Paul McCartney brings a marathon evening of the ‘old, new and inbetween’ to BC Place

Photo: by Ryan Johnson @rynstein | Paul McCartney at BC Place in Vancouver on July 6, 2019

The legendary Sir Paul McCartney, who needs no introduction or list of accolades, returned to Vancouver Saturday evening to play an all-McCartney, three-hour show for a packed BC Place stadium. 

Playing a whopping 38 songs that spanned Beatlemania, the Wings era and solo material?— McCartney, at 77 years old, shockingly kept the energy up for the span of the entire set. He jimmied and shook the stage, proving that he hasn’t hardened with the years. The guy still loves to perform, and he loves the music he’s had to play over and over again for decades.

McCartney was in good spirits and made the audience feel like they were on the same level. He kicked things off with the feel-good “A Hard Day’s Night,” one of many Beatles songs that included “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da,” “Got to Get You Into My Life,” “Let It Be” and “Hey Jude,” the sing-a-long favourite that closed out the main set. 

McCartney gave the many handmade signs audience members brought to the show from home some attention – including one that read “Fan on the Run,” saying that the woman holding it had been to 115 McCartney gigs, which the performer jokingly called a tad “excessive.”

As beloved as Beatles songs were, some Wings songs received keen reactions from the massive crowd as well, which was refreshing. The audience particularly ate up “Let Em’ In” and “Band on the Run.” Though some of them were catchy, songs from 2018’s Egypt Station left the crowd largely uninterested. And “My Valentine” was the unofficial beer break for concertgoers. 

A big highlight of the evening came with McCartney’s rendition of the George Harrison-penned song “Something,” which the late Beatle wrote for his then-wife Patti Boyd. McCartney pulled out a ukulele, letting the audience know that Harrison was a great ukulele player and they had once jammed the song out together on the instrument. It’s moments like these that are particularly special for those not alive during the pivotal ‘60s. Harrison’s instrumental prowess is part of his everlasting mystique, and to hear such a sweet, casual story from the mouth of one of the 60s’ other greats was something special. 

But as enjoyable as McCartney was, the show had some serious sound issues. First off, it was one of the louder shows heard at BC Place recently and feedback and muffled sound were a constant. During McCartney’s endearing in-between-song stories, words echoed back and forth across the large stadium in a highly distracting way. 

The sound issues were especially noticeable during Wings’ “Live and Let Die” – one of McCartney’s most theatrical accomplishments from his lengthy career. The track was paired with loud pops of smoke and fireworks, which seemed more cumbersome and out of sync than impressive.

But there is no doubt that everyone was really exhausted by the end of the evening, as they raced to cabs and the Skytrain. This is not all to say that people didn’t have a good time. They definitely did. But an earlier start to the show might have been a wise move.

View full photo gallery here: