McCartney’s stopped at San Diego's Petco Park on June 22nd on his latest "Freshen Up" tour.
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Photos and words by Alex Kluft

When it comes to music, no band has impacted the industry or had the widespread success that the Beatles had. John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr only toured together from 1962-1966, and in one decade released twelve studio albums. After the Beatles Broke up in 1970, Paul McCartney became a solo artist until 1971 when he started a new band known as Wings, which had great success and a number of hit singles. After a decade with Wings, McCartney returned as a solo artist, which he has been to this day. McCartney has achieved many honors and has received numerous awards including being knighted by Queen Elizabeth II, he has won a total of 18 Grammys, was Musicares Person of the Year, is a Kennedy Center Honoree, and is a two-time Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame inductee. To top that off, McCartney has written/co-written 32 number one singles and is one of very few artists to become a billionaire.

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McCartney’s stopped at San Diego Padres’ home Petco Park on June 22nd on his latest tour, Freshen Up. McCartney is one of the few artists that can play stadium shows every time they tour, and it comes as no surprise considering how popular his music is after over five decades. This is the type of show where you see families of multiple generations in attendence, including grandparents that saw the Beatles over 50 years ago, taking their grandkids to see McCartney. McCartney’s touring and recording band of Brian Ray (Guitar/Bass), Abe Laboriel Jr. (Drums), Rusty Anderson, and his keyboardist of 30 years Paul “Wix” Wickens, has actually been his longest running band. McCartney turned 77 just four days before the show, but age doesn’t mean anything to McCartney, as he plays a staggering 38 songs over 3 hours to a crowd of 40,000+ people a night.

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McCartney opened the show with “A Hard Day’s Night,” kept the energy up with “Junior’s Farm,” and continued with “Can’t Buy Me Love.” McCartney slowed it down with Wings’ “Let ‘Em In,” and “My Valentine,” which he wrote for his wife Nancy Shevell. For this part of the show McCartney was playing piano and switched back to bass after “Maybe I’m Amazed,” written for his first wife Linda McCartney, as a tribute to her legacy. A personal favorite part of the show is when McCartney takes the audience back to the pre-Beatles days at the Cavern Club when he played along with Lennon and Harrison at the Quarrymen for “In Spite of All Danger.” McCartney and his band all play closely together and Wix plays harmonica and Laboriel Jr. plays on a more cocktail style drumset as the screens on stage move around to look like an old shack. McCartney’s intimate set continued with “From Me To You,” “Dance Tonight,” and “Love Me Do.”

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The next portion of the show featured McCartney alone onstage as he played an acoustic version of “Blackbird,” to a rising stage. He shared the story of how the song was written during the U.S. the Civil Rights Movement was rising and it was meant to give those in the south hope. McCartney stayed on the rising stage as he paid tribute to his songwriting partner and band-mate John Lennon with “Here Today,” a song that is about a conversation the two never got to have. McCartney then changed the vibe and played more joyful songs with “Queenie Eye” and “Lady Madonna,” before lunging into “Eleanor Rigby.”

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The show spanned songs from his entire career including his latest album Egypt Station.From that he played “Who Cares,” “Come On to Me,” “Fuh You.” Egypt Stationwas McCartney’s first album to reach number one in 36 years and first to debut at the top of the Billboard 200. When McCartney performed “Something,” he started it off playing on a ukulele that Harrison gave him. He then stoked the crowd by playing “Ob-La-Di-Ob-La-Da,” “Band On the Run,” and “Back In the USSR.” He also played one last song on piano “Hey Jude,” which he always has the men and woman in the crowd trade off singing the chorus.

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After already playing 32 songs, McCartney returned for an encore starting with “Birthday.” After “Helter Skelter,” McCartney finished the show with his usual closing songs of “Golden Slumbers,” “Carry That Weight,” and “The End,” which are the final tracks on Abbey Road. McCartney’s tour concluded July 13th at Dodger Stadium, which is where the Beatles played their second to last ever concert. It was August 28th,1966 when they played there, which was just the night before their final concert that took place at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, CA.

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Setlist: 

1. A Hard Day’s Night- The Beatles

2. Junior’s Farm- Wings

3. Can’t Buy Me Love- The Beatles

4. Letting Go- Wings

5. Who Cares

6. Got to Get You Into My Life- The Beatles

7. Come On to Me

8. Let Me Roll It- Wings

9. I’ve Got a Feeling- The Beatles

10. Let ‘Em In- Wings

11. My Valentine

12. Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five- Wings

13. Maybe I’m Amazed

14. I’ve Just Seen a Face- The Beatles

15. In Spite of All the Danger- The Quarrymen

16. From Me To You- The Beatles

17. Dance Tonight

18. Love Me Do- The Beatles

19. Blackbird- The Beatles

20. Here Today

21. Queenie Eye

22. Lady Madonna- The Beatles

23. Eleanor Rigby- The Beatles

24. Fuh You

25. Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!- The Beatles

26. Something- The Beatles

27. Ob-La-Di-Ob-La-Da- The Beatles

28. Band On The Run- Wings

29. Back In The USSR- The Beatles

30. Let It Be- The Beatles

31. Live and Let Die- Wings

32. Hey Jude- The Beatles

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Encore

33. Birthday

34. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)- The Beatles

34. Helter Skelter- The Beatles

35. Golden Slumbers- The Beatles

37. Carry That Weight- The Beatles

38. The End- The Beatles