Re: A Star With His Guitar (Aug. 13). Baby, I'm amazed that I can still talk this morning! Along with over 31,000 fans, I witnessed the best concert I have ever seen.
I sang along, swayed to and fro to the music and, I have to admit, at one point I screamed "Paul, we love you." These are same words I hollered when I saw the Beatles for the first time on the Ed Sullivan Show 50 years ago.
What I witnessed was an extremely talented musician whose music has transcended many generations. What I heard was the beautiful purity and richness of the lyrics to many of the Beatles and Wings songs.
Yes, this was an incredible moment I will cherish forever.
I attended the "amazing" concert and was amazed -- but not in the way your reviewer, Melissa Martin, was. I went to hear Paul McCartney perform some of my favourites from his huge and mostly magnificent songbook. However, I was appalled (no pun intended) again and again by his deliberately brutal arrangements of both his own rock 'n' roll hits and many of his beautifully delicate and subtle songs.
In what was by far the worst concert I have ever attended, there were only two bright moments -- when McCartney paid homage to George Harrison with a clever and only mildly over produced version of Something, and then, near the end, his interaction with the audience during the Hey Jude anthem.
Apart from them, almost everything was grotesquely over-produced and distorted. With few exceptions he consistently used absurd levels of an unnecessary thundery bass background, pointlessly flashy guitar work by his accomplices and percussion work that can best be described as brutal. For this I suppose we can partially blame many of his fans and their tin ears and uncritical acceptance of whatever he serves up.
The worst moments in the concert for me occurred during the (in)famous McCartney hymn to James Bond's "licence to kill," Live and Let Die. Almost everyone enthusiastically applauded for an absurd series of explosions and fireballs -- not just once, but twice. Their applause was to celebrate what? Loud noises? Killing people?
In short, McCartney's musical genius did not honour the best of his own work. Instead, he chose to serve Mammon. As has been said before, the sad truth about McCartney is that the man has great gifts but an often weak moral compass.
I have no quarrel with the review of Paul McCartney's concert. I was privileged to attend his concert in 1993, and all the praise this iconic performer receives is well earned.
I am, however, very disappointed that the Free Press all but ignored another artist who blessed us with a performance for the ages. Loreena McKennitt is not only homegrown (born and raised in the Morden area) but is also the most successful independent artist in the world.
We attended her Aug. 9 concert at the Centennial Concert Hall. Her talent and that of her musical ensemble are nothing short of stunning.
Anyone who has enjoyed her recorded music has not even scratched the surface of her powerful voice and nuances of her beautiful music. She is one of the rare musical artists who is even better in person.
Canadians are often in a rush to idolize foreign artists, forgetting that we have gifted the world with some of the greatest talent in history. Loreena McKennitt is the apex.
A welcome turnaround
I had thought the Free Press had been fully co-opted by the CBC's mantra of blanket government culpability trumping personal responsibility. But the paper turns about and surprises its readers with the statement: "That should be the family's task, not the state's" (Weak links, Editorials, Aug. 13).
Bravo to the editorial staff for refuting the pervasive atmosphere of pan-victimization. It takes courage to promote individual responsibility over finger-pointing at a distant and disinterested bureaucracy.
That the press focuses narrowly on the incessant whinging of a modern, rights-based culture remains troublesome, however. It is the real weak link when reporting on the true heroism of everyday life.
MARK S. RASH
Highway could be worse
Re: Fix Highway 75 (Letters, Aug. 8) It has been said that all roads lead to Rome. It is also very true that all bad roads lead to Winnipeg.
Our deserving reputation for having the country's worst, crumbling public thoroughfares is indeed shameful. Let's only hope that visiting tourist Richard Wear (ironies abound) never discovers that Highway 75 -- as rough as he thinks it is -- is actually in good condition when compared to the sorry state of many provincial roads and city streets.
Tories doing their job
Re: Tories won't take no for an answer on PST (Aug. 1). Premier Greg Selinger contends his government is prepared to do the work that needs to be done for Manitobans and he takes this responsibility seriously.
It appears to me this is a veiled suggestion that the parties opposing PST increase are not responsible. If such is the case, I wish to remind the premier he does not have a monopoly on the needs and interests of Manitobans. The opposition has every right to hold the government accountable for this ill-conceived and hasty tax increase.
This service to Manitobans far outweighs the NDP flawed tax increase and its attempt at justification after the fact.
If Selinger truly believed in responsible government he would have sought the opinion of the people by a referendum in keeping with his legal obligation. His government is to be blamed for the protracted and unproductive sitting of the legislature, not the opposition.
In 2005 Manitoba paid 14 per cent in consumption taxes. Eight years later we will be paying 13 per cent.
Yet some people are complaining that the economy will tank and poverty will rise. Really? It didn't tank then, so why now?