Paul McCartney onstage at Investors Group Field on August 12, 2013. (CBC)
It really felt like seeing a living legend.
—Kelly Stifora, reviewer
Opening with "Eight Days a Week" and closing with most of the Abbey Road medley, Paul McCartney treated a sold-out crowd at Investors Group Field to a three hour, 41-song retrospective of one of the most storied careers in pop rock history last night.
Sir Paul was backed by a four person band capable of reproducing any song from his 50-year catalogue with impressive accuracy (much credit to Paul Wickens, whose keyboard supplied everything from string sections to calliope to saxophone solos).
Spanning not only The Beatles' catalogue, but also Macca's solo work, his mid-70s work with Wings and even one recent song (the beautifully understated "My Valentine"), the Out There set list travelled far in its generosity.
Considering the sheer number of songs he has to choose from, there were some welcome surprises on McCartney's set list. "I've Just Seen a Face," "Your Mother Should Know," and "Lovely Rita" were performed along with expected hits like "Blackbird," and the literally explosive "Live and Let Die." It really felt like seeing a living legend.
McCartney comported himself as if he was hanging out with friends; switching instruments, leading chants, and ushering the City of Winnipeg Police Pipe Band on and off the stage with the same youthful ease demonstrated in tossing off a story about playing Red Square, or introducing "Something" on the ukulele. McCartney is so at home on stage that his banter, though undoubtedly scripted, seems completely spontaneous.
And the crowd loved him for it. Late in the show, during a "Hey Jude" singalong that had the entire audience on its feet, cameras caught two signs for display on the towering video screens that flanked the stage. One read "Dear Paul, Please Sign My Daughter" and had an arrow pointing left. The other, its arrow pointing right, ended with "Please Sign My Mom."
Though the crowd was predominantly baby-boomers, fans aged five to 65 could be seen getting their "na na, na na nas" out.
It felt like a universal event, a cross-generational celebration of music and an event genuinely enjoyable for the whole family--and no one seemed more reverent of that than McCartney himself.