McCartney’s Lolla Debut a Smash Hit

Chalk up another one for Sir Paul McCartney, former Beatle, Wingsman and prolific solo artist to this day.

McCartney opened with “Magical Mystery Tour,” then licked a finger and held it up to gauge and engage the “Lollapaloozans.” “Hot,” he concluded with a smile.

Still boyish and charismatic at 73, McCartney kept an energetic pace for over two hours, briskly moving from keyboards to bass and a variety of guitars. His voice carried the ascending notes of “Maybe I’m Amazed” with ease. And fifty years into a career, how many rock stars can look out into an audience that includes screaming teenage girls?

McCartney’s longtime, stellar band members were with him every step of the way, displaying their creativity while remaining faithful to solo parts that older fans know as well as they do the lyrics in songs like “Band on the Run” and “Helter Skelter.”

The band included an instrumental “Foxy Lady” tribute to Jimi Hendrix, which made me wish for just a chorus of “Sweet Home Chicago,” given the impact our city’s blues tradition on McCartney and company.

Highlights? Take your pick: George Harrison’s “Something,” featuring ukulele. “Blackbird,” on acoustic guitar, inspired by those who struggle for Civil Rights. “Back in the USSR,” with anecdotes from the Beatles’ historic visit to Moscow’s Red Square. “Live and Let Die” punctuated with fireworks! A “Hey Jude” sing-along. All part of a rare night under a blue moon at Grant Park. How do you top that?

McCartney welcomed Alabama Shakes’ Brittany Howard to join him in a rousing “Get Back” as part of the encore.

And the “Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End” medley became the grand finale. “And in the end, the love you make is equal to the love you take.” There was plenty of that going around. Truly a love fest to cap the start of Lollapalooza 2015.

More from Leslie Witt
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