From its people-pleasin’ serving of 24 tracks (hits, recent product and two unrevealing jams) to its air of mass nostalgia, this is exactly the ticket to infuriate McCartneyphobes. But through the unarguable strength of the songs captured on this New World Tour disc and the delightful vigor of its master’s voice, Paul Is Live should entice all but the chronically disaffected.
“Lady Madonna,” “Paperback Writer” and “Penny Lane” embody the tunefulness that made Paul’s whimsy the perfect foil to John’s abrasiveness, and the other Beatle reprises are equally strong. With the help of guitarists Robbie McIntosh and Hamish Stuart, McCartney’s solo work hits harder than it does in its studio incarnation. McCartney is coolest, however, when he reaches back: “Kansas City” and “Good Rockin’ Tonight” reveal him as the upbeat rocker whose zeal transformed the world. That such zeal lingers is reason enough for Paul Is Live.