Live Review: Paul McCartney, Tokyo Dome, March 11, 1991


The Japanese have a strange temple in central Tokyo, where they come to pay homage to the Gods of Western Culture. It's a 50,000 capacity indoor baseball stadium with lousy acoustics. I was here when they worshipped Bono and when they revelled with the Stones. Tonight, I'm here as they pay their respects to the God of Nostalgia, Mr. Paul McCartney.

Not exactly rock, but there are other reasons for going to concerts. Forget about the Flowers in the Dirt songs. Forget about Wings. All we were here for were the Beatles songs sung by the only organic survivor of the greatest song-writing partnership in the history of the World: Lennon and McCartney.

Mixed in with the dross, we had The Long and Winding Road, Fool on the Hill, Sergeant Pepper, and Eleanor Rigby – fine songs faithfully recreated. But antiquated pop isn't exactly the thing to get rabbles roused. We had to wait for a lively and unexpected rendition of Back in the USSR before the real excitement began. This is a good old-fashioned, Chuck-Berry-style rhythm-and-blues number and a really cool song for the way it pokes fun at the simplistic cars-and-girls themes of bands like the Beach Boys.

The earthier and less sugary the songs were, the better they stood the test of time. Other highlights included I Saw her Standing There, Fats Domino's Ain't That a Shame and the best post-Beatles song, the epic Live and Let Die. They finished the main set with Hey Jude a song that starts like a dirge and ends like a hymn of joy, and one guaranteed to get any audience – even a convention of mullahs – singing along.

For an encore, Paul did – yes, you've guessed it – Yesterday followed by Love Me Do, slowed down and funked up to sound like a New Kids on the Block hip hop travesty. Thankfully, to wash the taste of this out of our ears, a fairly faithful rendition of Get Back followed.

Lots of people seemed to have brought their babies with them. The woman behind me was even breast-feeding, which proved something of a distraction throughout the show. I guess the general idea was that this was a rare chance to expose them to the magical and benign rays that emanate from genuine musical legends. In Japan, it seems, Paul McCartney really is a god.

Colin Liddell
11th March, 1991
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