By Jim Harrington
Paul McCartney knows how to make up for lost time.
Since the Beatles' final public concert on Aug. 29, 1966 at
Candlestick Park, McCartney has performed in Oakland, San Jose,
Mountain View and Daly City. But he went some 44 years without taking
the stage in San Francisco proper.
That streak finally came to an end, in royal fashion, when Sir Paul
brought his "Up and Coming Tour" to AT&T Park on Saturday night. The
68-year-old former Beatle opened the show with "Venus and Mars," the
title track to Wings' fourth album, and went on to deliver nearly 40
other songs during a marathon three-hour set that thrilled the 40,000
fans in attendance.
"It's great to be back here," McCartney commented early in the night
to the capacity crowd.
And it was great to have him back, even if it did take him a while to
warm up. Credit that to the normally frigid July weather in San
Francisco, which had fans wrapped up in ski parkas, wool hats and
long scarves, as well as to a set list that initially focused
strongly on second-rate Wings numbers ("Letting Go," "Let Me Roll
It," "Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five") and mediocre recent
offerings ("Dance Tonight," "Highway").
There were, however, some highlights to be found in the first third
of the show, including a high-flying take on "Jet" (from Wings' third
and most successful record, 1973's "Band on the Run") and a
compelling version of the Beatles' "Got to Get You into My Life"
(from 1966's "Revolver"). Even the lesser musical moments must have
thrilled big McCartney fans since some of those tunes rank as true
rarities on the concert stagefor instance, this tour marks the first
time that the singer has done "Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five" live.
Still, it's safe to say that McCartney could have cut 30 minutes from
the top of the set and very few would've complained.
Fronting a five-piece band, McCartney was in fine voice and performed
on numerous instruments, from bass and guitar to ukulele and piano.
He was also in great spirits, although he did point out on several
occasions that the chilly weather wasn't ideal.
The weather, which included a fog bank so thick with moisture that it
appeared to be raining at times, became a nonissue about halfway
through the show as McCartney unleashed a flurry of sensational
upbeat numbers. The first was the complicated Wings opus "Band on the
Run," one of the finest rollercoaster rides in all of popular music,
which led directly into a double-shot from the Beatles' "White Album"
(1968)the colorful, bouncy "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" (another rarity on
the live stage) and the rocketing fan favorite "Back in the U.S.S.R."
McCartney stuck mainly with the Fab Four song book for the remainder
of the main set the bluesy "I've Got a Feeling" (from 1970's "Let
It Be"), the mesmerizing "A Day in the Life" (1967's "Sgt. Pepper's
Lonely Hearts Club Band") and the sing-a-long "Hey Jude" (released as
a single in 1968). He also tossed in a taste of John Lennon's 1969
anti-war anthem "Give Peace a Chance" and then performed amid a
fireworks display during "Live and Let Die," the title track to a
1973 James Bond film.
It was all Fab Four during the seven songs that comprised the two
encores. The two highlights, the somber "Yesterday" and the raucous
"Helter Skelter," served to properly underscore McCartney's amazing
versatility. He's a man who can break hearts one minute, rock the
house the nextand come across equally convincing in both endeavors.
In all, it was enough to make fans forgive Sir Paul for his lengthy
absence from San Francisco. Let's just hope that he plans a return
visit soon like, how about tonight? Check your schedule, Mr.
McCartney. We're free, if you are.
1) "Venus and Mars"/"Rock Show"
3) "All My Loving"
4) "Letting Go"
5) "Got to Get You into My Life"
7) "Let Me Roll It"
8) Jimi Hendrix tribute/"Foxy Lady"
9) "The Long and Winding Road"
10) "Nineteen-Hundred and Eighty Five"
11) "Let 'Em In"
12) "My Love"
13) "I'm Looking Through You"
14) "Two Of Us"
16) "Here Today"
17) "Dance Tonight"
18) "Mrs. Vanderbilt"
19) "San Francisco Bay Blues"
20) "Eleanor Rigby"
22) "Sing the Changes"
23) "Band on the Run"
24) "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da"
25) "Back in the U.S.S.R."
26) "I've Got a Feeling"
27) "Paperback Writer"
28) "A Day in the Life"
29) "Give Peace a Chance"
30) "Let It Be"
31) "Live and Let Die"
32) "Hey Jude"
33) "Day Tripper"
34) "Lady Madonna"
35) "Get Back"
37) "Helter Skelter"
38) "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)"
39) "The End"