Review – Paul McCartney One on One tour, Melbourne Australia

Walking away from AAMI Park on Tuesday night following the first Melbourne show by Sir Paul McCartney, a mix of euphoria and sadness swept over me. Euphoria from the sheer brilliance of what I had seen and the joy it brought to me and 30,000 others. Sadness at the thought I would probably never see that again.

Paul McCartney has been my favourite musician since I can remember hearing music. Not born for the Beatles, and far too young for the Wings over the World tour of 1975-6, I had to wait for the New World Tour of 1993 for my chance to experience McCartney live. I finally got to see him play at the MCG on a warm March night in 1993.

I was a student with no money and had to scrounge to get the cheapest standing room ticket available. I could barely see anything of the stage and watched the whole show on the huge TV screen. But I could hear and It was amazing. He opened with Drive My Car and closed with the now almost obligatory sing-a-long to Hey Jude. The now signature pyrotechnics during Live and Let Die scared the bejeezus out of me.

McCartney was 50 at the time and, I thought, getting very long in the tooth for being a rock star on a world tour. What I didn’t release at the time – nor anyone else who was there – was that we wouldn’t see Macca in Australia again nearly 25 years.

The One on One tour has been worth the wait. McCartney and his exceptionally good band delivered 40 songs, including many classic Beatles and Wings hits, over three hours.

This time he opened with a Hard Day’s Night – the title track to what is still probably my favourite album. The highlights included a rousing sing-along to Ob-La-Di-Ob-La-Da, a moving ukulele cover of George Harrison’s classic Something and the reprise to Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band (now 50 years old).

Paul McCartney performs A Hard Day's Night in Melbourne, Australia 5 December 2017

When I recognised the opening strains of Live and Let Die I was ready for him. I clapped my hands over my ears just in time for the ‘boom’ and then cheered the fireworks and lights with every one else and then na na nahed to Hey Jude.

In a night filled with glorious highlights, one moment stood out above all the others. And for the rest of my life I don’t think I’ll be able to hear that beautiful acoustic guitar intro to Band on the Run without getting a tear in my eye. Singing that classic with 30,000 other people created an unforgettable memory.

How could I be sad about that? There’s no hiding that Sir Paul’s voice isn’t what it once was. Sixty-odd years of singing (with plenty of screeching) has caused understandable wear and tear on the vocal chords. Nor is there any hiding that he is now 75 years old – even longer in the tooth for being a rock star on a world tour.

If he keeps to his past schedule of visiting Australia once every 20-25 years, we won’t see Paul again until he’s in his 90s. Even he is unlikely to embark on a grueling world tour at 90.  So, walking away from the stadium, the chances of feeling that euphoria again seemed very slim.

But there was at least one opportunity to experience it again. The second show wasn’t sold out. My partner and I debated, briefly, whether forking out hundreds more dollars to go back again could be justified. It could.

So it was ‘Ground-Paul’ Day on December 6 when we headed to AAMI Park for the second and final Melbourne show.

And I was so glad we did. The set list was revised slightly. For instance, Jet  – a Wings favourite – replaced Junior’s Farm and I Saw Her Standing There came into the encore set in place of Birthday. Most of the classics were still there. The Live and Let Die fireworks scared everyone who wasn’t ready for it and I cried again over Band on the Run.

Walking away from AAMI Park on Wednesday night those feelings of euphoria tinged with sadness were back again and I wondered about flights to Auckland.


One on one, back to back
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