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From RollingStone, July 14, 2019:
Paul McCartney reunited with Ringo Starr to perform two Beatles classics during the bassist’s concert at Los Angeles’ Dodger Stadium on Saturday night.
“We’ve got a surprise for us, a surprise for you, a surprise for everyone: Ladies and gentlemen, the one and only, Ringo Starr,” McCartney said introducing his former band mate to a rapturous Dodger Stadium crowd.
After a quick embrace – “I love you, man,” McCartney told Starr both before and after the reunion – the drummer stepped behind the kit as McCartney and his band launched into the minute-long “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise).” McCartney and Starr also joined forces to perform “Helter Skelter” off “The White Album.”
Starr then thanked the audience and McCartney, who saluted Starr with the drummer’s trademark “Peace and Love,” before exiting the stage.
However, McCartney had one more guest in store for the Dodger Stadium gig: Eagles guitarist – and Starr’s brother-in-law – Joe Walsh came onstage midway through Abbey Road‘s classic closing medley to join in on the guitar solos on the Beatles’ “The End.”
“The best part is we didn’t have a clue what we were doing,” McCartney quipped to the crowd soon after the surprise Walsh appearance.
Just the other night we finished our tour in Los Angeles and Ringo got up and we were doing ‘Helter Skelter’ together, and when I wasn’t on the mic, in the solo breaks and stuff, I really made a point of turning round and watching this guy drum. And thinking, ‘My god, you know, the memories across this ten-yard gap here,’ with him on the drums and me on the bass. The lifetime that’s going on here, and here he is! And I was just listening to him during that song. I was doing my performance basically [he sings] When I get to the Bottom I go back to the top — as I’m doing that bit, there’s normally just the guitars sort of playing, but Ringo did what’s on record” — McCartney sings the drum part to demonstrate — “building. So I’m going, ‘Oh yeah, great.’ So, you know, it’s a sort of magic.Paul McCartney, from the Flaming Pie Archive Collection, 2020
From Variety, July 14, 2019:
[…] Although Starr did not close this reunion by announcing “I’ve got blisters on my fingers!,” as he did the recorded version, he still helped bring the thunder of the original to McCartney’s encore, bearing a big grin as he sat in alongside regular tour drummer Abraham Laboriel for the two numbers.
A few fans might have put two-and-two together before the encore: Ringo and his wife Barbara Bach had spent much of the nearly three-hour show in a VIP section midway back on the floor by the soundboard, and when they made an early midway through, spotters were hoping it wasn’t just to beat the Dodger Stadium exit traffic.
McCartney had just finished the first number of the encore, “Birthday” (worth noting: Starr’s was on July 7), when he announced “a surprise for us, a surprise for you, a surprise for everyone — ladies and gentlemen, the one and only Ringo Starr. … Are you ready to rock?”
“Ready to rock,” the guest confirmed. “Peace and love, everybody. (They’re) bringing out me drums,” he pointed out, as a set was wheeled out behind him, lest the appearance having been spoiled by putting a second kit in place any earlier.
McCartney didn’t have to deviate from his regular set list to accommodate his old cohort, as both numbers have been regularly scheduled parts of his tour. During “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise),” after singing “We’d like to thank you once again,” McCartney turned his head Starr’s way and threw in a spoken “thank you.” Giddy-making as it was, fans were hoping this wouldn’t be the sum total of Starr’s appearance: the “Pepper” reprise lasts just a few seconds over a minute. It wasn’t: Starr grinned even more widely as McCartney’s guitarists revved up the anticipatory opening riff of “Helter Skelter,” the heaviest number in the Beatles’ catalog.
Taking center stage again for a hug afterward, Starr said, “No, thank you, Paul. It’s been a thrill for me, and I’ve had a lovely night, and it’s a great show, and I love you, man.” “And I love you, man,” McCartney said, adding Ringo’s catchphrase: “Peace and love, Ringo — forever.”
In a playful moment, Starr chucked his sticks into the audience and then grabbed at his bass as if he were going to chuck that into the crowd, too. As fans know, one of McCartney’s signature pantomimes during his shows is that he’s going to toss his beloved Hofner bass in the crowd. McCartney seemed to be caught off guard by Ringo grabbing at it and threatening to do the same, but he clearly relished the gag. […]
The performance of “Helter Skelter” played by Paul McCartney & Ringo Starr has been broadcast as part of the Ringo’s Big Birthday Show, to celebrate Ringo’s 80th birthday.
Farewell to you guys. Farewell to America. Only one thing left to be said: we’ll see you next time.Paul McCartney
From paulmccartney.com, August 9, 2019:
“How are you doing in the sun, you lot…”
On a scorching, cloudless L.A. day, Paul expressed his concern for the handful of folks exposed to the sun in the sprawling Dodger Stadium. The tailgaters must have kept well hydrated and slathered in SPF 50, as Dodgers would soon be packed with nearly 60,000 of the most enthusiastic, loudest singing fans Paul had encountered in his long and winding relationship with Los Angeles—one that features such touchstones as The Beatles’ historic 1966 Dodger Stadium show and Paul’s 2014 return to headline the same venue, The Beatles’ 1964 and 1965 shows at the Hollywood Bowl immortalized in the eponymous live album and Paul’s 2010 return to the Bowl for two nights on the Up and Coming Tour, Wings’ three-night L.A. area debut at The Forum in 1976, Paul’s pair of shows at the Staples Center in 2005 (the same arena where Paul has performed at the GRAMMY Awards alongside the likes of Dave Grohl, Bruce Springsteen, Rihanna, Kanye West, Joe Walsh, and of course Ringo)… to name a few (lest we forget, Paul’s had a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame since 2012… but I digress).
As the sun began its descent and the clear blue sky deepened—and the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio, Emma Stone, Jason Sudeikis and Olivia Wilde, Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins, Pierce Brosnan and various other L.A. bold face names stealthily slipped into their seats—it would soon be time for Paul to return to the stage at the same stadium where The Beatles played their second to last live concert.
Any and every Paul McCartney show is a singular experience, a once (or if you’re fortunate a few times) in a lifetime nearly three hours and three-dozen-plus songs worth of musical memories—memories of the past and the ones created in real time during the show. This night at Dodger Stadium may well have been one of those magical nights where the latter outweighed the former. Something ineffable was in the air, something that kept building without letting up for a millisecond. Magical is no exaggeration, moreover it’s the only way to explain what happens on a night like this: Paul’s vocals soaring up through and out of the stadium and into the surrounding Elysian Park, in perfect sync with the band firing on all cylinders, every note ratcheting up the chemistry between the music and the people on stage and everywhere from the first few rows to the dizzying highest tiers of the cavernous bowl… It’s impossible to do justice with the written word—music is its own language after all, and Paul’s music is the most beloved dialect of all—and even Paul and the band would be hard pressed to isolate the X factor that catalyzes a show like this one.
As impossible as it is to divine the source of the first two hours or so of musical magic throughout the first two hours or so of Paul’s third visit to Dodger Stadium, it was much clearer what made the night’s encore beyond unforgettable:
“OK… Now we’ve got a surprise for us, a surprise for you, a surprise for everyone. Ladies and gentlemen… the one and only… Ringo Starr!”
“Ready to rock! Peace and love, everybody!”
“Alright brother! I love you, man!”
The applause levels went beyond deafening to a mix of high pitched teenager-esque screams and full throated roars, Ringo took his place behind his own Ludwig kit, and the closest possible thing on this Earth to a Beatles reunion tore into ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise).’ Nearly 60,000 voices sang along in sheer elation, blissfully echoing Paul’s “We thank you!” through smiles, laughter and tears of joy.
But there was more where that came from, as Ringo stayed on his kit for a journey from Sgt. Pepper…to The Beatles aka “The White Album”, as he and Paul formed the nucleus of a shredding rendition of ‘Helter Skelter’ (At press time, there was no confirmation as to whether or not Ringo had blisters on his fingers at the end of this performance).
As if that wasn’t enough, minutes after ‘Golden Slumbers’ signaled the coming close of Freshen Up 2019, there was time to squeeze in one more mind-blower… in the form of the legendary Joe Walsh joining the guitar army (guitarmy?) of Paul, Rusty and Brian for expanding the guitar duel of ‘The End’ into a four-way volley. “We didn’t have a clue what we were doing,” Paul quipped at the end of ‘The End’… Whether or not he and Joe and the band knew what they were doing, it worked on everyone in attendance…
… as did virtually every minute of the show—but if you still don’t take my word for it or, more likely, you’re tired of me repeating myself, have a quick look at what the attending media had to say:
“Definitely we’re amazed by Paul McCartney’s Blowout Dodger Stadium Show… The almost three-hour set made fans feel like they were living in the ’70s”—VARIETY
“One of McCartney’s most energized performances”—LOS ANGELES TIMES
“An epic, three-hour concert…”—BILLBOARD
“Magical… took the more than 50,000 fans on a journey only he can at this point in time… Watching more than 50,000 fans sings the ‘Na-na-na’ refrain in ‘Hey Jude’ is the most spine-tingling moment you will likely ever experience at a show.”—FORBES
“Wow. After several decades now of writing about music and facing the perpetual challenge of translating what is beyond words into understandable language, that’s the best I can muster.”—AMERICAN SONGWRITER
“It was glorious.”—OC REGISTER
“McCartney poured his heart out, allowing everyone in that stadium to feel as if we were the only person he was singing to. That is the magic of Paul McCartney and that is why there is no one like him.”—L.A. RECORDBy Paul’s publicist, Steve Martin
Last updated on August 10, 2020
This was the 1st and only concert played at Dodgers Stadium.
Setlist for the concert