Andrew H. Walker, Getty Images Nine days after the deadly tornado that touched…
- Posted on Jun 14th 2007 12:00PM by Bill Crandall
"Evenin', all," he greeted the faithful gathered for his Wednesday night not-so-secret show at the intimate Highline Ballroom in downtown Manhattan. His slender bass draped over his shoulder, he and his self-described "boy band " -- which he instantly amended to "man band" -- launched into a turbocharged 'Drive My Car.'
The lucky few packed into the Highline, namely music industry folk and contest winners, followed the lead of one audience member and sang 'Happy Birthday' to McCartney, who will turn 65 -- yes, a year beyond his fateful 64 -- on Monday. Ever the gracious host, he played along and when the serenade concluded blew out his microphone in the absence of a cake.
Wirily fit in a striped crew-neck top, McCartney looked less like a former Beatle and more like one of those Beatle-loving Gallagher brothers, except with a smile on his face, of course. Changing instruments (bass, mandolin, acoustic guitar, piano, electric guitar) more frequently than Madonna changes outfits, McCartney gleefully offered up selections from his new 'Memory Almost Full' CD -- which he was proud to announce is "Number 3 in the U.S." -- alongside Beatles classics like 'I Saw Her Standing There,' 'Back in the U.S.S.R.' and 'Let It Be.'
The show was at turns charming (a delightful story about writing 'I'll Follow the Sun' in his Liverpool house while wondering if he'd ever be a big star), moving (dedications to "fallen heroes John, George and Linda," a gorgeous solo acoustic-guitar version of 'Blackbird') and comical (pretending he was tripping while seated at the piano in between songs and asking the men and women in the audience to alternate na-na-na-nas during 'Hey Jude.'
At the end of the set, McCartney accepted the crowd's accolades as well as its bouquets. Returning for his Beatles-heavy encore, he slyly alluded to his somewhat more recent past, Wings' 1973 'Red Rose Speedway' album cover, by clenching a fan's red rose between his teeth.
The Set List:
Drive My Car
Only Mama Knows
The Long and Winding Road
I'll Follow the Sun
That Was Me
Back in the U.S.S.R.
Nod Your Head
House of Wax
I've Got a Feeling
Let It Be
I Saw Her Standing There