In 1993, Paul McCartney was to play the Syracuse area for the first time but unfortunately had to cancel due to a scheduling conflict (he had to get ready for a FOX TV Concert). Fast forward 24 years and more than 36,000 fans were at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, NY, Saturday night waiting to embrace him with open arms. Probably the most iconic musician on the planet, McCartney still has the swagger and style that attracts people of all ages. Not only did music change from the first appearance of The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show back on February 9, 1964, but a whole new counter culture developed. This was a bucket list show for many people.
As fans took their seats, McCartney and his band were prompt and started the show at 8pm. His band has been consistent over the last 15 years. They included multi-instrumentalist Wix Wickens, guitarists Brian Ray and Rusty Anderson and drummer Abe Laboriel Jr. “Hard Day’s Night” got the people up and kept them there for most of the next three hours. YES THREE (3) HOURS! McCartney and his band played a total of 39 songs. They encompassed a retrospect of songs from the very beginning, including McCartney’s first song he recorded with The Quarryman (his band before The Beatles) titled “In Spite of All the Danger” to the latest song he cut with Rhianna and Kanye West called “FourFiveSeconds.”
McCartney did tributes to Sir George Martin (“You Won’t See Me”) and his former bandmates George Harrison (“Something”) and John Lennon (“Here Today”). He also dedicated “My Valentine” to his wife Nancy Shevell. He also told stories about how Jimi Hendrix opened his show with “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” two days after the album came out.
Going back to the band, the talent is unmatched. Ray went back and forth between guitar and bass duties and Wix handled keys, accordion, percussion, and harmonica. Laboriel Jr. not only did a stellar job behind the skins but plays an important role with his vocal harmonies. McCartney, at times, showed a few cracks with the higher registered notes during slower compositions like “Maybe I’m Amazed,” but those notes aren’t always easy, especially when the inside temperature inside soared over 80 degrees. I thought McCartney battled through the heat and showed no ill effects at all. His wit and charm were also on display as he told funny stories about performing at the Kremlin for the first time and how Russian dignitaries said they learned how to speak English by listening to Beatle records. He also talked about how and Lennon wrote The Rolling Stones first hit in the UK with “I Wanna Be Your Man.”
A woman was brought up later in the set. She had a sign for him to get a hug and to sign her wrist, to which he obliged. During the explosions and fireworks of “Live and Let Die,” a very small fire happened (which many probably never noticed) on top of the truss above stage left. Two workers scurried up there to put it out with first responders putting any remnants that fell off with fire extinguishers. Many kudos to the responders who handled the issue quickly and properly. “Let It Be” then followed and prompted most of the people to hold up their cell phones during the entire song.
McCartney appeared by himself to sing “Yesterday” for the first song of the encores. “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” was given a psychedelic feel with trippy images accompanying the song on the video screen. One of my favorite Beatles tracks was “Helter Skelter” and various screen and lighting components brought the song to life along with the terrific musicianship. He dedicated “Birthday” to anyone who was celebrating a birthday.
With McCartney at 75 and the current rigors of touring, he does not need to do this as we all well know. How much longer we will have the musical icon performing anywhere nearby is the question? McCartney will wrap up the One on One tour with dates in Australia later this year. Syracuse got a scorcher of a show literally and figuratively!
A Hard Day’s Night (The Beatles song)
Junior’s Farm (Wings song)
Can’t Buy Me Love (The Beatles song)
Jet (Wings song)
All My Loving (The Beatles song)
Let Me Roll It (Wings song) (followed by ‘Foxy Lady’ jam by Jimi Hendrix)
I’ve Got a Feeling (The Beatles song)
Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five (Wings song)
Maybe I’m Amazed
We Can Work It Out (The Beatles song)
In Spite of All the Danger (The Quarrymen song)
You Won’t See Me (The Beatles song)
Love Me Do (The Beatles song)
And I Love Her (The Beatles song)
Blackbird (The Beatles song)
Lady Madonna (The Beatles song)
Four Five Seconds (Rihanna and Kanye West and Paul McCartney cover)
Eleanor Rigby (The Beatles song)
I Wanna Be Your Man (The Rolling Stones cover)
Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite! (The Beatles song)
Something (The Beatles song)
A Day in the Life (The Beatles song) (with Give Peace a Chance snippet)
Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da (The Beatles song)
Band on the Run (Wings song)
Back in the U.S.S.R. (The Beatles song)
Let It Be (The Beatles song)
Live and Let Die (Wings song)
Hey Jude (The Beatles song)
Yesterday (The Beatles song)
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise) (The Beatles song)
Helter Skelter (The Beatles song)
Birthday (The Beatles song)
Golden Slumbers (The Beatles song)
Carry That Weight (The Beatles song)
The End (The Beatles song)
We would like to thank Olivia Muenz from Nasty Little Man for eh credentials to review the show.