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Paul McCartney: Worth The Wait

50 years, five months, and three days (15 days if you include leap days) after The Beatles made their first appearance in the United States, on the ‘Ed Sullivan Show’, Sir Paul McCartney made his first appearance in the Dakotas, playing at the Fargodome Saturday night.

It was well worth the wait.

At age 72, just a few months removed from a heath scare that forced him off the road for several weeks, Paul showed why he is still considered rock royalty, tearing through a three-hour, 39-song set, while making it look easy.

In a day and age where a lot of performers have been reduced to ‘nostalgia acts’, Paul works his brand new material in alongside some of the best known songs in music history, and while the new stuff isn’t as well received by the audience, it still shows flashes of one of the greatest songwriters ever.

Paul has even taken the pre-concert experience to new heights.  While most groups are content to have a hodgepodge of various tunes filling the time before the show starts, Paul and his team have selected a wide variety of Beatles’ classics that have been covered by other artists over the years.  Not only is it extremely cool, it also does a great job of setting the stage for what’s about to come.

As for the show itself, Paul could rely on just his singing and storytelling, but he delivers so much more in staging one impressive performance.

He pulls out all the stops on ‘Live and Let Die’:

But for every over-the-top moment, there was something low key and unexpected.  Like Paul playing a few chords of ‘Foxy Lady’ by Jimi Hendrix, before launching into a story about how Jimi was on stage in London, two days after the release of ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ in 1967, already playing the title track to the album that had just been released 48 hours earlier:

There were some very personal moments as well, like Paul dedicating songs (‘My Valentine’) to his current wife, Nancy, and (‘Maybe I’m Amazed’) to his late wife, Linda.

Paul also acknowledged his fallen band mates, playing ‘Here Today’, a song he wrote as a conversation with John Lennon, after Lennon was killed in 1980, and pulling out one of George Harrison’s favorite instruments, the ukelele, to put his take on George’s classic ‘Something’:

The show featured a few other surprises, like ‘Lovely Rita’ and ‘Being For The Benefit of Mr. Kite’, both from Sgt. Pepper.

And when it came to the classics, Paul didn’t disappoint there either, like leading the 24,000 in the crowd in a rousing sing along of ‘Hey Jude’:

In a day and age of performers more famous for their antics than their musical abilities, Sir Paul McCartney put on a Master Class on ‘Being a Rock Star 101′.

At the end of the show, Paul left the crowd with a promise to see us again the next time through.

I can’t wait!

Fargodome Setlist:

    1. Eight Days a Week
    2. Save Us
    3. All My Loving
    4. Listen to What the Man Said
    5. Let Me Roll It (with ‘Foxy Lady” snippet)
    6. Paperback Writer  
    7. My Valentine
    8. Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five
    9. The Long and Winding Road
    10. Maybe I’m Amazed
    11. I’ve Just Seen a Face
    12. We Can Work It Out
    13. Another Day
    14. And I Love Her
    15. Blackbird  
    16. Here Today
    17. New
    18. Queenie Eye
    19. Lady Madonna  
    20. All Together Now
    21. Lovely Rita  
    22. Everybody Out There
    23. Eleanor Rigby  
    24. Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!
    25. Something  
    26. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da  
    27. Band on the Run
    28. Back in the U.S.S.R.  
    29. Let It Be
    30. Live and Let Die  
    31. Hey Jude

Encore:

    1. Day Tripper  
    2. Hi, Hi, Hi  
    3. Get Back  

Encore 2:

    1. Yesterday  
    2. Helter Skelter
    3. Golden Slumbers
    4. Carry That Weight  
    5. The End

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