The legendary Paul McCartney was playing the Paris La Défense Arena, formerly known as the U Arena – the largest concert hall in Europe, which hosted the Rolling Stones concerts in 2017 and Roger Waters gigs last June.
The Beatles were the 1st pop/rock band I listened to as a teenager, starting with their album “Revolver” – I won’t mention that a song like “Taxman” is as relevant as ever today…
I had not initially planned to attend the concert, being a fan of the Beatles but not a fan of Paul’s later output – not that I don’t like it but that I don’t know it, apart from a fistful of Wings or solo songs.
I made up my mind after checking the set lists of his recent concerts in Japan, and crossing my fingers hoping I would not be disappointed, knowing that Paul was not the Beatles and that he is 76!
I was a bit worried by the opener, “A Hard Day’s Night”, as the sound was not good and Paul’s voice was lost somewhere in this mess.
Things started to improve and then all problems solved by the 3rd number “All My Loving”.
Paul avoids playing the same set every night, and enjoys mixing the different periods of his career – Beatles, Wings, solo – and was particularly generous: the concert lasted more than 2.5 hours, with a total of almost 40 songs, including 24 Beatles (or even pre-Beatles!) songs, 7 Wings songs, 7 “solo” songs and 1 partial Hendrix cover.
Paul played in turns bass, electric and acoustic guitar, grand piano and other keyboards, and even some ukulele and he dedicated one song to John and one to George (and one to his wife).
Among the highlights of the evening: “All My Loving”, “Foxy Lady”, “I’ve Got a Feeling”, “I’ve Just Seen a Face”, “From Me to You”, “Michelle”, “Love Me Do”, “Blackbird” that Paul sang alone, “Lady Madonna”, “Eleanor Rigby”, “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!”, “Something”, “Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da”, “Back in the U.S.S.R.”, a splendid “Let It Be”, “Live and Let Die”, “Hey Jude” asking the audience to sing the coda.
The encores were Beatles only, culminating with “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)”, “Helter Skelter”, and from “Abbey Road”, “Golden Slumbers”, “Carry That Weight” and “The End”.
It was time to leave, though the audience – of all ages – wanted even more, as Paul mentioned in French “Nous sommes vieux.”.
One could doubt this after witnessing such a gig – I felt the same way after attending the great Leonard Cohen incredible shows when he was in his seventies.
Complete set list: