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What to expect when Sir Paul McCartney makes his local debut at Spokane Arena on Thursday

UPDATED: Mon., April 25, 2022

It seemed like just yesterday when tickets for Paul McCartney’s Got Back tour opener, which is slated for Thursday at Spokane Arena, went on sale. Time has moved as quickly as tickets for the sold-out show, which will be McCartney’s local debut.

There is only one tour opener, and Spokane will be the first to experience what the former Fab Four member delivers on his spring tour.

McCartney, 79, typically kicks off his shows with a Beatles classic. “A Hard Day’s Night” has been the leadoff song since 2015. Prior to that, it was another Beatles hit, “Eight Days a Week. “Hello Goodbye” was also a concert opener.

Odds are that McCartney will dust off a popular Beatles song that hasn’t been played often live as the initial track. “Hey Jude,” “Let It Be” and “Yesterday” are locks from the Beatles catalog.

“Jet,” “Band on the Run” and “Live and Let Die” are no doubt abouters from the Wings canon. “Back in the USSR” is the fifth-most-played song on McCartney tours, but those betting the under as in less than zero will win that wager.

New wrinkles are always welcome. In 2002, McCartney surprised fans by delivering “She’s Leaving Home.” Occasionally, he’ll add a John Lennon-crafted Beatles song such as “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!”

Prepare for a three-hour show and a nearly 40-song set from McCartney, who has incredible stamina for a bloke who is just over a month from becoming an octogenarian.

McCartney’s band, which has been playing with him since just after the turn of the century, is a tight unit. Guitarist Rusty Anderson and playful drummer Abe Laboriel Jr. have backed McCartney since 2001, and guitarist-bassist Brian Ray, along with keyboardist Wix Wickens, who has been on the road with McCartney since 1989, is terrific.

The concert will be an incredible sonic experience since McCartney’s canon is vast.

While waiting for McCartney’s Out There! show to commence at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia in 2015, I was listening to the array of hits played on the PA a half-hour before the show. It was one McCartney hit after another. There was “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey,” “Let ’Em In” and “Coming Up.”

It struck me that those songs, each of which peaked in the top three of the U.S. charts, would not be played since they’re part of the preshow loop. I don’t ever recall an artist’s material being played for a sustained period prior to a concert.

McCartney’s Beatles, Wings and solo catalog is bottomless. There are so many classics that McCartney can turn to that he hasn’t played in nearly a half century.

My request, which hasn’t been played since McCartney’s days with Wings, is “Silly Love Songs.” The catchy track was McCartney’s 27th No.1 as a songwriter. “Silly Love Songs,” which was crafted as a rebuttal to music critics who lambasted the icon for writing lightweight romantic tunes, was the soundtrack to my summer of 1976.

The sturdy basslines, lovely harmonies and simple message left such an impression on my prepubescent self. “Silly Love Songs” was last played live 46 years ago.

McCartney is an exceptional bassist, a songwriter without parallel, and he possesses a staggering range. If you haven’t caught McCartney but failed to land a ticket, keep trying. It’ll be worth the expense and effort. To quote McCartney: “In the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.”

McCartney deserves an incomprehensible amount of love since he gave more to the Beatles than his bandmates gave him in return. McCartney also gave more to the world of pop music and rock and roll than any musician since his legendary band changed the world in 1964.

Sure, McCartney has a ridiculous amount of hits, but his impact is about more than the charts. The adventurous and innovative Beatle has never stopped evolving and taking chances.

Unfortunately, McCartney will not be around forever. The Spokane Arena show is sold out, and the secondary market tickets are expensive – but when will you ever have a chance to catch Sir Paul in Spokane again?

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