The last time I saw Paul McCartney in concert, he was raising a bass guitar over his head in triumph at the end of hour, let’s say, 19 of his marathon 2009 Coachella headlining gig. I, on the other hand, could barely stand up from exhaustion. Some friends who had also played that day went back to their trailer halfway through the performance, took a nap, and still returned in time to hear Mc busting out a rowdy rendition of “Band on the Run.” Who is this guy?
For Tuesday night’s show at the Hollywood Bowl, I came prepared to run a marathon. Water, beer, plenty of snacks, and a blanket. “Do your worst, Pauley!” I cried as I emerged from the Metro station at Hollywood and Highland. Of course, he did.
Paul McCartney doesn’t need an opener. A DJ remix of classic McCartney tracks kept his sold out crowd company until 8:30 on the dot, when the man himself took the stage. He opened with “Venus and Mars/Rock Show,” then segued right into “Jets,” and continued on for three hours straight. (He also, it seems, doesn’t need an intermission.) Among the highlights: One of the first-ever live performances of “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” on American soil, Paul having “deja-vu” of the Beatles’ 1964 Bowl show, musical tributes to George Harrison and John Lennon, and a blast-off pyrotechnic extravaganza during “Live and Let Die.” Paul deftly worked his way through a string of electric and acoustic guitars, a mandolin, a ukulele, a piano, and the bass while his band—which includes Abe Laboriel Jr., one of the best drummers (and harmonizers) in the biz—went ahead and killed it, song after song. After two encores (are you surprised?), Paul finished things off appropriately with Abbey Road’s “The End.”
Among the celebs we caught on the way out: Roseanne Arquette and the one and only John Stamos. The love you make, indeed.