By Michael Cerio
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Welcome to summer camp with Sir Paul.
Rock royalty set up shop in the outfield of Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia on Tuesday night for some singing and storytelling. The always adorable and still swaggering Paul McCartney delivered “some old songs, some new songs” and some “in-between songs” as he said, along with some well-worn anecdotes and a few victory laps.
Shielding his eyes from the setting sun and waiving to the not-so-cheap-seats atop the stadium, McCartney sauntered on stage after 8:30 p.m. With the iconic first strum of “A Hard Day’s Night” the most boyish of all The Beatles began his impressive thirty-eight song set. It was as advertised – bouncing from solo material, to Wings classics, and of course a healthy dose Beatles favorites.
“Good evening Philadelphia. It’s great to be back” said Paul with a smile early on. “We’re going to have a party here in this place tonight.”
McCartney has gotten quite good at pacing a party in his fifty-plus years on stage – always engaging and always sensing the lull that he quickly fills with a beloved Beatles song.
Flanked by two tall video screens and in front of backdrop of LED lights, the singer shared stories or thank yous between performing most of his musical touchstones. He introduced 2012’s “My Valentine” as a song he wrote for his wife Nancy, who was in the house this evening. A few songs later he would note a song he wrote for first wife Linda, before playing “Maybe I’m Amazed”. Later he shared tales of songwriting methods before Beatles tunes “You Won’t See Me” and “Blackbird”. The sold-out, nearly forty-four thousand seat stadium had all the intimacy of a campfire during sections of his seasoned show.
With the exception maybe of his “FourFiveSeconds” performance – his Rihanna and Kanye collaboration that felt forced – the evening was easy. It was the perfect portion of good vibes and charm dished out in a practiced and polished fashion.
At the center of it all was Paul McCartney. So many of these songs are so important personally to so many people, and the fact they are delivered by such a constantly captivating and delightful human make them just sound and feel better.
Whether it’s his extended wave and strut after a job well done behind the piano, or it’s him comically holding his ears as the fireworks finished over “Live And Let Die” – McCartney managed to hit all the right notes beyond the music that he played.