Concert review: Paul McCartney at FedEx Field last night
Simply put, this was one of the best shows I've ever seen.
I didn't want Paul McCartney's show at FedEx Field last night to end.
But when it did -- after a two-hour set and a 30-minute encore -- I think I speak for the rest of the audience when I said I left the stadium satisfied.
Backed by a lean, four-piece band, McCartney led a tour through his unparalleled body of work, from his days as a Beatle to some of the more recent material he released under his alter ego, The Fireman.
The crowd happily clapped and sang along to the former, and amicably tolerated the latter ...
McCartney emerged looking dapper in a black suit. After four songs, he shed his coat, revealing a white button-down shirt and thin, red suspenders.
"That's the big wardrobe change," he quipped.
At 67, McCartney sounds and looks great. From the primal wailing on "Helter Skelter" to the poignant lines of "Here Today," McCartney showed he still has a remarkable range.
Age be damned, McCartney still has the boyish charm that won him legions of fans in the '60s. He bowed deeply and held up his bass guitar after nearly every song -- something that would seem gratuitous coming from most other musicians. But seeing McCartney do it, you couldn't help but smile. He's just so likable.
At one point in the set, McCartney noted that Washington was the first place the Beatles played after coming to the U.S.
"Is that someone who was there?," he asked, looking out into the crowd. "I remember you! ... You couldn't hear yourself 'cause of all the girls screaming."
Right on cue, all the women in the audience screamed."Yeah," he said. "That was the noise."
Smoking renditions of "Paperback Writer" and "Band on the Run" were among the evening's high points. He dedicated "Michelle" to Barack Obama, ("we think Barack might want to sing [it] to someone in his house").
At one point, McCartney brought out a four-string ukulele, which, he said. was a gift from George Harrison. Then he eased into an upbeat, acoustic version of the Abbey Road single "Something." After a couple verses, the rest of the band joined in.
I was surprised to see McCartney strap on a guitar and riff through a brief instrumental jam of Jimi Hendrix's "Foxy Lady."
A couple quibbles: McCartney's voice and piano were overpowered by the synthesized strings on "The Long And Winging Road." It was a bit cheesy to see the keyboardist covering the saxophone part on "Lady Madonna" through some kind of electronic wind adapter on the synthesizer. Can't McCartney hire a couple horns and strings? Those were my only real complaints with the show, and they were small ones.
Fittingly, the final encore was "The End," a pleasant cap to an electrifying show.
Here is the set list:
1. Drive My Car
3. Only Mama Knows
4. Flaming Pie
5. Got to Get You Into My Life
6. Let Me Roll It
7. Foxy Lady (instrumental jam)
9. The Long and Winding Road
10. My Love
12. Here Today
13. Dance Tonight
14. Calico Skies
16. Mrs. Vandebilt
17. Eleanor Rigby
18. Sing the Changes
19. Band On the Run
20. Back in the U.S.S.R.
21. I'm Down
23. I've Got a Feeling
24. Paperback Writer
25. A Day in the Life
26. Let It Be
27. Live And Let Die
28. Hey Jude
I Saw Her Standing There
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (reprise)