Live and Let Die: The Music of Paul McCartney
The Louisville Orchestra
Tony Kishman, vocals and guitars
Jason Seber, conducting
Review by Annette Skaggs
Entire contents copyright © 2015 by Annette Skaggs. All rights reserved
Not too long ago, Sir Paul McCartney came into our lovely city, and from all accounts, gave one heckuva concert. I was not able to attend that particular performance, but I was able to attend Live and Let Die: The Music of Paul McCartney presented with the Louisville Orchestra. While it wasn’t the beloved former Beatle, Tony Kishman and friends was a still a good bit of fun. From a distance, Mr. Kishman, who previously was part of the successful Beatlemania and Classical Mystery Tour groups, even resembled Sir Paul, even though he does play bass right handed, instead of left.
With this performance being a part of the LO Pops series, I was anticipating an evening of fun music and audience enthusiasm and maybe even participation – more on that later.
As one would expect from a tribute band, there was an ample supply of the songs that fill McCartney’s lengthy discography. And with an orchestral ensemble to resemble some of the studio work that was done both with the Beatles and McCartney’s solo and Wings work, it added a touch of actually being there.
A lot of favorites were covered, including a few you may have forgotten about. Eleanor Rigby was accompanied by simple and melodious violin, viola and cello while Uncle Albert came complete with the miscellaneous clatter noises, memorable trumpet and megaphone. Speaking of trumpet, in Penny Lane I fear that a couple of top notes didn’t quite get to their tonal point. I think it was just a case of the breath had run out. Of course there has to be some ribbing of your fellow bandmates and Mr. Kishman had a good time with his fabulous drummer, Chris Camilleri, letting the audience know that he had practiced for months to play a new instrument, a pop/Coke bottle that opened Silly Love Songs. Practice made perfect. In the title song of his concert tour Live and Let Die, there seemed to be some problems in harmonization and an altering of the orchestration, which wasn’t bad, just different. Was that a slide whistle instead of piccolo?
After a fun set of music, Mr. Kishman speaks to the audience and of course pretends to butcher how to pronounce Louisville and then goes to proclaim McCartney as the greatest songwriter (he is certainly amongst them) but then introduced the next song as how it would sound had it been written in the style of Bach or Handel. Ok, I thought for a second, this should be fun. Uh, Mr. Kishman, Octopus’s Garden was written by Richard Starkey (Ringo Starr), with some help from George Harrison. Even though the proper credit wasn’t given, it was a fun contrast to how we are familiar with the enchantment under the sea. There was even the use of harpsichord. Delightful!
Mr. Kishman allowed some time for his cohorts to have some solo time. The John Lennon of the group, Jim Owen, performed a splendid I Am The Walrus, complete with the fade out dialogue. John Merjave took George Harrison’s Here Comes the Sun and made it his own, although I thought the harmony could have been a little more fine-tuned. Also, I believe there may have been some microphone/volume problems.
A couple of surprises by way of No More Lonely Nights from the Broadstreet album and the even lesser known Bluebird (with a great saxophone solo) from the Band on the Run album were appreciated to show the depth and breadth of McCartney’s writing styles through the decades. I would have liked to have heard some of his more recent contributions. Perhaps those songs are in the works for future performances by Mr. Kishman and gang.
She’s Leaving Home, complete with a lovely harp solo and soaring harmonies, was almost as hauntingly beautiful as when I first heard it from the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearst Club Band album. Yesterday, accompanied by acoustic guitar and first strings was as well.
The audience, for the most part seemed a little subdued, but with songs like Ob La Di, Ob La Da and the first encore piece, Hey Jude, it was hard to just sit still!
Of course there were more songs played than what I have mentioned, but I can assure you that among those, every instrumentalist, our Maestro Seber and Louisville Orchestra, was channeling McCartney the whole evening.
I’ll close with one of my favorite lyrics ever written in any genre of song, from The End: “And in the End, the Love you take is equal to the Love you make.”
Live and Let Die: The Music of Paul McCartney
April 11, 2015
Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts
501 West Main Street
Louisville, KY 40202
[box_light]Annette Skaggs is a heavily involved Arts Advocate here in Louisville and freelance professional opera singer who has performed throughout Europe, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Boulder, Little Rock, Peoria, Chicago, New York and of course Louisville. Aside from her singing career she has been a production assistant for Kentucky Opera, New York Opera and Northwestern University. She has a 25+ year knowledge of the Classical Arts.[/box_light]