When it comes to the legends of rock and roll history, there are many bands that could be pointed to as the most influential of all time. Many of us have had this debate before, whether it was in your buddy’s basement, at a concert, with the local record shop employee, etc., and it could only be assumed that The Beatles would come up as one of the bands that is the most influential. Now, almost 45 years after the breakup of The Beatles, the legacy of their music lives on through the efforts of the surviving members of the band, and the fans that helped to make the music what it was. For the lucky people who were at the Air Canada Centre on Saturday, October 18th, this legacy was on full display, as Paul McCartney took to the stage on his Out There Tour.
The night was full of nostalgic moments for fans of McCartney’s music, as the show was full of songs from his time with The Beatles, Wings, and his solo work. Fittingly, he began the evening where he began his musical journey: with The Beatles, and their tune “Eight Days a Week”. Then our musical journey began. The larger than life set, complete with giant LED screens, pyrotechnics, and a large lighting display, helped to set the mood and drive the show to its limits. Within the first ten songs, Paul took us through five-Beatles songs, two Wings songs, and three from his solo work. Spread that over a night that consisted of 41 songs (including two encores), you can bet that your favourite Paul McCartney hit, and even a few deep cuts, were played.
Paul McCartney was in his natural element onstage at the Air Canada Centre. McCartney was his congenial self throughout the night, taking the time to talk to the audience between songs, read out the signs that fans had brought with them, and even brought up two groups of fans to meet him onstage (with one fan hoping that Paul’s autograph on her arm will make a great tattoo). His four-piece backing-band kept up the pace, which allowed Paul to focus on his own performance. For a 73-year old, who has been performing on stage since he was a teenager, the performance was nothing short of extraordinary.
To complete his set, McCartney took to the piano to hammer out his classic ballads, “Let It Be”, “Live and Let Die”, and “Hey Jude”. “Live and Let Die”, the titular track from the James Bond film of the same name, broke the two songs up with a literally-explosive display. Just as Paul hit the chorus of the song, the pyrotechnics display took over from there. With fireworks, smoke machines, and anywhere between 15 and 30 fireball emitters, the song was an experience that can only be seen to be believed. With a McCartney lead ‘Na Na Na’ at the end of “Hey Jude”, the crowd knew that the McCartney-mania wasn’t over, even if the band took their bows.
After a short break, McCartney and his crew came back to the stage for their encore, where they played “Another Girl”, “Hi, Hi, Hi”, “I Saw Her Standing There”. After a rousing performance of “I Saw Her Standing There”, the band again took their bows, and, again, that was not all that they had in store for us. After an acoustic-clad McCartney performed “Yesterday”, the rock and roll legend brought up the Paris-Port Dover Pipe Band to help him with “Mull of Kintyre”. If that was not enough, McCartney ended the entire night the same way that The Beatles ended their career, with the ending medley on Abbey Road (“Golden Slumbers”/”Carry That Weight”/”The End”). (While Let It Be is the last record to be released by the band, fans of The Beatles will note the tumultuous atmosphere that was around during Let It Be, and vastly consider Abbey Road to be their official final album.)
After a show such as this, it is hard to imagine that anyone left the building disappointed. From his top hits (“Band on the Run”, “Blackbird”), to the deep cuts (“Temporary Secretary”), to the former -bandmate tributes (to John, “Here Today”; to George, “Something”), Paul McCartney made sure that all his bases were covered. If you missed out on this amazing opportunity, be sure to pick up some tickets the next time Sir Paul McCartney comes to town!