This week, for your reading enjoyment, we have compiled reviews of live performances from Paul McCartney in Madison, Wis.; Florence + The Machine in Miami; Twenty One Pilots in Kansas City, Mo.; Father John Misty / Jason Isbell in Santa Barbara, Calif.; Train / Goo Goo Dolls in Phoenix; and Herbie Hancock in Sydney, Australia.
Scott Legato / Getty Images – Paul McCartney
Paul McCartney brings his “One on One” tour to the new Little Caesars Arena in Detroit for two shows Oct. 1-2.
Paul McCartney @ Kohl Center in Madison, Wis., June 6 – “The hair is gray and the voice that helped turn on the world to Beatlemania in the 1960s is raspy around the edges, but Paul McCartney delighted a packed Kohl Center on Thursday night with a nearly three-hour show that called back his many triumphs of the past six decades.
“With a tight band and carefully timed pyrotechnics, he alternated between rockers that got the all-ages crowd dancing and ballads that got them slowly swinging their arms in the air. For many of the songs there was a multimedia backdrop featuring vintage footage from his days with The Beatles and Wings.” – William J. Dowlding / Wisconsin State Journal
Florence + The Machine @ AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami, Fla., June 9 – “Throughout the show, Welch expressed gratitude for her fans and the community they’ve built around the band’s performances. When she sang ‘Delilah,’ from the 2015 album How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful, she told the crowd that Miami was the setting where the song was born, springing from an experience she had in the Magic City.” – Suzannah Friscia / Miami New Times
Twenty One Pilots @ Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo., June 10 – “Over the course of the evening, Twenty One Pilots managed to squeeze in every single song (14 in all) from the new album, along with five from 2015’s Blurryface.
“And that seemed to be just fine with this particular crowd. Whenever the jumbo-sized video screens cut to shots of fans, they knew all the words, whether it was to a gigantic hit like ‘Ride’ or to one of those newer tracks that the average music fan probably wouldn’t even recognize the melody of. It felt like a giant party. The only time that the crowd sat down during the show was when Joseph literally told it to sit down.” – Théoden Janes / The Charlotte Observer
Father John Misty / Jason Isbell @ Santa Barbara Bowl in Santa Barbara, Calif., June 7 – “Playing while it was still moderately sunny out, Isbell brought his own daylight to dark corners in his bittersweet rockers. There aren’t many songs of his that don’t feel like anthems-for-a-generation in their own unassuming, modest way, like ‘High Road,’ with its line ‘Last year was a son of a bitch for nearly everyone we know’ (an observation unlikely to wear out its welcome anytime soon). ‘Thanks for listening,’ he said at the end of ‘White Man’s World,’ a statement you wouldn’t read a lot into if you didn’t know that some would-be fans in other parts of the country found him singing about white privilege to be preachy.
“Misty was not nearly as effusive during his time on stage, limiting his exchanges with the audience to one long one where the sunglasses-wearing star admitted to some difficulty having exchanges with the audience. ‘I have no idea how to address crowds this size. I’m used to addressing crowds much bigger than this,’ he joked. ‘But someone sent me a YouTube video on charisma — this is a well meaning friend — that said that to be more likable, I have to indicate more when I’m being sarcastic. Apparently that ‘s what one of the Ryan guys does. Ryan Reynolds? Ryan Gosling is the guy who does this all the time’ — he rubbed the back of his neck at length —’that’s like his big acting move. … Anyway, this concludes the banter.’” – Chris Willman / Variety
Train / Goo Goo Dolls @ Ak-Chin Pavilion in Phoenix, Ariz., June 12 – “While the songs were good, the show itself was a mixed bag. The crowd’s energy died every time the Dolls played something that wasn’t off of ‘Dizzy Up the Girl’ or ‘A Boy Named Good.’
“Some bands reveal hidden depths and nuances to their sound live. Train isn’t one of those bands. Listening to songs like ‘Calling All Angels’ and ‘50 Ways to Say Goodbye’ live, I was struck by how hollow they sounded.” – Ashley Naftule / AZ Central
Herbie Hancock @
Concert Hall @ Sydney Opera House in Sydney, Australia, June 11 – “Herbie Hancock has restored my faith. For years I’ve despaired that audiences for most concert music idioms have steadily grown older, with players now routinely half the age of their listeners. But Hancock packed the place out with all ages — as he has probably done for 57 years. Few performers in any idiom could make such a claim.” – John Shand / The Sydney Morning Herald