Paul McCartney @ Save Mart Center, Fresno CA 04/13/16

A Beatle. A Beatle came to Fresno (that’s the part where my head explodes). Like a local reporter had written, Fresno received the royal treatment from Sir Paul back on April 13th. Almost 3 hours of live music, 37 songs. 37 songs!! Not 17 like most groups, not 21 or 22 like some of the more generous acts, not 24 like U2 on their most recent tour, but 37!!! Back in the mid 60’s when the Beatles still did live shows, they could get off the stage after 20 minutes. Then the group broke up and George Harrison started hanging around with Led Zeppelin – Harrison saw them perform 3 hour shows and said “3 hours, fuck me!” Inspired by Zeppelin’s stamina or not, McCartney is generously performing a TON of music spanning his entire career, including piles of songs from the Beatles and Wings catalogue, and at 71 years of age with no sign of slowing down. He still has passion, energy, and a zest for performing live. I often say that “I’m blown away” at various concerts, but McCartney’s set in Fresno was on a totally different plane, a higher level, and I still get excited thinking back on it. The combination was just right, a legendary yet down to Earth performer, a wealth of timeless songs, elaborate and entertaining production, and a wonderfully grateful crowd that made a 10,000 seat arena feel like an intimate little concert theater. It wasn’t just mind blowing, it was gloriously life affirming. My dad and I felt like we witnessed a once in a lifetime event. Initially when I had heard that McCartney would be playing Fresno (not just playing Fresno, but OPENING the One On One Tour in Fresno), I was in disbelief and I might have started seizing. while I’m not the biggest fan of McCartney, The Beatles or Wings, I still had respect for the man, he’s a global treasure and The Beatles provided a pop/rock blueprint that all others have followed. My dad and I couldn’t NOT see him. The show. Wow, THE SHOW. It’s a finely tuned indoor show with just about every arena trick imaginable. Elaborate lighting, video, lazer, pyro, elevating platforms, they used just about everything.

About song selection, I’ve heard repeat McCartney concert goers complain about what has become a static set. For a repeat customer, ok, I can see how hearing the same material live would get old. For first timers like me and my dad, the set was tremendously awesome. So you can either have 3 hours of material or variety in the set from tour to tour, not both. For the price of the tickets, 3 hours of Paul is fine by me. McCartney was so engaging and playful. He was talkative, witty and happy to be performing. After the first couple selections he paused so he could survey the audience and said “I just want to take a little minute and drink it in for myself.” The Fresno audience was beyond ecstatic and joyously welcomed their legendary hero. The variety of music was impressive. Just like McCartney had mentioned, we’d be receiving old stuff, new stuff, and a bunch of stuff in between. A Hard Day’s Night holds the distinction of never being performed by McCartney as a solo act. There were plenty of offerings from the mid 60’s material. The band was in ass-kicking form. Mutli-instrumentalist Paul Wickens has been with McCartney’s solo band since the late eighties. He plays keys, backing guitar, banjo, as well as accordion and harmonica. He’s been in McCartney’s solo band the longest. Axe-men Brian Ray and Rusty Anderson as well as drummer Abe Laboriel have been performing with McCartney since 2001/2002, and they inject a fiery amount of energy into the live performances, electrifying the songs. McCartney’s voice has held up well, though it is evident that he’s put on quite a few miles, with some mild trouble occurring during the ballads. He sounds like an older guy on some of those ballads, well, because he’s an older guy. He can still make those songs work, but I’m surprised they haven’t altered the keys to some of those songs to better accommodate his current vocal range. In spite of his decades of experience, he can still thrill and entertain. Surprises for me occurred when McCartney did a tribute to George Harrison, performing Something on ukulele, with the band joining in midway. Other sweet, touching tributes occurred for John Lennon, Linda McCartney, current wife, Nancy, and his children. The video show was very well done, footage from various stages in McCartney’s career was tastefully used, the most sentimental and heart rendering being the footage of his family and his time in The Beatles. The show was more than phenomenal. And my dad and I were taken aback, floored by how McCartney can still amaze even after all these years.

  1. A Hard Day’s Night
  2. Save Us
  3. Can’t Buy Me Love
  4. Letting Go
  5. Temporary Secretary
  6. Let Me Roll It
  7. I’ve Got a Feeling
  8. My Valentine
  9. Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five
  10. Here There and Everywhere
  11. Maybe I’m Amazed
  12. We Can Work It Out
  13. In Spite of All the Danger
  14. You Won’t See Me
  15. Love Me Do
  16. And I Love Her
  17. Blackbird
  18. Here Today
  19. Queenie Eye
  20. New
  21. The Fool On the Hill
  22. Lady Madonna
  23. FourFiveSeconds
  24. Eleanor Rigby
  25. Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite
  26. Something
  27. Ob-la-di Ob-la-da
  28. Band on the Run
  29. Back in the USSR
  30. Live and Let Die
  31. Hey Jude
  32. Yesterday
  33. Hi Hi Hi
  34. Birthday
  35. Golden Slumbers
  36. Carry the Weight
  37. The End
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Posted on June 15, 2016, in Concerts: 2012 - Present, Paul McCartney and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Reblogged this on Progarchy and commented:
    A great review, by latindrummer, of a recent Paul McCartney show in California.

  2. Wonderful review here Bryan!!! 🙂

  3. Glad you enjoyed! Bryan, thanks for the reblog.

  4. Nice review. We saw McCartney a few years back at Fenway Park. An absolute thrill just to be there. He came to town again recently but I couldn’t make that one. I’d go again in a hearbeat, though. The guy is not just resting on his laurels, that’s for sure.

  5. Sir Paul rocks in an ageless fashion! So happy that you and your dad loved the show as much as me and my son did!

  6. I forgot to include “Let It Be,” which was performed near the end of the main set, somewhere around “Hey Jude” and “Live and Let Die.” I remember getting misty eyed…

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