Review: Macca: The Concert, Buxton Opera House

It is commonly said that great people achieve their breakthrough work before they are 30. Paul McCartney was born in 1942. This polished show presented almost 30 of Sir Paul’s songs and unquestionably the most memorable and arresting were written when he was in his 20s. Maybe I’m Amazed comes from 1970 and little after that date touches it.

Macca – the Concert is a ‘proper’ show. A good band, including a brass section, effective lighting and good use of images projected on a big screen. The pictures remind us at different times of what a good-looking man George Harrison was and how black was the young Michael Jackson. Fireworks add to the theatricality of Live and Let Die.

Quite what people want or expect from a tribute show is unclear. Impersonation is part of it, as is musical authenticity; it may have something to do with reclaiming our own youthful vigour.  Emanuele Angeletti – and his eight-piece band – succeed on all counts.

He looks enough like Paul – especially when sitting at the piano, there is something about the way he looks out from beneath his fringe. They play the songs respecting the original arrangements, and incorporating the tell-tale embellishments that distinguish – for example – Lady Madonna, resisting any temptation to improve on what we remember. By the end of the show we are all on our feet – lapping up Back in the USSR, Get Back, I Saw Her Standing There, and necessarily, Hey Jude.

Some of the most successful songs in the show were those associated with McCartney’s musical partners; Denny Laine’s Go Now and George Harrison’s Something. Wisely none of John’s songs feature. This is a show that reminds us that Paul has contributed a whole clutch of songs that will endure, that will provide comfort and pleasure and embrace us in times of trouble.

Keith Savage