Paul McCartney Plays Beatles Hits, Solo Deep Cuts at Marathon Tour Opener
Paul McCartney came to Fresno, California, Wednesday night to open his new One on One tour, and delivered nearly three hours of music that moved gracefully from the intimate to the explosive. There were bright lights and stirring images from his history, but the emphasis never drifted from the music, ranging from generational anthems (“Let It Be”) to post-Beatles deep cuts (“Temporary Secretary”).
Other elements of the show were kept simple, as McCartney noted when the removal of his jacket elicited cheers from the sold-out Save Mart Center arena. “That is the one and only wardrobe change of the whole evening,” McCartney said, rolling his sleeves.
The night opened with the distinctive guitar clang of the Beatles’ “A Hard Day’s Night” – marking the first time McCartney had performed the song as a solo artist – only the first of more than 35 songs that were faithful to the originals while remaining loose enough to feel fresh. Carrying his old Hofner bass, McCartney and his four-piece band dove into “Can’t Buy Me Love,” as vintage footage of the Beatles rolled on the big screen him: the Fab Four meeting the Queen Mother, recording at Abbey Road and playing their final full concert at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park.
Then came “Temporary Secretary,” the previously obscure 1983 electro-pop tune that has since been embraced by DJ culture, accompanied in Fresno by Tron-era graphics. It was back to guitars and the ragged rock riff of the tough “Let Me Roll It,” before slipping into a bit of Jimi Hendrix’s “Foxy Lady.”
The disparate sounds of McCartney’s music from the Beatles, Wings and solo work were held gracefully together by his band of the past decade: keyboardist Paul “Wix” Wickens, bassist-guitarist Brian Ray, guitarist Rusty Anderson and drummer Abe Laboriel Jr.
McCartney stood at the piano to hold up the Wings handsignal before the drama and suspense of “1985,” bouncing his head to accent the lyrics. Anderson dropped in a searing guitar lead different from the original that still captured the tension of the recording on 1975’s Band on the Run album.