Sir Paul: rocking with the best of them
Review: Sir Paul McCartney at Glastonbury
The voice can be raspy and show signs of wear, but that hardly matters when an audience of millions knows all the words and is ready to sing along. Sir Paul McCartney certainly hit all the right notes on a night that showed why, a week into his 81st year, he remains unrivaled in the pop world.
It was the last performance of his band’s tour and he made no mention of his retirement. Looking unusually cheerful for an octogenarian, he played for over two and a half hours and showed he could always rock the best of them.
Two years after he was supposed to perform here, he hit the stage partnered with the Hofner bass guitar he made famous in the early Beatles. It was an immediate signal to the audience that this was a man who might be writing new music, but knew exactly what he was coming to hear. Even the youngest of the crowd of 100,000 knew the words. During the set, he joked how Beatles songs were greeted by a sea of camera phone flashes “like stars coming out”, while new releases were met with “a black hole”. .
The words legend and icon seem insufficient to describe an artist who not only gave us the greatest catalog ever made of popular music, but who is able to move easily from one instrument to another. On the piano, he delivered the classics of the Beatles Lady Madonna, So be it and the anthem to beat all pop anthems, Hey Jude. Playing a ukulele given to him by the late George Harrison, he began strumming the opening bars of one of Harrison’s most famous songs. Somethingdescribed by John Lennon as the best track on the Abbey Road album.
Using technology provided by filmmaker Peter Jackson, Sir Paul was ‘reunited’ with Lennon to play I have a feelingwith his former songwriting partner shown on a screen performing in the famous rooftop concert in 1968.
“I know it’s virtual, but here I am singing again with John. We’re back together,” said Sir Paul, who also performed Here today, which he described as a song “in the form of a letter that I could never write [to John]” after his death.
There were other special appearances from Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl and Bruce Springsteen. Grohl flew over the West Coast of America for his cameo performance. “He said he would come, and I didn’t believe him,” Sir Paul said. “But he showed up.” Both Grohl and Springsteen joined a guitar fest in the proper finale, The end which concludes Abbey Road, the last studio album of the Beatles.
An on-screen appearance by actor Johnny Depp, strumming a guitar for My Valentine co-written by Sir Paul’s wife Nancy has mixed views, with some taking to social media to express their disappointment so soon after Depp was embroiled in a toxic court case with his ex-wife . Sir Paul also chose to make a political statement towards the end by waving a Ukrainian flag.
This, however, was an evening for pop music purists and although Sir Paul was forever a Beatle, the mammoth 38-song set was a reminder that he fronted Wings, another supergroup in which he produced some of his best works, including Live and let die, let me ride and Band on the run.
It’s a sobering thought that even such a lengthy set could only include a fraction of Sir Paul’s prodigious output. An artist who can leave out classics like A Day in the Life, Eleanor Rigby, Penny Lane, The Long and Winding Road and looks solo Yesterday is truly incomparable.
- I can’t buy myself love (The Beatles)
- The junior farm (Wings)
- Let go(Wings)
- I have to bring you into my life (The Beatles)
- To come to me
- let me roll it (Wings)
- Get better (The Beatles)
- let them in (Wings)
- My Valentine
- nineteen eighty-five (Wings)
- I may be amazed
- I just saw a face (The Beatles)
- Despite all the dangers (The Quarrymen)
- love me do (The Beatles)
- dance tonight
- Blackbird (The Beatles)
- Here today
- Lady Madonna (The Beatles)
- Fuh you
- Be for the benefit of Mr. Kite! (The Beatles)
- Something (The Beatles)
- Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da (The Beatles)
- You never give me your money (The Beatles)
- She came in through the bathroom window (The Beatles)
- Come back (The Beatles)
- I saw her standing there (The Beatles) with Dave Grohl
- Runaway group (Wings) Dave Grohl
- glory day (Bruce Springsteen) with Bruce Springsteen
- I want to be your man (The Beatles) with Bruce Springsteen)
- So be it (The Beatles)
- Live and Let Die (Wings)
- Hey Jude(The Beatless)
- I have a feeling (The Beatles) virtual duet with John Lennon
- Helter Skelter(The Beatles)
- golden sleep (The Beatles)
- Carry this burden (The Beatles)
- The end (The Beatles) with Dave Grohl and Bruce Springsteen