Paul McCartney Got Back to Jersey’s MetLife Stadium

Final gig of North American tour features plenty of music, anecdotes and a surprise guest

Last night, I saw Paul McCartney for the third and possibly last time, at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey. It’s hard to believe six years had passed since my previous Macca concert in August 2016 at Hersheypark in Hershey, Pa. Yesterday’s show marked the final gig of his 16-date North American Got Back Tour. And back he got, with more than two and a half hours of songs, anecdotes and a surprise guest.

Overall, I share the same sentiments of fellow blogger Jim from Music Enthusiast, who recently got to enjoy McCartney in Boston and posted a nice review here. Backed by his longtime touring band, McCartney delivered many great songs and had an amazing amount of energy. His voice definitely wasn’t what it used to be, but I had fully anticipated that, so it didn’t bother me. I was simply happy to get another opportunity to see one of my biggest heroes in music.

Paul McCartney got back. So did I, to see him for the third time.

There was a LOT of music – 40 songs, including a snippet of Jimi Hendrix’s Foxey Lady at the end of Let Me Roll It, and not counting the audience’s rendition of Happy Birthday to congratulate Sir Paul in advance of his imminent big occasion. Putting together a setlist that between The Beatles, Wings and Paul McCartney solo tunes reflects a massive catalog must be tricky and cannot make everybody entirely happy. Personally, I would have loved to see a few more early Beatles songs. And from Egypt Station, Paul’s 17th solo album from 2018, which I feel is among his better post-Beatles efforts, Come On to Me and Fuh You wouldn’t have been my picks, but enough with the silly complaining!

While based on Jim’s blog and other accounts I’ve read Macca’s song announcements and shared anecdotes didn’t vary from show to show, nevertheless, this didn’t feel like some routine gig to me. You could see from Macca’s facial expressions that the soon-to-be 80-year-old still enjoyed performing for his fans. I mean, ‘drink this all in,’ to borrow one of Paul’s expressions he used last night!

Waiting for Macca with cool psychedelic renderings of The Beatles

Usually, I don’t “coordinate” my posts with fellow bloggers. But since I believe Jim and I have a number of common followers and given his recent review, I decided to focus on music Jim didn’t highlight in his great post, so our fellow bloggers don’t end up watching the same clips twice. And, as previously hinted, there is a surprise guest. Curious? Read on! 🙂

Let’s kick things off with a Beatles tune from Revolver: Got to Get You Into My Life. Written by Macca and credited to him and John Lennon, the song is a nice homage to Motown. I’ve always dug it! The performance also prominently showcased Paul’s neat horn section.

The next song I’d like to highlight is from Band on the Run, Macca’s third studio release with Wings. The 1973 record remains my favorite McCartney album post-Beatles. Here’s the great piano-driven Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five.

For this next tune, Macca went back, way back, to the very first song recorded in June 1958 as a demo by The Quarrymen, the group that eventually would evolve into The Beatles. In addition to Paul, John and George Harrison, the line-up featured John Lowe (piano) and Colin Hanton (drums). Sure, In Spite of All the Danger isn’t as good as I Saw Her Standing There, You Can’t Do That, She Loves You and other early Beatles tunes, but I still thought it was cool Paul decided to play it.

No Paul McCartney gig would be complete without some solo tunes on acoustic guitar. Here’s Blackbird, off The White Album, a song I loved from the get-go when I heard it many moons ago. In fact, my great guitar teacher showed me how to play it at the time. Unfortunately, these days, I can only partially remember it. But I suppose there’s always YouTube!

Next, I’d like to highlight a medley of You Never Give Me Your Money and She Came Into the Bathroom Window. During his announcement, Paul noted the North American tour marked the first time they performed this. It’s hard to believe they didn’t play these great tunes from Abbey Road during previous tours.

Did I mention there was a surprise? About two-thirds into the show, there was a sudden commotion in the audience. I heard people behind me speculate that Ringo Starr might be in the house. After all, Ringo had showed up at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles in July 2019 where Macca wrapped his Freshen Up Tour. Well, we didn’t get Ringo. Instead, Bruce Springsteen walked up on stage to a screaming audience. Here are two tunes he performed with McCartney: His own Glory Days, off the Born in the U.S.A. album, and The Beatles’ I Wanna Be Your Man. For a moment, the Boss stole the show, but Macca seemed to be cool with it!

I could go on and on, but all things must pass, to borrow from the wise George Harrison. The last tune I’d like to call out is from the encore: Helter Skelter, another track from The White Album. And an impressive illustration of Sir Paul’s admirable energy level two and a half hours into the gig. Any young cat musicians out there, check this out – just incredible!

I briefly mentioned Paul’s excellent band in the upfront. These guys are simply top-notch musicians and Macca rightfully called them out last night: Paul “Wix” Wickens (keyboards), Brian Ray (bass/guitar), Rusty Anderson (guitar) and Abe Laboriel Jr. (drums). He also noted the name of his amazing horn section, but unfortunately, I did not catch it.

Last but not least, here’s the setlist:
• Can’t Buy Me Love (The Beatles song)
• Junior’s Farm (Wings song)
• Letting Go (Wings song)
• Got to Get You Into My Life (The Beatles song)
• Come On to Me
• Let Me Roll It (Wings song) (with “Foxy Lady” outro jam)
• Getting Better (The Beatles song)
• Let ‘Em In (Wings song)
• My Valentine
• Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five (Wings song)
• Maybe I’m Amazed
• I’ve Just Seen a Face (The Beatles song)
• In Spite of All the Danger (The Quarrymen song)
• Love Me Do (The Beatles song)
• Dance Tonight
• Blackbird (The Beatles song)
• Here Today
• New
• Lady Madonna (The Beatles song)
• Fuh You
• Jet (Wings song)
• Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite! (The Beatles song)
• Something (The Beatles song)
• Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da (The Beatles song)
• You Never Give Me Your Money & She Came in Through the Bathroom Window (The Beatles songs)
• Get Back (The Beatles song)
• Band on the Run (Wings song)
• Glory Days (Bruce Springsteen cover with Bruce Springsteen)
• I Wanna Be Your Man (The Beatles song with Bruce Springsteen)
• Let It Be (The Beatles song)
• Live and Let Die (Wings song)
• Hey Jude (The Beatles song)

Encore:
• I’ve Got a Feeling (The Beatles song) (“virtual duet” w/video &… more )
• Happy Birthday to You (Mildred J. Hill & Patty Hill cover) (with Jon Bon Jovi)
• Birthday (The Beatles song)
• Helter Skelter (The Beatles song)
• Golden Slumbers (The Beatles song)
• Carry That Weight (The Beatles song)
• The End (The Beatles song with Bruce Springsteen)

Sources: Wikipedia; Setlist; YouTube

15 thoughts on “Paul McCartney Got Back to Jersey’s MetLife Stadium”

  1. You are making up for lost time Christian! Looks like a great show. I love In Spite Of All The Danger…I wish they would have properly recorded it. I would rather hear that one than a few I’ve heard so many times. The only McCartney-Harrison song.
    Damn…Paul and Bruce on the same night! The closest I’ve some to that is Bob Dylan and Elvis Costello…
    How was the duet with John on I’ve Got A Feeling?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Max. While both the Bonnie Raitt and the Paul McCartney shows were excellent and I’m glad I could be there (I ended up taking some time off from work to make it more feasible), I’ve never been to two “big concerts” back-to-back. Even for a huge music fan like myself, it was a bit intense, and I guess I’m no longer 19. 🙂

      That being said, I really shouldn’t whine: Bonnie Raitt is 72 and Paul is turning 80 tomorrow. 80, can you believe that? And they still perform at such an amazing level! Paul playing for more than 2.5 hours. And still doing “Helter Skelter” in the encore section of the show!

      Initially, I had hoped Ringo might show up at Macca’s gig. But after he had to postpone the remaining gigs of the first leg of his tour with The All-Starr Band because Edgar Winter and Steve Lukather had come down with COVID, I essentially had given up on that thought. After all, Ringo himself likely was exposed to the damn virus!

      But Bruce certainly was a pretty cool surprise. I thought it was interesting they played one of his songs, which not surprisingly in Jersey stole the show, at least for some time. Paul was a good sport and jokingly joined the audience calls for “B.R.U.C.E.” Springsteen came back a second time at the very end for, well, The End!

      Last but not least, I thought Paul’s virtual duo with John was nicely done. John’s part in the song is relatively minor. Still, I thought having him appear on the large video screens with footage from the rooftop concert was pretty cool.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Man….I’m so glad you got to see all of these artists! It’s a great thing that doesn’t happen every week. You will NEVER forget these. It’s not like you can do this all of the time. The timing was perfect!
        Hell…Paul and Bruce!!!! Yea in Jersey no one could challenge Bruce…I mean no one. John Lennon could be resurrected and they would still want Bruce.

        I don’t blame them! Local guy that is great! I remember one story of Anne Murray… Bruce was opening for her early on…even then Anne was told…you do NOT want Bruce opening…let him close…her management would not do it and you can guess what happened…the crowd screaming Brrruuucccceee through her show.

        Paul is not stupid…he knew this and had fun with it…he is Paul!

        I’m so happy for you Christian…cherish these last few days!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. The story with Anne Murray happened in the Central Park, New York. In the middle of the 1970s.

    Great review and I can feel the happiness in every single letter… and Bruce! It seems that he can’t wait to go on tour with the E Street Band next year.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for the shoutout. I think the unplanned dual reviews works well. I wouldn’t necessarily assume we have the same readership. None of the people who commented here have ever commented on my site to my knowledge. As to the big surprise, I’m afraid that news leaked out within about two minutes. As to the songs they did, meh. I’ve never liked ‘Glory Days,’ not even for a second. And ‘I Wanna Be Your Man?’ C’mon guys. Anyway, a quibble. Great to see these guys together.

    I can only imagine how Bruce must feel about this. He’s almost 10 years younger than Macca, saw them (like many of us) when he was a kid and they were on Ed Sullivan and didn’t even release his first album until three years after they broke up! So it would be like me suddenly getting up and playing with Clapton. I’d never be, or feel like, a peer.

    Your setlist was pretty much like mine. But “Jet” huh? Would love to have heard that. Next time out I am going to plan McCartney’s setlist for him. I will give him two or three options so that he can vary things. All in a day’s work the way I see it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Jim. No doubt the minute Bruce walked on that stage it was all over social media. Had it happened during Beatlemania, I guess you would have read it in the local paper the next morning.

      I was surprised they played any Springsteen song. Instead I would have expected something “neutral” like “Johnny B. Goode” or “Twist and Shout”. While I’m okay with “Glory Days,” I certainly would have preferred any of these tunes or another great classic rock & roll tune.

      Frankly, even they had done “Itsy Bitsy Spider”, the audience would have gone nuts. Jersey really loves their Bruuuuuce!

      Based on what I’ve seen, Paul pretty much played the same set throughout the tour. A little more variety would have been nice, but if you think about it, memorizing the words and music for some 40 songs sounds like a formidable task, even if you’ve played many of them for decades. I imagine a set song list is a huge help to guide you through the show. Ditto for announcements and anecdotes, which I believe Paul didn’t vary either.

      Of course, on the flipside, it does take away spontaneity and if you’re not careful, it can come across as a routine gig. In Paul’s case I didn’t get that sense. Perhaps I’m reading too much into his facial expressions. To me, he seemed to be genuinely happy to be there and play his music.

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      1. Yeah, I think I’ve heard the “Blackbird” story a hundred times. I think performers figure out what works and just keep doing it. I saw Springsteen on ’60 Minutes’ once. They showed him actually rehearsing this move I’ve seen a number of time where he falls to the floor like he’s exhausted. But it’s a bit! It’s like James Brown throwing off his robe.

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  4. I had to miss this tour because I was on a business trip when Macca played in my area. I’d seen him twice before as well, and am keenly aware that I might not have the chance again. Thanks for a great run-down of the show.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. LOL, I wrote a bit about the show today and ended it almost the same way as your comment to Sharon there. Astounding he can keep going like that at 80! I had half-considered trying to go to it when he came to Texas but (obviously) found that this show was his last of the N.American tour…but hey, who’s to doubt we will “See him next time!” Anyway, I’m glad you got to see him , and did a fine review too! The Bruce Springsteen bit was icing on the cake. Bon Jovi showed up too, didn’t he? Not as good as Bruce but a neat little add-on to the concert.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. well that was cool still, but the review I read suggested he had sung ‘Happy Birthday’ to Paul. anyhow, nice of him to pop by and I’d much rather hear Bruce do a tune than Jon (though I would opt for Bon jovi when it came to picking a spaghetti sauce, LOL). Max and I have commented at times, Bon jovi seems like a totally cool, really very nice guy, but his music… not everyone’s cup of tea, and neither of us care all that much for that particular brew.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. While undoubtedly some of our fellow bloggers are going to roll their eyes, I’m not ashamed to admit I like some of Bon Jovi’s songs. I did see them once in NJ in July 2013 with my wife (one of the rare occasions where our music tastes overlap!), and it was a pretty good show. At the time, Phil X had already started filling in for Richie Sambora.

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