Just Shy of 80, Paul McCartney Gives Fenway Park A Timeless Hit Parade (SHOW REVIEW/PHOTOS)

Paul McCartney and his band graced the jewel of Boston, Fenway Park, for two nights this week. On the second night, Wednesday, June 8, Kenmore Square was more alive than any Red Sox homestand. McCartney, the living legend from Liverpool, who will be turning 80 years young in just over a week, commanded another sold-out crowd in front of the legendary Green Monster for his Get Back Tour – his umpteenth since traveling around the world as a Beatle back in the early ’60s. Decades into his career, writing, recording, and performing with the Beatles, Wings, and as a solo artist; McCartney is a well-polished artist and performer who demonstrated that he still has what it takes to put a smile on his audience’s faces.

Hot off the resurgence of Peter Jackson’s revised documentary Get Back, Beatles buzz continues to grow and prosper. McCartney’s last release, McCartney III, was delivered back in 2020 but it doesn’t matter whether he has a new record or not. When it comes to McCartney, if he’s on tour, his fans will come and the show will sell out because they know they’re going to witness one of the greatest do what he does best. McCartney and his longtime 20 + year band, which features Wix Wickens (keys), Rusty Anderson (guitar), Abe Laboriel Jr. (drums), and Brian Ray (guitar), treated Fenway to a three-hour 37 song set that included a hefty dose of Beatles and Wings classics along, plenty of solo material and a throwback to his tenure with The Quarrymen.

As the fans shuffled in and found their seats, McCartney’s camp had a jukebox of Macca-music flowing from the PA while pop art graphics of guitars and other instruments were playfully displayed on the massive video monitors. At around 7:15, the house music kicked and the band took to the stage. McCartney made his entrance after his band: he smiled, waved, and pointed at familiar faces in front of the stage. Then after a quick look at Laboriel Jr., McCartney spun around to find his mic, and the band launched into “Can’t Buy Me Love”, to which the majority sang every word right along with them.

The band followed with a pair of Wings’ tunes before crushing a jovial “Got to Get You into My Life”. The Hot City Horns were mixed masterfully, adding to the celebratory atmosphere. Other highlights from the first third of the set included a sexy take on “Let Me Roll It”, where McCartney and Ray swapped guitar and bass duties. Wickens tickled the ivories for the organ fills, adding a little sparkle. Anderson and McCartney joined forces on the trademark lick and riffs as Laboriel laid down a solid groove throughout the Wings hit.

“Getting Better” and “Maybe I’m Amazed” solidified the quality of the carefully crafted setlist early on. McCartney’s vocals were primed and as he sat behind a baby grand for “Amazed”, he clearly had the audience in the palm of his hand. Anderson slayed with his six-string prowess as he effortlessly fretted the trademark lead work. “We Can Work It Out” continued to spread the joy with another Beatles favorite before the band offered up “In Spite of All the Danger”, a Quarrymen skiffle salute. “Danger” allowed McCartney to showcase a rollicking solo on his acoustic guitar, surrounded by his bandmates, the icon looked like a kid again as he plucked away. “Love Me Do” pulled at the heartstrings and found the audience and band singing in unison once again. Wickens continued to ace the flair with his spot-on harmonica hook. “Dance Tonight” was fun by itself but it also allowed for a bit of comic relief as Laboriel hammed it up with his dance moves all while keeping beat with one foot on his bass drum. 

Mid-set, McCartney took the stage by himself for a pivotal performance of “Blackbird” and “Here Today”. Under the lone spotlight with his acoustic, McCartney kept the audience mesmerized with the eloquent timepieces as he ascended several feet above sea level on an electric riser. It was truly captivating. What followed could be simply classified as a Beatles fiesta.

The second half of the show was chock full of the Fab Four and Wings’ best as “Lady Madonna” brought the pop and bounce back into the set. The staple tribute to George Harrison initially showcased Paul alone, playing “Something” on the ukulele. Though, for this tour, he switched it up halfway by having the full band return for the rest of the classic. Then the hits just kept coming with “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da”, “You Never Give Me Your Money”, “She Came In Through The Bathroom Window”, “Get Back”, “Band On the Run”, “Let It Be” and “Live and Let Die” which were all mesmerizing.

After allowing for both the band and audience to catch their collective breath, Paul and Co. wrapped the initial set with the classic sing-along “Hey Jude” – a song that brought the audience and band together as one before the band waved good-bye both with their hands and a collection of large state, US, pride, and Ukraine flags.

After a quick hiatus from the stage, the band came back out with a flurry of waves and smiles. McCartney jokingly asked, “You want some more?” to which the audience roared with approval. For the encore, McCartney had something very special planned. “I’ve Got a Feeling” featured isolated vocals from John Lennon, thus offering up a virtual duet between McCartney and Lennon.

“Birthday” was dedicated to anyone and everyone in the park celebrating a birthday. There must have been just a few and if there wasn’t a single birthday being celebrated, it’s a fun song on its own. The blistering “Helter Skelter” followed as McCartney’s voice was gritty and just perfect for this iconic barnburner. The band then took a few minutes to say thank you to all involved before bringing the show to the finish line with a triple-shot from Abbey Road. “Golden Slumbers”, “Carry That Weight” and “The End” fittingly helped close out the night and with all of the bases covered, the house lights popped on and another epic performance was in the books. McCartney certainly gave it his all and thus, continued to present his musical gifts to the masses. 

Photos by Marc Lacatell

Paul McCartney Setlist Fenway Park, Boston, MA, USA 2022, Got Back

 

 

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