Paul McCartney and his fantastic band made a stop in Philadelphia recently, and blessed the Beatlemaniacs and Wingnuts with a career encompassing 3 hour set of classics and deep cuts.
Looking dapper and youthful as ever for his 68 years, Macca ripped the night open with a Wings fan favorite “Venus and Mars/Rockshow” and flew right into “Jet.” The band was hot and fully prepared to follow Sir Paul through whatever mood the set list called for, whether it be the nearly acappella “Eleanor Rigby”, the loose and solo- filled “I’ve Got a Feeling” or the rocking pomp and pyro of “Live and Let Die.”
McCartney was as versatile as ever, switching from that famous Hofner bass, to a left handed Les Paul and then grand piano with the ease of an old master. There were plenty of surprises and stories from every era, more often than not presented as a fanboy dream prequel to almost every song.
The audio visual behind the band was stunning, with many never before seen Fab Four candids and Polaroids from Paul’s family collection screened in and following the cadences to many songs.
There was the incredible revelation that the classic “Blackbird” was in fact, inspired by the civil rights movement and unrest experienced by the Beatles while touring the south in the mid sixties. One candid and poignant moment was Paul’s story behind how he finally wrote a song, as hard as it must have been “in the form of a conversation he never had, but can have it now with John Lennon.” Then, with only an acoustic guitar, he played “Here Today,” the song in front of the story from 1982’s under-appreciated Tug of War album.
John and George were heavily honored with very personal versions of Lennon’s “A Day in the Life”(which segued into a bit of “Give Peace a Chance”) and an emotional take on Harrison’s classic “Something,” which was partially performed on ukulele, as an homage to George’s passion for the instrument.
With so many eras to draw from, all wrought with classics etched in the minds of millions, it was also refreshing to be impressively rocked by the recent “Highway” and the massively anthemic “Sing The Changes” from 2008’s Electric Arguments.
There were three endless encores that included a jam-tastic “Helter Skelter,” the timeless “Yesterday” and of course “Carry Yhat Weight/The End” from Abbey Road. It was indeed a fitting end to a joyously exhausting night with a gamut of emotions in overdrive and in the right place for McCartney’s world treasure of musical wonders.