Maybe I’m (more than) amazed at this concert, where Paul McCartney, pushing 68 years of age can rock out for 3 hours straight without any intermission, when rock bands who share the load and more than half his age never seem to make it past 2 hours.
Maybe I’m amazed that through the amazing set of super-hits from both The Beatles and Wings and some choice non-number one songs from The Beatles (though no lesser known by the sold-out Hollywood Bowl crowd) such as “I Got A Feeling” and “Helter-Skelter” was the realization when it was all over that, he could have easily filled another set of that magnitude with all the choice Beatles, Wings and solo tunes he didn’t get around to, such as: “She Loves You,” “Can’t Buy Me Love,” “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” “She’s Leaving Home,””Penny Lane”, “Maybe I’m Amazed” etc etc.!
The show’s star was relaxed as ever, sharing amusing anecdotes with the crowd, which was a sell-out one made up equally of old-school Beatles fans revisiting their formative years side by side with a sizable contingent of teens and pre-teens smack dab in the middle of theirs. The concert was the first of a two-night appearance at the historic Hollywood Bowl, his first at the venue since 1993, but also locale of The Beatles initial assault on American audiences over 4 1/2 decades ago, a notion not lost on McCartney who on more than one occasion cast his gaze around the Bowl’s expansive territory to “drink it all in”, or as he asked to no one in particular “was it really 70 years ago when we first played?” Still the smart ass boy from Liverpool it would seem.
Despite myself having been born way after the majority of these hits had been penned, Beatles songs are ingrained in your memory from birth. It has been a dream of mine to see McCartney live and he by far did not disappoint! With all my high expectations, he all but succeeded them!
Some highlights among the 36 songs played included: generous nods to departed colleagues John Lennon — singing “A Day in the Life” and “Give Peace a Chance” and the haunting “Here Today’ which he wrote about Lennon’s death and all the things un-said between the two — and George Harrison, in a reading of “Something” that went from lighthearted ukulele playing to soaring melody.
“Live and Let Die” was fabulously Bond-esque- with no expense spared fireworks being set off at each chorus. It had the crowd (me especially) in raptures, which led nicely into the next song of “Hey Jude” which of course had the whole crowd in Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Nah’s. I imagine in an indoor stadium this would have blown the roof off.
Coming back for two encores, the second last song of the night was pure rock n roll “Helter Skelter”. I was shocked he played this in L.A with its connection to the Manson murders and all, and wonder if this is generally played in his sets? It worked the crowd into a frenzy and was just a shame it had to end after that.
P.S Side note: much had been made in the L.A press about the time-consuming process of getting in for to concert. I didn’t find it any different from any other major venues, plus gave us a chance to chat to former Full House alumni (and now Kerry-Ann Kennerly You Tube phenomenon) John Stamos