Hamil­ton man­i­curist got to hold his hand

The Hamilton Spectator - - FRONT PAGE - GRA­HAM ROCK­ING­HAM grock­ing­ham@thes­ 905-526-3331 | @Rock­atTheSpec

Paul McCart­ney capped his firstever Hamil­ton per­for­mance Thurs­day night with a spe­cial trib­ute to his Scot­tish roots and a tip of the hat to our city’s her­itage by bring­ing the Ar­gyll and Suther­land High­landers pipe band on stage to back him for a stir­ring ren­di­tion of “Mull of Kin­tyre.”

The 74-year-old for­mer Bea­tle worked the sen­ti­men­tal Wings’ song into the en­core por­tion of his three-hour show at the First On­tario Cen­tre, be­fore clos­ing with “Birth­day” and his sig­na­ture sig­noff — the “Golden Slum­bers/Carry That Weight/The End” med­ley from the “Abbey Road” al­bum.

“Mull of Kin­tyre,” a song writ­ten to com­mem­o­rate a part of Scot­land in which McCart­ney has long owned a farm, was a rare treat for the 15,000 fans in the sold-out au­di­ence. McCart­ney has only played the song in one other city — Van­cou­ver — on the cur­rent “One on One” tour, which got un­der­way in April.

“We can’t come to Canada with­out do­ing this next song,” McCart­ney said as 25 mem­bers of the Ar­gylls lined up on stage be­hind him.

The con­cert, per­formed with­out a break, fea­tured a to­tal of 39 songs (less than $10 per song for those who pur­chased tick­ets at more than $300 a pop) rep­re­sent­ing a ca­reer span­ning more than five decades through the Quar­ry­men, the Bea­tles, Wings and McCart­ney solo projects.

“Good even­ing, Hamil­ton, I’ve got the feel­ing we’re go­ing to have some fun tonight,” McCart­ney told the crowd af­ter open­ing with the iconic Bea­tles song A Hard Day’s Night.

“We’ve got some old songs, some new ones and some in-be­tween ones.”

The ear­li­est song he per­formed was “In Spite of All the Dan­ger,” the first song recorded by the Quar­ry­men in 1958. The most re­cent one was “Four Five Sec­onds,” a song McCart­ney recorded with Kanye West and Ri­hanna last year.

He made sure to pay trib­ute to old friends who had passed away, ded­i­cat­ing the Bea­tles’ first sin­gle “Love Me Do” to the band’s late pro­ducer Ge­orge Martin.

For John Len­non, McCart­ney did a solo ver­sion of “Here To­day,” a bit­ter­sweet tune he wrote af­ter his long­time col­lab­o­ra­tor was as­sas­si­nated in 1980.

And McCart­ney picked up a ukulele — one of Bea­tle gui­tarist Ge­orge Har­ri­son’s favourite in­stru­ments — to per­form a mov­ing ver­sion of “Some­thing.”

McCart­ney brought with him only a four-piece band — Rusty An­der­son (back­ing vo­cals, gui­tar); Paul Wick­ens (key­boards, gui­tar, per­cus­sion), Brian Ray (bass, gui­tar) and Abe La­boriel Jr. (drums, back­ing vo­cals).

It was all that was needed, how­ever. McCart­ney’s reper­toire speaks for it­self and when a lit­tle ex­tra was needed, like a string sec­tion on Eleanor Rigby or a sax solo on Lady Madonna, Wick­ens sup­plied it aptly on the syn­the­sizer.

There was a trippy light show to set the tone for “Be­ing for the Ben­e­fit of Mr. Kite,” and a spec­tac­u­lar py­rotech­nic dis­play for “Live and Let Die,” but they weren’t re­ally needed ei­ther.

Ag­ing rock stars al­ways face the risk of turn­ing into car­i­ca­tures of them­selves. Not Paul. Not yet, any­way. For one thing, he doesn’t look a day over 60. He could prob­a­bly even pass for 55.

There’s also that ‘fab’ charm — the swivel of the hips, the wink of an eye and all that well-hewn pat­ter, sto­ries that have been told hun­dreds of times but still seem fresh, about Len­non, Har­ri­son, Com­mu­nist com­mis­sars, and Jimi Hen­drix.

And that voice, one of the great­est in rock ’n’ roll his­tory, is still there — strained and a lit­tle wob­bly at times — but it’s there, still hit­ting those won­der­ful high woohoos, prob­a­bly not as high as they used to be but still enough to tin­gle the spine.

Yeah, Yeah, Yeah.


Paul McCart­ney treated the au­di­ence at FirstOn­tario Cen­tre to a full slate of his mu­sic. He per­formed 39 songs over three hours.

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