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This was the first of two nights in Sydney.
From NEWS.com.au, November 11, 2017:
LOVE, three chords and the truth are all you need when in the presence of the rock greatness of Paul McCartney.
After winning hundreds of thousands of hearts and minds as his One on One tour wound around the country, he finally arrived in Sydney for his two final Australian concerts at Qudos Bank Arena.
It was impossible not to marvel that after a very long 23-year wait for the Maccalytes, that here he was, a Beatle for crying out loud.
This was the man who managed to transcend the weight of that legend to maintain a profound influence on pop culture for five decades, with Wings, his vast solo work and who most recently shared chart glory with Kanye and Rihanna and the Foo Fighters.
McCartney traversed all those chapters in a show which stretched to almost three hours with plenty to sing about love, that perennial pop song obsession.
There was his great romantic loves. My Valentine was inspired by and dedicated to his wife Nancy in the audience.
And a couple of songs later, Maybe I’m Amazed which he wrote for his late wife Linda got a false start of wrong notes and words before this rock god decided to embrace his fallibility and declare it a trainwreck.
“I could consider it was a rewrite but I’m going to start again,” he said to huge cheers.
Can’t Buy Me Love, Love Me Do, All My Loving, And I Love Her underscored the theme.
The enduring beauty of Something, for George Harrison, and Yesterday, the poignancy of Hey Jude and Eleanor Rigby and rock’n’roll grandeur of Live And Let Die and Back In The USSR, he was superb whether plucking heart strings or rocking out.
Blackbird was a sublime moment, just McCartney on acoustic guitar, deftly plucked its distinctive melody as the sold out crowd of 15,000 DisciPauls sang along to this song of solidarity.
And the epic majesty of A Day In The Life, mashed up with Give Peace A Chance, followed soon after by the three songs in one Band On The Run served as a reminder of the ambition of his songwriting and musical vision through the Beatles and beyond.
The show wasn’t just one classic song after another.
The perennial performer knows the value of a great story and he has a lifetime of them. The time Jimi Hendrix played Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band to open his own show just two nights after the album came out.
The story behind In Spite Of All The Danger, the first song they recorded as the Quarrymen.
The musical conversation of Here Today, written for his mate John Lennon after his death.
Or singing Strangers In The Night to dolphins frolicking with McCartney and his family in Perth.
Often watching the crowd was almost as hypnotic as witnessing McCartney sing and play with effortless agility and unmistakeable joy.
Although it was tough to summon the love for Mull of Kintyre, even with a local piper band joining McCartney on stage during the encore.
From nine-year-old Harry, who got a birthday shout out from the Beatle legend, to those well into their 70s and 80s, there were beaming faces, bemused faces (during the Kanye and Rihanna number) and others stretched by the effort of singing along at the top of their lungs.
There are many fans who would have seen the 75-year-old rock great on this long-awaited tour thinking it might be his last here.
Let’s hope he takes Bruce Springsteen’s lead and books another run next year.
In the meantime, try to get a ticket for the final Sydney show tonight. It is the show of a lifetime.
From paulmccartney.com, For Whom The Bell Tells, January 19, 2018:
Sydney (show day) – Monday 11th December
Today our rock royalty is joined by Australian musical royalty, in the form of the princess of pop.“I’m here as a big fan and admirer tonight,” Kylie Minogue tells me backstage, minutes before she greets Paul ahead of his first of two shows in Sydney. “Having Paul, Sir Paul, in Australia is incredible. All of Australia wants to see him; half of them can’t get a ticket! My parents came to see the show last week and they loved it and I get to see it tonight. The chance for Australians to see Paul on stage singing songs that they know and love and mean so much to them is a beautiful thing and I hope he feels all the love.”
When asked if there is anything in particular she is looking forward to hearing, she says without hesitation: “’Blackbird’ … and ‘Blackbird’. I absolutely love it. It’s so emotional and if I’m feeling teary that would actually help me release a tear…but gosh where to start? So many amazing songs and so much history and to know he is still performing and loving performing, that’s inspiring to me as an artist as a performer; that if you’ve got great songs and if you’ve got that connection with your audience you can potentially keep going as long as you want. He’s a living legend and so it’s great to be in his presence and to be able to see him perform.”
It’s clear that this view is shared by the sold-out audience in Sydney’s Qudos Bank Arena as well as all of those who have seen the show in the last ten days. I keep wondering to myself if any of the people in the audience have memories of Paul’s first trip and his only visit with The Beatles when they toured Australia back in June 1964. They had struck a deal almost a year earlier when the band were still very much on the rise. Australian promoter Kenn Brodziak had visited London in 1963 and was handed a list of bands by an agent, eventually booking the Fab Four merely on the strength of a vague recognition of their name. By the time they actually arrived, Beatlemania had swept swathes of the planet and they were met by tens of thousands of people during their travels. The huge rise in popularity also enabled Brian Epstein – the band’s manager – to push up their original £1,500 a week fee to £2,500 each week. It was a breakneck schedule for the band (minus Ringo who was suffering from tonsillitis and had to be replaced on drums by Jimmy Nicol) with gigs in Adelaide, Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney – at the rate of two shows a night!
They also squeezed in a visit to New Zealand back then, and anticipation is growing there once again. “Paul McCartney wows Australia before heading here,” declares the New Zealand Herald today, with a significant roundup of the magical ‘One On One’ reviews that have been running this week. A few days ago Paul had joked that his shows this week’s are a trial run for the New Zealand leg by declaring: “We’re practising on the Aussies, getting up to speed.” The newspaper declares that it certainly sounds like the practice is paying off!
From Blue Mountains Gazette, December 18, 2017:
Blue Mountains teenager Lachlan Wiggins had the experience of a lifetime in December when he performed on stage with Sir Paul McCartney. On Monday and Tuesday night, December 11-12, Lachlan walked on stage as part of the Governor Macquarie Memorial Pipe Band to back up McCartney on his hit single, Mull of Kintyre.
“Walking out on stage [at Qudos Bank Arena] was insane,” said the 17-year-old from Springwood and Hazelbrook. “The nerves were rushing through me but when I got on stage I had the biggest smile on my face. It was the best gig I’ve ever done in my life.” Lachlan also performed on stage with John Farnham in December but said playing with the former Beatle was in a league of its own. “We got a loud reaction from the John Farnham concerts but this was 10 times louder,” he said. […]
Musical director of the band (which many will remember under its previous name, Hawkesbury Nepean Valley Pipe Band), Barry Gray, said it was a wonderful experience. A former Beatles fan himself, he first met Paul in 1993 when he played on Mull of Kintyre with Paul’s tour then. “I was starstruck – I’m not sure if anything came out of my mouth at all, but he was very easygoing,” he said.
Last updated on March 22, 2021
Setlist for the concert