Paul McCartney at Glastonbury was mind blowing at a variety of levels.
The most obvious is that McCartney is 80. I was more than worried. I almost just recorded it to watch on my own so I wouldn’t have to watch the sad demise of my hero live.
And yes, the voice is huskier, far from its glorious breadth but it was the only hint that this man was older than much of the crowd’s grandparents. He didn’t shy away either. The Wings screamer Junior’s Farm is second up and Helter Skelter was his 33rd song of the night.
There is no doubt McCartney’s band have his back. For over twenty years Rusty Anderson on guitar, Brian Ray on bass, Abe Laboriel Jr on drums with Wix Wickens acting as musical director as well as playing keyboard have allowed McCartney concerts to soar. They have beautifully arranged the vocals in order to cover any of the boss’s frailties. They were all rocking Glastonbury for the second time.
Perhaps most amazing to me was the set list. I mean when you have the biggest bestest recorded catalogue in rock history where does Paul begin. Yet, usually it is hit hit hit in machine gun fire. Of course most Macca songs are hits in some sense but tonight’s set list dug deep cuts. Junior’s Farm? Letting Go? For The Benefit of Mr Kite? I think there might have only been about 5 number 1s!
Then there are the new songs. Paul even highlights before he sings New calling them black holes when no one cheers. We don’t care he adds and tonight he genuinely doesn’t seem to. We get songs from four of McCartney’s last 5 records but interestingly nothing from McCartney III. We even have a post song crowd singalong on Fuh You.
Overall we get a personal and rock n roll history. Love Me Do to I’ve Got A Feeling and McCartney is very respectful and inclusive of his mates Ringo, George and John commentating as he goes. Lennon even sings along through the wonder of technology on I’ve Got A Feeling which must have been moving for McCartney and also his band who have now played with Lennon too.
All of that and other film footage on the screen does suggest that the product McCartney’s gig is aiming to sell is Let It Be and the Get Back film.
From Paul’s story we move to rock’s story and the special guests Dave Grohl and Bruce Springsteen. Nice surprises indeed! Two powerful voices to give Paul’s a break. Grohl’s howl through I Saw Her Standing There was sensational. Bruce’s Glory Days sent Paul into glory days mode and we got a Beatles fest plus the very very underrated but great Live and Let Die.
Even in this concluding climax the set list surprised. Yes, there was Let It Be and obviously a long sing-a-long Hey Jude but I Wanna Be Your Man and Golden Slumbers before ending the gig as the chronological Beatles albums ended with The End. Fascinating.
So almost two and a half hours later and we are in awe of an 80 year old still holding the attention of the current coolest music audience on the planet. He and his mates conquering the planet 60 years ago is one one thing but still reigning at 80 mind blowing! Into a Covid-still-with-us and war torn world he pours out hope and joy and positive vibes. To think I doubted!