Evening Standard, Hulton Archive LONDON (AP) - Miles and Jimi. Jimi and Miles.…
- Posted on Jul 27th 2010 11:48AM by Stephen L. Betts
McCartney more than made up for the fact that it was his first tour date in town by delivering a mind-blowing three-hour set covering nearly a half-century of solo, Wings and Beatles material, and made instant stars of a couple of fortunate young fans along the way.
Kicking off with 'Venus and Mars/Rock Show,' McCartney and his four-piece band roared into a hard-edged take on 'Jet' and quickly followed with the first of a staggering 23 Beatles tunes, 'All My Loving.' Comprising a little more than half of his entire show, the Beatles material sounded as fresh and exciting as it had when the songs made their debut in the '60s.
After zig-zagging through his entire career with Wings' 'Letting Go,' the Fab Four's 'Got to Get You Into My Life' and 'Highway,' the first of a pair of songs from -- as he explained -- his 'alter ego,' the Fireman, McCartney moved to the side of the stage and sat at a grand piano to deliver a gorgeous rendition of 'The Long and Winding Road.'
Staying at the piano for 'Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five,' 'Let 'Em In,' and 'My Love,' he then switched to acoustic guitar for a jaunty version of 'I'm Looking Through You,' and a calypso-flavored take on the Champs' instrumental, 'Tequila,' the inclusion of which seemed to confuse, or at least amuse, even McCartney himself. 'Two of Us,' from 'Let It Be' followed after which things turned a tad somber. Delivering 'Blackbird,' as a solo acoustic number, McCartney explained in the introduction that he'd been inspired in the spring of 1968 to write it to address America's escalating racial tensions, the screens behind him depicting the stark yet hopeful nature of the song. With a world globe hovering above him, McCartney introduced 'Here Today,' written after John Lennon's death as "an imaginary conversation he and I might have had." The one hovering globe was soon joined by another, bringing the lyrics "you'd probably laugh and say that we were worlds apart," into sharp, bittersweet focus.
For 'Back in the USSR,' McCartney related the experience of being the first rock act to play in Moscow's Red Square. Putting on a humorous Russian accent, he shared a story of how one government official told him he had learned English by listening to Beatles records and suggested that the most useful phrase the Russian had learned was the all-encompassing "Hello, goodbye."
Perhaps the highlight of the entire show was 'Live and Let Die,' with the transition from ballad to rocker punctuated by an audience-jolting sequence of explosions and pyrotechnics. Closing out the main part of the show, center stage at a 'Magical Mystery Tour'-inspired psychedelic upright piano, he then led a chorus of thousands in the familiar na-na-na's of 'Hey Jude.'
The first of two encores began with McCartney waving an enormous Tennessee state flag, with a Union Jack representing his homeland also carried onstage. He then kicked into a fierce version of 'Day Tripper,' which served to remind fans of his status as one of rock's peerless screamers. After 'Lady Madonna' came perhaps the most impromptu moment of the night when McCartney spotted a sign reading "My son wants to play a song with you." Inviting the 12-year-old boy onstage, McCartney learned he was from Mexico and had trouble getting the youngster to commit to playing a particular instrument as the band launched into 'Get Back.' When McCartney suggested he "just groove," that's exactly what the youngster did, with charming and heartwarming -- albeit limited -- hip-swiveling moves.
The night's second encore began with 'Yesterday' followed by McCartney inviting a woman onstage so he could sign her back, right next a tattoo of his Hofner bass. The band then ripped into a full-tilt version of 'Helter Skelter' followed by the title track reprise from 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band,' which was followed by 'The End.' Naturally, the song closed the evening, and fans were showered with confetti as McCartney and company exited the stage for good.