Top 10 Moments From Paul McCartney’s #GotBack Tour

Macca and band will be on the road through June 2022

Macca on the ukulele (Image: Gillian G. Gaar)

Paul McCartney has finally #GotBack to where he once belonged — onstage in front of an adoring crowd.

His most recent tour opened April 28 in Spokane, Washington, and continues through the summer. And it’s likely that future legs will follow. Here’s some of what you can expect from the nearly three hour show:

 

1. The Elvis-Style Beginning

After an opening set by a live DJ, a pictorial history of McCartney scrolls by on the screens at either side of the stage. The final image is of his trademark Hofner Violin “Beatle bass,” displayed as you hear the final crescendo of “A Day in the Life,” building up to that apocalyptic piano chord that comes crashing in at the end. But wait — that’s followed by the last lines of “The End,” from one of Abbey Road’s medleys: “And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.” It’s the kind of majestic moment that brings to mind Elvis Presley’s entrance music during his 1970s shows, when he took the stage to the strains of Richard Strauss’ “Also Sprach Zarathustra.” 

 

2. The Real Horn Section

McCartney’s musical director, Paul “Wix” Wickens, can easily conjure up the sound of a veritable orchestra of brass instruments on his multi-faceted keyboards. Ah, but there’s nothing like the real thing, and it’s especially invigorating to hear actual horns kick off “Got to Get You Into My Life.” Meet the Hot City Horns — Mike Davis (trumpet), Kenji Fenton (saxes) and Paul Burton (trombone) — who bring some additional swing (and sharp dance moves) to the show.

 

3. The Jimi Hendrix Jam

The coda of “Let Me Roll It” gives the band the chance to inject a little heaviness into the proceedings, as they spiral off into a jam based on Jimi Hendrix’s classic “Foxey Lady” riff. 

 

4. The Quarrymen Original

McCartney unearths one of the earliest originals from the budding Beatles, then known as the Quarrymen; “In Spite of All the Danger.” It’s a rare McCartney/Harrison co-write, and rather obviously influenced by Elvis Presley’s “Trying to Get to You.” You can find the 1958 recording on Anthology 1.

 

5. Paul Plays the Mandolin

Not only does he play electric guitar, acoustic guitar, bass, and piano — multi-instrumentalist McCartney also shows off his mandolin skills on “Dance Tonight,” the bright, upbeat number that opens his Memory Almost Full album. And yes, it gets the crowd dancing.

McCartney and band rally the crowd for peace (Image: Gillian G. Gaar)

6. The “Blackbird” Rising

McCartney sends the band offstage, then stands on a platform that rises in the air, the screen behind him displaying a starry sky, a full moon, and birds in flight; a perfectly picturesque backdrop for this acoustic number.

 

7. Paul Plays The Ukulele

And another instrumental treat, as McCartney picks up a uke (given to him by George Harrison, we are told), and pays tribute to his fellow Fab with a heartfelt rendition of Harrison’s “Something.”

 

8. A Little More of Get Back

The rolling drum intro of “Get Back” always gets your pulse pounding. But this time, the lively number is accompanied by more footage from The Beatles: Get Back, creating a surreal moment as a 27-year-old celluloid Paul essentially backs his live 79-year-old self. And in the encore, more Get Back footage allows McCartney to duet with John Lennon on “I’ve Got a Feeling.”

Macca at the piano (Image: Gillian G. Gaar)

9. The Explosive “Live and Let Die”

This James Bond theme song was always better suited to live performance, and there’s no better way to prompt the roar of the crowd than by setting off fireballs and fireworks, a special effect the audience never tires of.

 

10. The “Helter Skelter” Visuals

The backing film for “Helter Skelter” appears to drop you in the midst of a video game that looks like it’s set in an industrial warehouse. Look right in the center of the screen for that motion simulator effect; you’ll feel like you’re on a real thrill ride.

 

VIDEO: #GotBack tour rehearsals 

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Gillian G. Gaar

Seattle-based writer Gillian G. Gaar covers the arts, entertainment, and travel.

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