As if the world needed any proof that Paul McCartney’s still got it, skeptics should look no further than the music icon’s Tuesday night show at Hersheypark Stadium.
Just a few songs into his nearly three-hour set, McCartney peeled off his royal blue Nehru jacket to reveal a sharp dress shirt.
Fans, primarily the women in attendance, shrieked in delight.
“That’s the main costume change of the whole evening,” McCartney said with a wink.
Moments like these are what makes seeing McCartney live an experience unlike any other. Of course the music is going to be good – not just good, astounding – so the pleasant surprises are in the humanity McCartney brings to his live show.
Sometimes it was a little jig he’d do after a song, standing up at the piano and waving his arms around playfully at the crowd. Other times, it was a sweet memory of one of his former bandmates, or a story about a time he performed in Moscow, during which he impersonates a Russian government official.
During “And I Love Her,” it was when he turned his back to the crowd and did an adorable little booty shake.
The man still has it.
The sprawling, spectacular setlist was like a musical scrapbook of McCartney’s career. He played the first song he ever recorded with the pre-Beatles band the Quarrymen, “In Spite of All the Danger.” He also played his 2015 collaboration with Rihanna and Kanye West, “FourFiveSeconds.”
McCartney performed numerous Beatles songs, from sailing toward the sky on a mobile riser during “Blackbird” to the circus ditty “For the Benefit of Mr. Kite,” which was a joy to hear live thanks to McCartney’s exceptional backing band. (It’s worth mentioning that McCartney has played with this lineup longer than he did with the Beatles or Wings.)
Of course, McCartney’s voice isn’t as rich as it once was, but one would be foolish to expect it to be. He was 18 when the Beatles began, and last month he celebrated his 74th birthday.
Still, McCartney hit high notes with remarkable ease, especially during “Maybe I’m Amazed.” Photographs and videos taken by McCartney’s late wife Linda were displayed on the big screen behind him as he played the song, which he wrote for her.
There were many times when it was easy to get misty-eyed as McCartney paid tribute to loved ones. He played “Here Today,” a song he wrote as a conversation he wishes he had had with John Lennon.
“If you’ve got something nice to say to someone, get it said,” McCartney said.
As he played the George Harrison tune “Something” on ukulele, photos of McCartney and Harrison were shown on the screen behind him.
The jumbotrons were utilized incredibly well during the entire performance. The images were a mix of photographs, video and animation, which were always interesting but never distracting. Fireworks and pyrotechnics elevated the show even higher, blasting off at key moments during “Live and Let Die.”
Even though McCartney is conditioned to putting on a grand spectacle night after night, his live show never feels like he’s simply going through the motions. On Tuesday night, he even made a conscious effort to be present and allowed himself a moment to just look out into the crowd.
“I’m just going to take a minute here to drink it all in for myself,” he said.
We’re trying to do the same, Paul. Take as long as you need to.
These Beatles montages are going to make me misty eyed by the end of the night. I just know it. pic.twitter.com/UKYto7MLaL— Jenelle Janci (@jenelley) July 20, 2016
"Lady Madonna" pic.twitter.com/ia0z1NOP7n— Jenelle Janci (@jenelley) July 20, 2016
I felt the heat from this on my face, and it was awesome. pic.twitter.com/ULvFlniTqg— Jenelle Janci (@jenelley) July 20, 2016
A beautiful ending to a beautiful night. Thank you, Paul. pic.twitter.com/PjtETHwknF— Jenelle Janci (@jenelley) July 20, 2016