Review: McCartney thrills in return to SF
Review: McCartney thrills in return to SF
By Jim Harrington
Updated: 07/11/2010 05:36:03 AM PDT
Since the Beatles' final public concert on Aug. 29, 1966 at Candlestick Park, McCartney has performed in Oakland, San Jose, Mountain View and Daly City. But he went some 44 years without taking the stage in San Francisco proper.
That streak finally came to an end, in royal fashion, when Sir Paul brought his "Up and Coming Tour" to AT&T Park on Saturday night. The 68-year-old former Beatle opened the show with "Venus and Mars," the title track to Wings' fourth album, and went on to deliver nearly 40 other songs during a marathon three-hour set that thrilled the 40,000 fans in attendance.
"It's great to be back here," McCartney commented early in the night to the capacity crowd.
And it was great to have him back, even if it did take him a while to warm up. Credit that to the normally frigid July weather in San Francisco, which had fans wrapped up in ski parkas, wool hats and long scarves, as well as to a set list that initially focused strongly on second-rate Wings numbers ("Letting Go," "Let Me Roll It," "Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five") and mediocre recent offerings ("Dance Tonight," "Highway").
There were, however, some highlights to be found in the first third of the show, including a high-flying take on "Jet" (from Wings' third and most successful record, 1973's "Band on the Run") and a compelling version of the Beatles' "Got to Get You into My Life" (from 1966's
"Revolver"). Even the lesser musical moments must have thrilled big McCartney fans since some of those tunes rank as true rarities on the concert stage—for instance, this tour marks the first time that the singer has done "Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five" live.
Still, it's safe to say that McCartney could have cut 30 minutes from the top of the set and very few would've complained.
Fronting a five-piece band, McCartney was in fine voice and performed on numerous instruments, from bass and guitar to ukulele and piano. He was also in great spirits, although he did point out on several occasions that the chilly weather wasn't ideal.
The weather, which included a fog bank so thick with moisture that it appeared to be raining at times, became a nonissue about halfway through the show as McCartney unleashed a flurry of sensational upbeat numbers. The first was the complicated Wings opus "Band on the Run," one of the finest rollercoaster rides in all of popular music, which led directly into a double-shot from the Beatles' "White Album" (1968)—the colorful, bouncy "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" (another rarity on the live stage) and the rocketing fan favorite "Back in the U.S.S.R."
McCartney stuck mainly with the Fab Four song book for the remainder of the main set — the bluesy "I've Got a Feeling" (from 1970's "Let It Be"), the mesmerizing "A Day in the Life" (1967's "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band") and the sing-a-long "Hey Jude" (released as a single in 1968). He also tossed in a taste of John Lennon's 1969 anti-war anthem "Give Peace a Chance" and then performed amid a fireworks display during "Live and Let Die," the title track to a 1973 James Bond film.
It was all Fab Four during the seven songs that comprised the two encores. The two highlights, the somber "Yesterday" and the raucous "Helter Skelter," served to properly underscore McCartney's amazing versatility. He's a man who can break hearts one minute, rock the house the next—and come across equally convincing in both endeavors.
In all, it was enough to make fans forgive Sir Paul for his lengthy absence from San Francisco. Let's just hope that he plans a return visit soon — like, how about tonight? Check your schedule, Mr. McCartney. We're free, if you are.
1) "Venus and Mars"/"Rock Show"
3) "All My Loving"
4) "Letting Go"
5) "Got to Get You into My Life"
7) "Let Me Roll It"
8) Jimi Hendrix tribute/"Foxy Lady"
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"
16) "Here Today"
17) "Dance Tonight"
18) "Mrs. Vanderbilt"
19) "San Francisco Bay Blues"
20) "Eleanor Rigby"
22) "Sing the Changes"
23) "Band on the Run"
24) "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da"
25) "Back in the U.S.S.R."
26) "I've Got a Feeling"
27) "Paperback Writer"
28) "A Day in the Life"
29) "Give Peace a Chance"
30) "Let It Be"
31) "Live and Let Die"
32) "Hey Jude"
33) "Day Tripper"
34) "Lady Madonna"
35) "Get Back"
37) "Helter Skelter"
38) "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)"
39) "The End"