Album Reviews

Various Artists

A MusiCares Tribute To Paul McCartney

Artist:     Various Artists

Album:     A MusiCares Tribute To Paul McCartney

Label:     Shout! Factory

Release Date:     03/23/2015


The diverse cast of participants assembled here to honor Paul McCartney illustrates his impact on modern music in ways no adjectives could. His impact is so explicit in fact that it makes this—or any other tribute, for that matter—easy to take for granted. Although the salute took place in 2012, it practically begs the question, “What took MusiCares so long?” If ever there was an artist to help establish a template, would it not be McCartney?

All quibbling aside, this extravaganza is nothing less than a spectacle in and of itself, a fact clearly established when the cast of the Cirque du Soleil Beatles-based show “LOVE” kick off the evening’s proceedings with their flamboyant interpretation of “Get Back,” “Hello, Goodbye” and a “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” medley. From that point on, the array of contributors unfolds in true variety show fashion, with vintage artists such as Duane Eddy, James Taylor and Sergio Mendes (whose cover of “Fool on the Hill” became one of the earliest attempts to get a Beatles song in front of a more diverse audience) mixing it up with those of a newer generation, such as Diana Krall, Norah Jones, Alison Krauss and Coldplay.

It’s a moving concert all around, with Alicia Keys’ personal take on “Blackbird” and Krauss and company’s cover of “No More Lonely Nights” among the highlights. Likewise, Neil Young’s (a regular it seems when it comes to these sorts of celebrations) high octave delivery of “I Saw Her Standing There” adds extra dazzle to the proceedings, upping the energy level in an otherwise sweetly sentimental evening.

Not surprisingly, it’s the man himself who steals the show, with McCartney and his band electrifying the audience with fiery takes on “Magical Mystery Tour,” “Junior’s Farm,” Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five” and the closing string of songs from “Abbey Road” (with Dave Grohl and Joe Walsh in tow no less). Ultimately, the greatest testament to McCartney’s prowess is of course McCartney himself, and this incredible evening is no exception.

—Lee Zimmerman

Got something to say?