The Beatles and Wings both receive equal attention in Paul McCartney‘s “Out There” tour, which triumphantly kicked off its U.S. leg at Orlando’s Amway Center on Saturday night (May 18). Playing and singing non-stop for almost three hours would put most any solo performer to the test, but the 71-year-old McCartney made it look easy as he pulled from the best of the catalogues of both his former bands, as well as his own solo repertoire, playing many of the songs live in concert for the very first time.
After opening with The Beatles’ “Eight Days A Week” (one of the songs being performed live for the first time on the Out There tour), McCartney told the audience, “I’m getting that old feeling like we’re gonna have a good party here tonight!” And he was right. The sold-out crowd was there to party, sing along, and be taken on a magical musical tour of the past 50 years.
McCartney’s seemingly simple stage set up evolved into a masterful display of video screens, specialty lighting, and during a bravura performance of “Live and Let Die” toward the end of the evening, arena warming pyrotechnics.
The present and past were both given equal attention by McCartney. In a set which found Paul putting down the guitar in favor of the piano, he performed both “My Valentine,” released last year and written for current wife Nancy, along with “Maybe I’m Amazed,” which was written for his deceased wife Linda after helping him get through the break-up of The Beatles.
His deceased Beatles bandmates found fitting tributes in the show as well. While raised approximately 20 feet above the stage on a lighted platform, McCartney launched into “Here Today,” the song he wrote for John Lennon after Lennon’s assassination, letting the song’s lyrics offer a heartfelt tribute.
“George was a great ukelele player,” McCartney later said as he pulled out a ukelele to begin George Harrison’s classic “Something,” accompanied by a photographic tribute to Harrison on the video monitors. “Let’s hear it for George!” He also shared an anecdote regarding Frank Sinatra, who had been said to have proclaimed that “Something” was his favorite Lennon/McCartney tune. Of course it was written by Harrison.
While fewer people seem to carry lighters these days, those who had them made sure to pull them out for both “Let It Be” and “Hey Jude,” the latter of which also had concertgoers finding themselves broadcast on the video monitors when caught by the roving Jude cam.
Although they go pretty much unsung throughout the show, McCartney’s band, consisting of Rusty Anderson, Brian Ray, Abe Laboriel Jr., and Paul Wickens, are truly incredible.
It’s a rare opportunity to be able to see this much modern musical history packed into three hours of stage time by a consumate musician who is still at the top of his game. This is one concert of the year not to be missed.
“Out There” Tour Opening Night Set List
-Brad Haynes, 1059 SUNNY FM/Orlando