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This was the last concert of the Australia / New Zealand leg of the “One On One” tour, and the final concert of the tour as well.
From Review: Paul McCartney’s ‘profound’ Auckland concert – NZ Herald, December 17, 2017:
That was profound. For all the insane facts and stats on Sir Paul McCartney and you can take your pick: 18 Grammys, songwriter of over 30 different US/UK #1 hits, total record sales in-excess of one billion, the most successful pop songwriter of all time etc., it ultimately all comes down to how those songs make you feel.
And for me and 30,000 other Kiwis Saturday night at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland, there were no less than 40 songs and exponentially more moments to make you feel.
Like the feeling when a raucous Back In The USSR ended and was replaced by McCartney at his trademark rainbow-coloured piano hitting the opening notes to the greatest secular gospel song there ever was, Let It Be. Somehow the fact we’ve heard this song a million times gets forgotten when the man who wrote it is before you and hitting those keys with the soulful conviction of Ray Charles and the melodic chops of Burt Bacharach.
Let It Be was as deeply moving in Auckland in 2017 as it would’ve been in Australia a week ago, in Japan 25 years ago and on any set of speakers you could find in any home in the world when it came out almost 50 years ago.
“And when the night is cloudy, there is still a light that shines on me, shine until tomorrow, let it be.”
Geez Macca, you floored me. Songs like this are so ubiquitous it’s hard to imagine a time on this planet when they didn’t exist. And yet once there was a Planet Earth with no Hey Jude, no Band On The Run, no Love Me Do and no Mull Of Kintyre.
I feel like I’ve spent my whole life defending my love of Mull Of Kintyre, like I’m somehow meant to be embarrassed for digging a bagpipe-heavy pop song with similar cadences and structure to Amazing Grace. And then you see it live by the 75-year old living legend who created it (with assistance Saturday night from the Auckland & District Pipe Band) and you find yourself with hairs on the back of your neck and raising your hands skyward like you’ve stumbled into some Hillsong event. More to the point, you see everybody else reacting in much the same way too.
Profound. Profoundly fun too. Like when a collective bouncing boogie enveloped the crowd during the third song of the night, Can’t Buy Me Love. Or when Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da got the baby boomers and their (adult) kids dancing in the aisles. Or when Love Me Do reminded you that short of the Jackson 5’s I Want You Back, this might just be the coolest, most assured debut single by a major act in music history.
There was a point in Saturday night’s three-hour concert when I wondered if New Zealand audiences have ever been treated to a superior 30-40-minute run of songs. Specifically, from about 10:15pm to 10:55pm, McCartney rattled off Something (in tribute to George Harrison), A Day In The Life, Give Peace A Chance (honouring John Lennon), Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da, Band On the Run, Let It Be, Live And Let Die (complete with dancing fireworks) and Hey Jude. It felt like those na-na-nas could’ve gone all night and we wouldn’t have minded. […]
There was an instant during the always gorgeous Blackbird when it was just McCartney and his acoustic guitar. Looking at him as a dot on the stage and then turning my eyes to the big screens, it hit me that the shape and silhouette of Sir Paul McCartney in the stage lights was just the same as it’s been for all of my life. The shoulder-length hair, the lean legs and torso, even the way his guitar hangs on his frame, it’s an unmistakable image of one of the most important figures of the 20th century and it somehow doesn’t change with the passing of the years. Those of us who knew that missing Saturday night was simply not an option are unlikely to forget it anytime soon.
From paulmccartney.com, For Whom The Bell Tells, January 19, 2018:
Thursday 14th December:
New Zealand is awash with rumours this morning about Paul’s arrival last night and the media are trying to guess where he might be. In the afternoon Paul posts a message to his social media channels announcing his excitement at being back. “Hey there, so I finally got to New Zealand, wow, it’s been a little while. It’s beautiful, look at that!” He said whilst gesturing towards the ocean.
During a radio interview with Newstalk ZB’s breakfast host Mike Hosking, Paul eventually puts all the guesswork to bed and explains that he has been enjoying a little quiet time in Hawkes Bay to prepare for his Auckland show at the Mount Smart Stadium. During his chat with Mike, he also discusses the way he chooses what songs he should put into the set – something which is a constant source of intrigue for fans and journalists wherever he plays.
“What I do is, I actually sit down before the tour and just think, if I was going to the show what would I want to see? What would I want to have happen? And there’s certain songs that I would think, oh yeah. I’d want to see that, I’d want him to do that, I’d want the band to play that. So those kind of start the list and then you go down from there – and you think, well what would I personally like to play for people and what else would I like to fill it out with and what new numbers would I like to play and what unusual numbers would I like to play? In the end, of course, a lot of it is for the audience, the songs they know the best, really. Unless they’re young. The young crowd know the more contemporary things like ‘Four Five Seconds’; some of the older people don’t know those, they like the Beatles stuff, so we do a mix. And you know, I’m trying to make the crowd happy, because I don’t want them going away thinking well, that wasn’t worth it!”
Paul also points out there is a strange familiarity to the landscape he has seen so far during his trip to NZ: “For me it’s got echoes of the British Isles really, the countryside where I’m looking out the window at this fantastic view. For me, it almost could be Scotland.”
Paul also took time to chat with alternative radio station Harauki – for their breakfast show with cheeky hosts Matt and Jerry. The guys had been joking in the weeks leading up to Paul’s visit that they’d get an interview with the main man but never thought it would actually happen.
Auckland (show day) – Saturday 16th December:
At last the show day rolls around. It’s the last show of 2017 – another remarkable year for all of us with memories we’ll share for life. The crew are indelibly bonded by the incredible experiences we are all part of. Tokyo, although only 7 months ago, feels like a lifetime ago. So much has happened this year and we all have our individual high points of the year. Today though, we are all focused on doing our best work to end the year on a massive high. The last few weeks have just been awesome.
At sound check today our PM is joined by New Zealand’s PM. Newly elected Jacinda Ardern, 37, rocks out in the afternoon sunshine.
As befits such a special occasion there are some other notables in the audience later in the day – Oscar-winning Lord Of The Rings/Hobbit director Peter Jackson and Crowded House’s Neil Finn, a long-time fan. And those carefully crafted greetings to suit the local crowd are in evidence once again tonight as Paul declares: “Good evening Auckland. Kia ora tena koutou katoa.”
The reviews are wonderful – The Herald On Sunday says: “Paul McCartney led a thoroughly captivated audience though a magical mystery tour of his greatest hits.” And Stuff says:“Striding on stage at Mt Smart Stadium without a word, but instead a salute, McCartney launched into a note perfect ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ that set the scene for the marathon gig to come. It was an apt choice: it’s hard to recall an artist who worked so hard to give his audience value.”
Sunday 17th December – Time to go home…
As a parting message to New Zealand Paul posted a private moment from his time there – resulting in the following coverage in local media:
Superstar and activist Sir Paul McCartney has won our hearts again with his latest post on social media. The short video shows the musician in New Zealand’s Hawkes Bay, rescuing a brown kiwi.
McCartney is shown admiring the bird, native to New Zealand, saying: “Lovely little kiwi… we’re saving you”
He appears to be accompanied by wildlife restoration project Cape Sanctuary, who work to rescue and rehabilitate wildlife. Currently, kiwi are seeing a population decline of 1,400 each year due to predators. Additionally, four out of every five native birds in New Zealand are at risk of extinction.
And so, with that Paul wraps up the latest leg of his globetrotting and seemingly never-ending series of shows. I – and millions of fans – can only look forward to the next batch!
Paul McCartney took the opportunity of being in New Zealand to meet with Peter Jackson, the filmmaker, who had recently received the rushes from the “Get Back / Let It Be” sessions from January 1969. From Vanity Fair, June 17, 2021:
When Jackson went backstage at a Paul McCartney concert in Auckland, New Zealand, in 2017, he was surprised to find McCartney nervous to meet him, concerned with what Jackson had found in the footage. “I could see on his face he was imagining the worst,” says the director. “I just said to him, ‘Look, I’ve got to say, it surprised the hell out of me because I was expecting it to be a miserable experience for you. I expected to have to witness a rather bleak moment—but it’s actually the exact opposite. It’s incredibly funny. It’s incredibly lively. It shows you guys having a great time.’
“And he couldn’t believe it,” says Jackson. “He said, ‘What? What? Really? Really?’ And it certainly surprised him. Because he has never seen this stuff, even though he lived through it. It’s a long time ago, and subsequent events, I think, just muddied the whole memory of this thing.”
Having McCartney onboard (as well as the other Beatles or right owners), Peter Jackson would work the next three years on the “The Beatles: Get Back” movie, released in November 2021.
Last updated on June 18, 2021
Mt Smart Stadium
This was the 1st and only concert played at Mt Smart Stadium.
Setlist for the soundcheck
Setlist for the concert