Paul McCartney turns 80 next month and he turns back the clock, Saturday in Orlando.
McCartney’s “Got Back” tour hits Camping World Stadium at 8 p.m. For his fans, it’s a career retrospective that soothes their musical souls.
From the opening number – “Can’t Buy Me Love” – to the closing encore medley from Side 2 of “Abbey Road,” this is the stuff sonic dreams are made of.
Sure, McCartney’s voice ain’t what it used to be — and neither is he. But don’t let the gray hair or sometimes hoarse vocals fool you: this grandpa still rocks, and loves to perform.
How else to explain how a 79-year old guy can deliver almost 2-and-a-half hours of music in a concert that covers songs from the Beatles, Wings and his solo career.
I’ve seen videos of the first few dates of the tour and its filled with digital wizardry, colorful light shows, fireworks, nostalgic scenes on jumbo screens and, most of all, memorable music. Here is a promotional video for the tour:
One highlight comes during “I’ve Got A Feeling,” from the 1970 film “Let It Be.” Director Peter Jackson turned unreleased video from the film into a six-part Disney documentary last year called, “The Beatles: Get Back.”
McCartney was able to get footage of he and John Lennon singing “I’ve Got A Feeling,” during the famous rooftop concert from “Let It Be.”
Early in the concert, McCartney pays tribute to Lennon with the song, “Here Today.” He explained the song says things he wanted to say to Lennon, before Lennon’s death in 1980.
Then, towards the end of the concert, McCartney starts singing “I’ve Got A Feeling,” a song he wrote with Lennon. After McCartney sang the opening stanzas, Lennon appeared on a giant video screen above the stage. McCartney turned his back to the audience to watch Lennon sing: “ Everybody had a hard year/ Everybody had a good time/… Everybody saw the sunshine.” McCartney then sang his part and joined his fellow Beatle in a digital duet.
McCartney also paid tribute to another late, former Beatle, George Harrison. He played a ukulele, given to him by George, as he sang a bright, upbeat version of “Something.” That song was written by Harrison, as McCartney urged the crowd to “remember George.”
A personal highlight for me was one of my all-time favorite Beatles songs, “I’ve Just Seen A Face,” from “Rubber Soul.” It’s a tough song to sing, with fast paced lyrics and guitar, but McCartney was able to pull it off.
His band features Paul “Wix” Wickens, keyboards; Abe Laboriel Jr. on drums, guitarist Rusty Anderson, and Brian Ray on guitar and bass.
They’re not the Beatles, but with McCartney’s help they did the Fab Four justice on such numbers as: “Getting Better,” “We Can Work It Out,” “Love Me Do,” “Lady Madonna,” “Got to Get You Into My Life,” “Ob-La-Di,Ob-La Da,” and, of course “Get Back.”
Oh, by the way, Sir Paul sat at the piano and played “Let It Be,” and “Hey Jude.” He did an acoustic version of “Blackbird.” Those were kind of slow and wistful. Old Paul turned rocker once more on “Birthday” and a thunderous “Helter Skelter.” McCartney even paid some props to Jimi Hendrix with some hardcore riffs on “Foxy Lady,” during a Wings’ song, “Let Me Roll It.”
There were more Wings’ sounds on “Junior’s Farm,” “Letting Go,” “Let ‘Em In,” and “Band On the Run.” And another personal favorite: “1985.”
No McCartney concert would be complete without his Wings’ masterpiece “Live and Let Die,” and, yes, the fireworks exploded on cue.
He also did one of his first non-Beatles’ hits, “Maybe I’m Amazed.” McCartney even went back to the pre-Beatles’ days of the Quarrymen with “In Spite of All the Danger.”
There was more music, memories and history in this concert. “It’s good to be back,” McCartney said, noting he hasn’t toured in nearly two years.
It’s good to have McCartney back where he belongs: on stage singing his songs.