Some things, like good wine, get better with age. The same can be said of Paul McCartney.
At the age of 79, McCartney, one of only two live Beatles, showed through his unwavering spirit, high pitched voice and polished guitar language that he was still alive and rock ‘n’ roll was not dead. The artist wowed the packed Camping World for nearly three hours packed with classics on Saturday night.
He joined his touring band – Paul “Wix” Wickens on keyboards, Brian Ray on bass and bass, Rusty Anderson on guitar, Abe Laboriel Jr. “Can’t Buy Me Love,” “Maybe I’m Surprised,” “Lady Madonna,” and “Hey Jude.”
Although he has decades of experience under his belt, the larger-than-life musician has at times yielded a mediocre and more vulnerable side. McCartney readily provided reminders that the Beatles had humble beginnings and might have been unlikely heroes when they emerged in the rock world.
“Now we’ll take you back through the mists of time, to Liverpool where four guys formed a band and did well for themselves,” he said between songs. “At the time, we were just a small band and it was hard to notice.”
In a more abstract part of the group that recalled the band’s early days, McCartney performed “I Just Saw a Face,” a tune from 1965 that contained notes from Beatles contemporaries Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash.
At one point, McCartney stopped to scan the crowd for handwritten signs, picking a few to read aloud.
One of the signs reads “I’m married…but I want to hold your hand.”
Another read “I missed a big prom to see you”.
“Okay, are you having fun?” asked the young admirer performer. The answer was a resounding yes from the entire audience. The luminous faces revealed a multi-generational alliance of fans, a reminder of how important the music of the Beatles is to many, regardless of age.
Throughout the set, skilled musicians helped bring out the harmony and bring out McCartney’s prowess on stage, which was enhanced by productions with fireworks, lighting, and stunning graphics. The three-piece trumpet section even joined a number of songs.
About halfway through the show, the rest of the band has disappeared off the stage, leaving only McCartney and his acoustic guitar. From a slowly ascending stage, the singer’s voice and finger-picked tones reverberated throughout the stadium during a chilling performance of “Blackbird” followed by “Here Today,” in honor of John Lennon.
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The concert featured pleasant surprises, such as the ukulele introduction to “Something” and a fiery show during “Live and Let Die.” The energy of the audience increased with the band as the audience joined in singing the folk tunes, “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” and “The Return”.
There was an appreciable outpouring of emotion and a collective exhale throughout the crowd during a soaring performance of “Let It Be,” as the stadium lit up like the universe with a flash of mobile phone lights.
The band wrapped up on set as everyone chanted in unison, “Na-na-na, na, Hey Jude.” Pure joy and bliss emanate from the podium and throughout the seats.
As if 30 songs weren’t enough, McCartney and his team of musicians came back to pull off another six, waving Ukrainian, American, UK, Florida and rainbow flags as they returned to the stage for their encore.
After jamming on “Helter Skelter” and “Carry That Weight,” the band concluded their nearly three-hour performance with “The End.” But there has been a strong suggestion that this is not the last time we see Paul McCartney.
“All that’s left to say is – we’ll see you next time,” McCartney said as he left the stage, and confetti and fireworks exploded over the crowd.