After kick-starting a set with a couple of Wings songs and the Beatles' hit "All My Loving," Paul McCartney stood at the middle of the stage and said, "Let me just take a moment to take it all in" just before one of the many times the audience erupted with applause. (Fellow Beatle Ringo Starr was in South Florida last night, see photos at our sister website, the Broward Palm Beach New Times: Ringo Starr and his All-Star Band at Hard Rock Live -ed.)
A relentless pop showman, the 68-year-old McCartney and his band delivered close to a three-hour set that spanned five decades of material, from early Beatles and '70s Wings songs to more recent material from McCartney's alter-ego The Fireman.
McCartney switched out his Hofner bass for a painted Gibson Les Paul for the slow rocker "Let Me Roll It," McCartney and company did a short instrumental take on Jimi Hendrixi's "Foxy Lady." While sitting at the piano, McCartney told a story about how Hendrix bought Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club on a Friday and opened a show the following Sunday with title track.
McCartney stayed at the piano for a stirring rendition of "The Long and Winding Road," the Wings' "Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five" and "Let 'Em In," and dedicated "My Love," a song he said he wrote for his late wife Linda McCartney, to all the lovers in the crowd.
After strapping on his acoustic guitar, McCartney played "I'm Looking Through You" and "Two of Us" before going into a gorgeous solo version of "Blackbird," which he said was inspired by Civil Rights movement in the South. Just before going into the acoustic "Here Today," McCartney said he wrote the song after John Lennon passed away and said it was sort of an imaginary conversation the two didn't have.
McCartney played "Ram On" and "Something" on ukulele, and then band kicked into high gear for "Band on the Run," "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da," which McCartney said he hadn't played for years and "Back in the USSR."
As a roadie brought out one of many guitars over the night, McCartney said, "In case you're wondering why we're swapping out all these guitars, it's because we're showing off." As he strapped on his Epiphone Casino, he said it was the same guitar he used in the '60s recording the cut that followed, "Paperback Writer." While the high energy "Live and Let Die" packed a lot of punch, the pyrotechnics and canons were a bit much, but closing out the set with "Hey Jude" more than made up for it.
For the first encore, McCartney came out carrying a Colorado flag while his keyboardist waved a British flag, just before going into a trio of Beatles tunes including "Day Tripper," "Lady Madonna" and "Get Back." After a short break, the band came back one more time for another group of Beatles songs, and closed a hell of a night with "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," that segued into a rousing take on "The End," with McCartney and his two guitarists trading off licks.
CRITIC'S NOTEBOOK Personal Bias: Being more of Stones fan, McCartney nearly had me converted. Random Details: This was the band's 201st show. By the Way: The show was reportedly delayed nearly an hour because of a late flight.
Click to the next page to view the setlist and a video of last night's show.
Setlist Pepsi Center 07/15/10 • Denver, Colorado
1. Venus and Mars / Rock Show 2. Jet 3. All My Loving 4. Letting Go 5. Got To Get You Into My Life 6. Highway 7. Let Me Roll It 8. Foxey Lady (instrumental) 9. The Long And Winding Road 10. Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five 11. Let 'Em In 12. My Love 13. I'm Looking Through You 14. Two Of Us 15. Blackbird 16. Here Today 17. Dance Tonight 18. Mrs Vandebilt 19. Eleanor Rigby 20. Ram On 21. Something 22. Sing the Changes 23. Band On The Run 24. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da 25. Back In The USSR 26. I've Got A Feeling 27. Paperback Writer 28. A Day In The Life / Give Peace a Chance
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Video of McCartney performing "Let it Be" plucked from YouTube
29. Let It Be 30. Live And Let Die 31. Hey Jude
Encore 32. Day Tripper 33. Lady Madonna 34. Get Back
Second Encore 35. Yesterday 36. Helter Skelter 37. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band / The End