What to expect when Sir Paul McCartney makes his hometown debut at Spokane Arena on Thursday


It felt like just yesterday when tickets for the opening of Paul McCartney’s Got Back tour, which is scheduled for Thursday at Spokane Arena, went on sale. Time flew by as quickly as tickets to the sold-out show, which will be McCartney’s local premiere.

There’s only one tour start, and Spokane will be the first to find out what the former Fab Four member delivers on his spring tour.

McCartney, 79, usually kicks off his shows with a Beatles classic. “A Hard Day’s Night” has been the title track since 2015. Before that, it was another Beatles hit, “Eight Days a Week.” “Hello Goodbye” was also a concert opening.

Chances are McCartney will dust off a popular Beatles song that hasn’t often been played live as an opening track. “Hey Jude”, “Let It Be” and “Yesterday” are Beatles catalog locks.

“Jet”, “Band on the Run” and “Live and Let Die” are undoubtedly references to the Wings canon. “Back in the USSR” is McCartney’s fifth most-played song on tour, but those who bet the penny as less than zero will win that bet.

New wrinkles are always welcome. In 2002, McCartney surprised fans by delivering “She’s Leaving Home.” Occasionally he will add a Beatles song designed by John Lennon such as “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!”

Get ready for a three-hour show and a nearly 40-song set from McCartney, who has incredible stamina for a dude who’s just over a month away from turning 80.

McCartney’s band, which has been playing with him since just after the turn of the century, is a tight-knit unit. Guitarist Rusty Anderson and playful drummer Abe Laboriel Jr. have been supporting McCartney since 2001, and guitarist-bassist Brian Ray and keyboardist Wix Wickens, who’s been on the road with McCartney since 1989, are terrific.

The concert will be an incredible sonic experience since McCartney’s canon is vast.

Waiting for McCartney’s Out There! show to start at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia in 2015, I listened to the series of hits playing on the PA half an hour before the show. It was one McCartney hit after another. There was “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey”, “Let ‘Em In” and “Coming Up”.

I was struck by the fact that these songs, each of which peaked in the top three of the US charts, would not be played because they are part of the pre-show loop. I never remember an artist’s material being played for an extended period of time before a gig.

McCartney’s Beatles, Wings and Solo catalog is bottomless. There are so many classics McCartney can turn to that he hasn’t played in nearly half a century.

My request, which hasn’t been played since McCartney’s days with Wings, is “Silly Love Songs”. The catchy track was McCartney’s 27th No. 1 as a songwriter. “Silly Love Songs,” which was designed to refute music critics who lambasted the icon for writing lighthearted romantic tunes, was the soundtrack to my summer of 1976.

The sturdy basslines, beautiful harmonies, and simple message left such an impression on my prepubescent self. “Silly Love Songs” was last played 46 years ago.

McCartney is an exceptional bass player, an unparalleled songwriter, and he has a breathtaking range. If you didn’t catch McCartney but failed to land a ticket, keep trying. It will be worth the expense and the effort. To quote McCartney: “In the end, the love you take equals the love you make.”

McCartney deserves an incomprehensible amount of love since he gave more to the Beatles than his bandmates gave him back. McCartney has also given more to the world of pop music and rock and roll than any musician since his legendary band changed the world in 1964.

Sure, McCartney has a ridiculous amount of hits, but his impact goes beyond the charts. The adventurous and innovative Beatle never stopped evolving and taking risks.

Unfortunately, McCartney won’t be around forever. The Spokane Arena show is sold out and secondary market tickets are expensive – but when will you ever get to see Sir Paul again in Spokane?


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