The Long and Winding Road

Sir Paul McCartney flashes back to Rock & Roll High School in Arlington

Paul McCartney
Paul McCartney (by Ruth Ward)

The Dallas Cowboys’ new stadium in Arlington is large enough to house the Statue of Liberty or one gift anointed by the Queen of England: Sir Paul McCartney. Anticipating the release of Rock Band: Beatles and the Fab Four’s forthcoming reissue campaign, McCartney rolled out a two-and-a-half hour hit parade that proved all of his Liverpool schoolboy charm is still intact on the last night of his US tour.

The set selection was more of an anthology, spanning Wings (“Jet,” “Band on the Run”) his solo career (“Flaming Pie,” “Only Mama Knows”), and Fireman project, last year’s Electric Arguments’ (“Highway”). That amounted to a bit of a lull during the first half of the show, especially given the echo-chamber acoustics, but the stadium pogo of “Mrs. Vanderbilt” provided an unexpected jolt midway through. Later, “Let Me Roll It” segued into McCartney’s fiery instrumental riff on “Foxy Lady” and a story about Hendrix covering Sgt. Peppers two days after its release at a club in England and calling on Eric Clapton to tune his guitar for him – priceless.

Sir Paul paid tribute to both George Harrison – a beautiful ukulele-led rendition of “Something” – and John Lennon – the doubts still lingering in “Here Today” – though symbolism aside, the latter remains a rather bland eulogy. The real surprise of the evening was a spry cover of Buddy Holly’s “It’s so Easy,” performed with the starry-eyed enthusiasm of the ‘63 Beatles. “When we were kids back in Liverpool, one of the biggest influences on us was a man from Texas,” McCartney prefaced the selection, a noticeable lilt to his vocals throughout.

The last 90 minutes past almost too quickly. Highlights included the serene “Blackbird,” acoustic “Eleanor Rigby,” a medley of “A Day in the Life”/ Give Peace a Chance,” and the unmatchable piano trifecta of “Let It Be,” “Live and Let Die” (complete with a Super Bowl halftime fireworks display), and “Hey Jude” that closed the first set. The frantic soul & roll double shot of “Back in the U.S.S.R” and “I’m Down” was topped only in the second encore by the still-blistering hysterical madness of “Helter Skelter.” Who needs Rock Band: Beatles? McCartney still electrifies on command.

Set List: “Drive My Car” “Jet” “Only Mama Knows” “Flaming Pie” “Got To Get You into My Life” “Let Me Roll It” “Highway” “The Long and Winding Road” “My Love” “Blackbird” “Here Today” “Dance Tonight” “Calico Skies” “It’s so Easy” “Mrs. Vanderbilt” “Eleanor Rigby” “Sing the Changes” “Band on the Run” “Back In the USSR” “I’m Down” “Something” “I’ve Got a Feeling” “Paperback Writer” “A Day in the Life” / “Give Peace a Chance” “Let It Be” “Live and Let Die” “Hey Jude”

Encore: “Day Tripper” “Lady Madonna” “I Saw Her Standing There”

Second Encore: “Yesterday” “Helter Skelter” “Get Back” “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)” “The End”

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Beatles
Beatles Tribute Crowds Central Library Rooftop
Beatles Tribute Crowds Central Library Rooftop
Eggmen mark 50th anniversary of the Fab Four’s final show

Rachel Rascoe, Jan. 31, 2019

Viva Las Vegas
Viva Las Vegas
Behind the scenes of Cirque du Soleil's Viva Elvis and Love

Austin Powell, Feb. 24, 2010

More Paul McCartney
ACL Live Review: Paul McCartney
Live Shot: Paul McCartney
Listen to what the man said

Alejandra Ramirez, Oct. 13, 2018

ACL Live Review: Paul McCartney
Live Shot: Paul McCartney
Beatle stomp

Tim Stegall, Oct. 6, 2018

More by Austin Powell
SXSW Music Spotlight: Ural Thomas & the Pain
SXSW Music Spotlight: Ural Thomas & the Pain
Portland soul singer gets his second act

March 11, 2022

Spoon’s Britt Daniel confronts <I>Lucifer on the Sofa</I>
Spoon’s Britt Daniel confronts Lucifer on the Sofa
Q&A on his return to Austin and making a real rock record

Feb. 11, 2022


Beatles, Paul McCartney

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Behind the scenes at The Austin Chronicle

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle