don’t want to see Paul become that. For those unconvinced please listen to him doing the opener “Hard Day’s Night”, “Letting Go”, “Can’t Buy Me Love” or “Here, There & Everywhere” on this current tour. If you cannot here how bad he sounds then you should have your ears checked.

  36. Does Paul sound as good as he once did? Clearly, No. Do people still pay obscene amounts of money to see him in spite of it? You bet your sweet bippy they do! State your opinions all you wish but he still pulls in the fans. As long as he does, he should continue to tour. He loves it, we love it. It makes him happy, it makes us happy! If his singing voice bothers you – Here, let me help you with that.. then just don’t go to the shows. There, problem solved. There’s plenty of us that will be happy to take your seat. WIN/WIN.

    Things that i’d personally like to see happen?
    1. Lower ticket prices (the obscene amounts of money i’ve shelled out to see the love of my life is KILLING ME!) Dear God PLEASE, Paul!
    2. Switch up the set list from tour to tour. I’d lose my sh*t if i ever heard “Arrow Through me” or “Take it Away” live. (plus it might help with his vocal register if he sang less voice taxing songs)
    3. Not tour EVERY year so i can knock over a couple of liquor/convenience stores to raise money to see him every other year. (and perhaps help his voice to recover from tour to tour)

    other than that, keep on truckin’ Paul.. I adore ya.

  37. al says:

    I’m a fellow musician. I’m up there in age and I can relate how I would enjoy playing and In the end…the love you take” um sorry” I know why Paul was touring so much is that people were stilling his music online left and right…No more Vinyl to sell Beatles and Wings songs. The man is awesome and I wish he’d go home and have fun recording again so we could hear Pure McCartney’s new songs. I’d love to sit across from Paul and play and get help arranging my tunes with Paul. I’d have so much fun. Paul you a Good man,,,,

    • Sue says:

      3 years ago tonight I saw him in Milwaukee and can’t wait to see him next year an d v the year after.. should God and Paul will it. Al, keep playing and playing

  38. Roz says:

    I’m a casual musician with the dubious honor of possessing perfect pitch, so I pay attention closely to vocals in any music I listen to, and have noticed for awhile the declining quality of McCartney’s voice. I had tickets for the August 13th St. Louis show and, like the fan who wanted “the chance to see 1 of the 2 surviving members,” expected the concert to be a nostalgia trip, memorable because I was watching the man who used to sit eyeball to eyeball with John Lennon in Liverpool and write songs, not because Paul delievered musically like he used to.

    I was blown away by the concert.

    Paul can still entertain up a storm. I was impressed at the way the weaknesses in his voice were smoothed over. His voice was mixed with the instruments in such a way, his band members’ backing vocals arranged in such a way, that I didn’t notice if the quality of his vocals were poor or not. It was clever. I was also impressed by his fitness and energy–no doubt due to his vegetarian diet and regular exercise. I’m a slender 30-year-old and had to sit after two hours of standing because I couldn’t take it any longer.

    As a McCartney and Beatles connoisseur, it is my educated opinion that Paul lives for this. He’s one of the richest men in Britain and one of the most famous living people in the world; there’s no reason for him to do this except because he loves it. He needs that adulation and affirmation. (And I don’t mind giving it to him.) My guess is that he will continue doing this until he’s physically unable or it no longer gives him pleasure. Paul is not a pugilist like Muhammad Ali and he won’t develop Parkinson’s if he tours after his prime. I say let him. I’d love to see him again.

    I don’t think the way he sounds today was an inevitability either, for what it’s worth. Der Bingle was singing until he was 73 (witness “Little Drummer Boy”) and still sounded just as good as he did in the early days of his career. But Bing Crosby 1. was not a chain-smoker 2. was not a heavy marijuana smoker and 3. did not belt out rock songs for 50+ years. That Paul’s voice has survived as well as it has for this long is nothing short of a physical miracle.

  39. Roz says:

    Skokiaan says: “The band has a ritual of doing a group shout/cheer before hitting the stage, but that is not a warm up. This means his voice is cold when he sings a three hour show. This can damage the voice in a single performance, and Paul has been doing it for decades.”

    I can’t speak for what Paul’s habit was in earlier decades, but for this tour he most certainly sang during soundcheck. We pulled up at 5:30 for the 8 p.m. St. Louis show on August 13th and there he was, singing “Let ’em In,” “Sing the Changes,” “Mrs. Vanderbilt,” and “Drive My Car.” None of which he played during the actual set, the rotter.

  40. Roman says:

    Anno 2016 the voice of Ringo Starr is far more better then the voice of McCartney, unbelievable but is the true. I think McCartney can’t stop with touring, he is addicted to audience and applause. The sad thing could be that Paul is struggeling with getting old. He also knows that his voice is gone, but he simply deny it. In his mind he stills think he’s a young men, a Beatle almost. But that days are gone Paul. Remember what your old wise friend once said, ‘ all things must pass’ .
    I’m not saying this easely, i’m a fan sinds 1977, have all his records and saw all his concerts from 1989 till today. But now I feel pity for him, and also a shame that he fucked up all his own classical music and also from another 3 persons. Maybe it’s better to go back to the record studio and make some real nice new music, because he never lost his talent to compose and sing in the studio.

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