IT is undeniable that The Beatles revolutionized pop music and it was sad when Paul McCartney announced on April 10, 1970 that he was leaving the band. The songwriting tandem of McCartney and John Lennon remains to this day one of the most formidable in the rock era.
But then the music didn’t die, each member of the Fab Four continued to make albums as solo artists. In terms of output, McCartney had the most number of hits in the post-Beatles period, followed by Lennon, then George Harrison. Let us not forget Ringo Starr who had a few.
On Dec. 16, 2017, the 75-year old McCartney brought his One on One World Tour to Mt. Smart Stadium, Auckland where he filled the seats and the ground with 30,000-strong fans. It was his final gig for the year, a blast from the past and more.
With the reported settlement he had over the dispute on the Beatles’ catalog that is currently owned by the Estate of Michael Jackson and Sony, McCartney played 70 percent Beatles materials starting with “A Hard Day’s Night” and other familiar tunes like “Can’t Buy Me Love,” “Love Me Do,” “Eleonor Rigby” and “Let It Be.” He interspersed these with his own anthems such as “Jet,” “Band on the Run” and “Live and Let Die.” McCartney got the millennials to sing along loudly in “FourFiveSeconds,” a hit he made with Rihanna and Kanye West.
There were moments when he silenced us, as he dedicated songs to John (“Here Today”), Harrison (“Something”) and Linda McCartney (“Maybe I’m Amazed”). Age has not impacted on the trademark voice of Paul McCartney, whether it was a sweet love song he was singing or a guitar-driven rock tune like “Back in the USSR.”
But it wasn’t just about the songs, Paul shared bits of pop history that we didn’t know like the time he saw Jimi Hendrix perform “Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club” note for note on guitar with the latter calling on George Harrison to the stage who mildly refused; or when The Beatles performed in Russia with communist officials in the backstage telling them that they learned English by listening to Beatles’ songs.
In nearly all the songs, the thousands joined in most of the chorus, and I guess the loudest was in “Hey Jude” after which McCartney and his band left the stage, only to return for another thirty minutes jam that included the most recorded song of all time, “Yesterday,” “Mull of Kintyre” and “Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight.”
And for those who question whether McCartney is a genuine rocker, this was settled through “Helter Skelter,” a song he wrote in 1968 with “a sound as loud and dirty as possible,” and is considered as a key influence in the early development of heavy metal. For three hours, Paul proved beyond reasonable doubt that he is a bonafide legend in songwriting, in performing and in stage stamina. O what a night! You rock, Sir Paul, thank you!