As Paul McCartney wrapped up his Out There tour in America on October 30, his live bandmates continue to rock on with their own projects, not to mention that Paul has played live with Brian Ray, Rusty Anderson, Abe Laboriel Jr. and Wix Wickens longer than he played live with the Beatles. And it shows.
Brian Ray, plays bass, also plays lead and rhythm guitar, as well as sings in perfect harmony with Rusty Anderson, to Paul's lead vocals. Ray was first introduced to Etta James, via Nashville "nanny to the stars," Phil Kaufman. Some of you may know Phil from his days with Gram Parsons and when Gram passed away, it was Kaufman who stole Gram's body and burned it at the Joshua Tree. But that's another story other than the great visit Kaufman and Ray had while McCartney played in Nashville.
If one has listened to Brian Ray's CD with his group, The Bayonets, one would know Ray holds his own with the best. To call one's self a songwriter while playing with Sir Paul takes a lot a courage. At this point, Mr. Ray has both the courage and talent to match it, and though no one is comparing him to Paul McCartney as a songwriter, he certainly holds his own for what he is doing separately from McCartney.
The same could be said for Rusty Anderson, who plays rhythm and lead guitar as well as adds those high harmonies.
Abe Laboriel Jr, on drums plays differently than Ringo, yet the drum fills are unmistakably in the form of Ringo. Ringo is more laid back, while Abe does a full out assault on the high hat and fills.
"Wix" is the magic man. He allows Paul to play Beatles songs that otherwise couldn't be performed live without his adept skill on pro tools and other computer programs that allow the touch of a keyboard to turn into strings or horns.
Together, with Sir Paul, if one closes their eyes and listens, one can't tell they aren't listening to Paul's material with the Beatles.
Sir Paul, of course, is at the top of his game at age 72, in fine form vocally and physically. He has the ability to keep his band together; all working for the same goal, and to that end, McCartney has succeeded at every live show on the Out There tour.
As they head to Brazil and then home for the holidays, no one would be surprised to see McCartney and his same band continue the touring in 2015. Well, at least one can hope.