This past Thursday, Paul McCartney made a triumphant return to Montreal’s Centre Bell, where he performed the second show on his new Freshen Up World Tour.
If there was an extra special sense of jubilation in the air, it was no doubt because McCartney was in a celebratory mood. His latest album, Egypt Station, debut at number one on the Billboard charts, his first chart topper in 36 years. Macca made sure to include standout tracks from the album, including ‘Come On To Me’, ‘Who Cares’, and the fun and slightly controversial single, ‘Fuh You’.
What would a Paul McCartney concert be without a huge helping of Beatles classics, and Cute One ably delivered a dizzying array of Fab Four favourites, kicking the evening off with ‘A Hard Day’s Night’, and littering the set all night with songs like ‘From Me To You’, ‘I’ve Got A Feeling’, ‘Love Me Do’, to name just a few. Wings fans were also well-served, with McCartney playing essential hits from his post-Beatles band, including ‘Band on The Run’ and ‘Live And Let Die’, along with the semi-obscure ‘Let Em In.’ (Update: While I personally think ‘Let ‘Em In’ is a bit obscure, more than a few friends suggest otherwise. To be sure, the song was a top 3 hit when it was released in 1976, though I don’t know how often you hear it these days. Either way, it’s a good ‘un.)
A highlight of the last decade plus of McCartney shows is when Paul takes the stage solo to play a few acoustic numbers, and this evening was no exception. Paul did his standard ‘Blackbird,’ lovely as you would expect, along with his solo song, ‘Here Today’, written as a conversation he wished he’d had with John Lennon.
The final third of the show was standard McCartney wall to wall hits, including the always stirring ‘Hey Jude’ singalong, a solo rendition of ‘Yesterday’, and the final triumvirate of ‘Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End’. Macca’s been finishing his shows this way for decades, and it still hasn’t gotten old.
At 76 years old, Paul McCartney is still delivering spectacular concerts, energetic and nostalgic but, with strong new material as part of the set, full of proof that his songwriting talents haven’t diminished a day.
You can hear ever iteration of Paul McCartney’s legendary career 24/7 on SiriusXM’s The Beatles Channel.