Paul McCartney’s current Got Back concert tour may have nothing to do with a similarly titled Sir Mix-a-Lot song, but the legendary Beatle likes big shows and he cannot lie. Following his trio of “intimate” (read: 12,000-19,000-capacity) concerts in Spokane, Seattle, and Oakland, on May 13 touched down at Los Angeles’s brand-new SoFi Stadium to perform for 70,000 delighted spectators, at his first proper stadium gig since the COVID-19 pandemic and the massive venue’s first concert of 2022.
“We said we’d come back,” he declared Friday. “And we got back.”
The tour’s name, of course, is a cheeky nod to Peter Jackson’s epic Get Back docuseries, which compiled eight hours of mostly never-seen footage originally captured for Michael Lindsay-Hogg’s documentary about the Beatles’ Let It Be album; the three-night event inspired countless marathon viewing sessions throughout Thanksgiving weekend last year and re-whetted fans’ appetites for as much Beatles content as possible. In that spirit, McCartney treated the LA crowd to a marathon session of his own, playing 36 songs over the course of nearly three hours, all delivered with the same joyous and jocular vibes of that film’s studio jam sessions.
With McCartney’s 80th birthday approaching next month (just two days after the Got Back tour wraps in New Jersey), he was, understandably, in a wistful and reflective mood. Perhaps that would be expected from a man who’s made no apologies for penning silly love songs, but this time, such moments hit different. During “Maybe I’m Amazed,” McCartney’s classic ballad penned for his late first wife Linda McCartney, SoFi’s jumbotron screens flashed a famous 1969 black-and-white photo taken by Linda of Paul cuddling their baby daughter Mary, after which he mused to the crowd in amazement, “That baby in my jacket’s now got four babies of her own.”
He also paid tribute to his late bandmates, strumming a rendition of George Harrison’s best-loved ballad “Something” on a ukulele (an instrument Harrison loved to play) while a montage of black-and-while photos of George and Paul in happier times flickered on the video screens. Then there was McCartney’s 1982 ode to John Lennon, “Here Today,” in which he expressed his love for his fallen friend his in a way he was never able to in real life. (“Don’t wait to tell the people you care about most that you love them,” McCartney urged the teary-eyed SoFi audience.) Both songs have become Macca sentimental setlist staples over the years, but a virtual, isolated-vocal “ I’ve Got a Feeling” duet between McCartney and Lennon, masterminded by Get Back director Jackson, was especially impactful. And at one point McCartney really got back, all the way back to 1958, with “In Spite of All the Danger,” the first song recorded by proto-Beatles teen group the Quarrymen comprising Lennon, McCartney, Harrison, pianist John “Duff” Lowe, and drummer Colin Hanton .
Fans may have hoped for another surprise appearance by surviving Beatle Ringo Starr, who had come out for “Helter Skelter” on the final date of McCartney’s 2019 tour at LA’s Dodger Stadium’, but all of the Beatles members’ presence was felt as McCartney ran through 21 Fab Four tunes Friday with his longtime band lineup of guitarist Rusty Anderson, guitarist/bassist Brian Ray, multi-instrumentalist Paul “Wix” Wickens, and drummer Abe Laboriel Jr. Shifting mainly between his iconic Hofner bass and a rainbow-bright electric piano, he led the audience (which included Muse’s Matt Bellamy and the Police’s Stewart Copeland) through multiple “Kumbaya”-style singalongs (“Let It Be,” “Hey Jude, ” and “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” seemed to be fan favorites). By the time he and his band his emerged for the encore of “Golden Slumbers”/“Carry That Weight”/“The End” brandishing Ukrainian American, British, Californian, and LGBTQ + rainbow flags, it was impossible not to be more than a little awestruck, even a little choked-up. The impact of McCartney and the Beatles is almost easy to take for granted at times, but no one was taking it for granted tonight.
Paul McCartney’s SoFi Stadium setlist was:
Can’t Buy Me Love
Got to Get You Into My Life
Come On to Me
Let Me Roll It
Let ‘Em In
Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five
Maybe I’m Amazed
We Can Work It Out
In Spite of All the Danger
Love Me Do
Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!
You Never Give Me Your Money
She Came in Through the Bathroom Window
Band on the Run
Let It Be
Live and Let Die
I’ve Got a Feeling
Carry That Weight
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