Paul McCartney, Echo Arena Liverpool, 12/12/2018

Sir Paul returns to his hometown to showcase the many faces of McCartney with a three-hour extravaganza that won’t be forgotten.

Walking up the Strand road towards the Echo Arena, you’re greeted by signs exclaiming “Welcome Home, Paul!”, to delight.

There still has never been a bigger musical act than The Beatles, and there never will be. Luckily, those four lads are Liverpool‘s shining heroes still almost sixty years later.

The screen showing a row of houses beforehand but we finally see our hero, as he walks onto stage with band in-tow and opens with the magnificent sign ‘o the times “A Hard Day’s Night“.

After the opening number, it’s louder than ever in the Echo Arena, and Sir Paul greets everyone. It’s a homecoming.

He wonders into Wings‘ “Junior’s Farm“, The Beatles‘ “All My Loving” and back to another Wings outing “Letting Go“.

The brilliant thing about a songwriter such as Paul, is there isn’t a one-way street and tonight shows. The appearance of a lot of Wings certainly is wanted, no matter those who attempt to look down.

The only quieter moments of the show, are the ones where Paul showcases his new record, Egypt Station. Although the silence doesn’t take away from the fact that, these may be classics in his catalogue in years to come, he leads into “Who Cares?

Paul kicks it into another gear, let’s say second, as they breath into “Got to Get You Into My Life“, “Come Onto Me“, Wings’ “Let It Roll“, the latter which features a playoff of Jimi Hendrix‘s “Foxey Lady“, and follows with a story of Hendrix covering “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” in Sweden a few days after it originally came out. “I’ve Got A Feeling” follows, one of the very last Beatles tracks to be played live by the band themselves.

Paul retreats to his grand piano, sitting on it’s own stage, for his next numbers. The chimes and bells warm us in before that wonderous first key, as we enter a rarely played “Let ‘Em In“.

In all honest, “Let ‘Em In” is this writer’s favourite Macca song, and so beautifully played live.

“Have you do your postcode lottery” McCartney jokes afterwards, a reference the room gets, before introducing the next song, the wonderful “My Valentine“.

Nineteen-Hundred and Eighty-Five“, “Maybe I’m Amazed” and “I’ve Just Seen a Face” follow.

The room crumbles now as Paul preforms one of the moments in the show that can’t be forgotten, the playthrough of the now 60-year old Quarrymen song “In Spite of All The Danger“, a transfixing celebration of his past far beyond what he’s known for.

From Me To You“, “Dance Tonight“, “Love Me Do” all line up in a row, before acoustically Paul brings out “Blackbird“, a song he has said many a time he believes his his finest song. The long-lost farewell letter to John comes next “Here Today“, and the compelled room is silent, and not in the same way as earlier.

The room relights with “Queenie Eye” and “Lady Madonna” gets people moving in the floor seats, and “Eleanor Rigby“, “Fuh You” and “For Being The Benefit of Mr. Kite!“, a psychedelic deep-cut from Sgt. Pepper’s that was great to hear.

Paul then told a story of how in George Harrison‘s later years, he’d be obsessed with the ukelele, before picking one up himself. He then went into George‘s greatest Beatles cut “Something” on his, which to be honest, led to many tears.

Heading into the rundown, Paul follows with the sing-a-long White Album tune “Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da“, followed by Wings hit “Band on the Run” and “Back in the USSR“, not missing a single step.

For the final time tonight, McCartney returns to his piano, for the song he wrote for the recently passed away Aretha Franklin, the poignant “Let It Be“.

The fireworks and lightshow goes wild as we enter McCartney‘s epic James Bond theme, Wings‘ classic “Live and Let Die“, and his main set ender “Hey Jude” again confirms really there isn’t many shows like this.

The band and the man return for their encore, the quite strange cut “Birthday” starts us off, he invites two special guest contest winners to sing “I Saw Her Standing There“, on from that for only the 13th time in his career we get an airing of “Wonderful Christmastime” with the LIPA Choir, a school christined by McCartney himself.

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)” comes next, officially signyfing the end of the show, but not before a handful more, starting with the quick-fire proto-punk spur “Helter Skelter“.

They enter the Abbey Road finale suite, “Golden Slumbers” into “Carry That Weight” and their final song of the night, featuring a recreation of Ringo Starr‘s iconic drum solo, “The End“.

There isn’t any show like this, unforgettable and magical. There isn’t an artist who can play three straight hours, and 35 songs, and still miss out some favourites.

Words by Jack Cinnamond. Additional reporting and photography by Jessica Jayne Sharpe.

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