Music lovers from all around the southland amassed at Dodgers stadium on July 13, to witness Paul McCartney, live.
The man of the hour strode out in style, albeit about half an hour late, ripping into a mix of old and new songs, including “A Hard Day’s Night,” “Letting Go” and “Who Cares.”
Starting the final show of his 2019 “Freshen Up” tour with vigor, McCartney said, “‘Who Cares’ is a song about bullies. Anytime someone gets bullied, I want you to know that I care.”
Although he has played for millions throughout the years, July 13 seemed special for him as he stopped playing after “Come on to Me,” to take a break.
“Give me a second to take you all in,” he quipped, smiling as if he were genuinely astounded by the audience’s energy.
The last time the Beatles played Dodger Stadium was in 1966, but you couldn’t tell that five decades have passed for McCartney, who played 38 songs on a myriad of instruments, from piano on “Maybe I’m Amazed,” to mandolin for “Something.”
If there is but one, jokingly humble critique for McCartney, it’s that he didn’t play bass on a sizable number of songs. That duty was left to the more than capable Brian Ray, with whom he has toured the past 15 years. Drummer Abe Laboriel Jr., who has been a part of McCartney’s line-up for the same amount of time, emitted energy the entire night and kept everything together.
While McCartney didn’t deviate much from the setlist he’s played elsewhere during this tour, that didn’t keep one of the best showmen from doing what he does he best.
During “Got to Get You Into My Life,” a section of brass players walked amongst and played throughout the audience, on their way to the stage — a move that kept the crowd roaring. Right as the fervor almost reached Beatle concert-level excitement, McCartney slowed the vibe down by reminiscing about one of his famous friends.
“Jimi Hendrix had just thrashed on his wah (pedal) while playing ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’” McCartney said about a show the guitarist played years ago. “When you thrash on the wah like that, your guitar gets out of tune fast. So Jimi saw Eric Clapton in the crowd and asked him to come up onto the stage to tune his guitar for him. Eric was embarrassed and tried to move through the crowd before he was noticed.”
McCartney kept the show personal by sprinkling road stories like that throughout the set.
Commanding the energy of the crowd, McCartney then revved them back up by taking lead guitar duties and adding a scorching guitar solo for a cover of Hendrix’s “Foxey Lady.”
Concertgoers’ cameras lit up the stadium like thousands of stars when Ringo Starr joined McCartney during the encore of “Sgt. Pepper’s (reprise)” and “Helter Skelter,” for a Beatle semi-reunion.
With fireworks exploding and the crowd in a frenzy, Joe Walsh (The Eagles) then emerged to guitar solo with McCartney as the final surprise to fittingly close out “The End.”
It was a night to remember for everyone there and for people who saw footage afterward, as Sir Paul added to his dizzying array of accomplishments by continuing to mystify audiences almost longer than anyone, at 77 years old.