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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

‘Thank you, Spokane’: Paul McCartney rocks a packed Arena with Beatles classics, solo tunes and a hilarious fan interaction

It’s getting better all the time now that Sir Paul McCartney has got back in our town.

Spokane will never be the same. Less than two months before reaching octogenarian status, Sir Paul has finally played Spokane. The capacity crowd at the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena roared Thursday night as McCartney kicked off his long-awaited Got Back tour with “Can’t Buy Me Love.”

“This is the first night of the tour, and I think we’re going to have a really good time,” McCartney said.


While playing his Beatles bass, McCartney launched into “Got to Get You Into My Life.”

McCartney abandoned the bass in favor of the guitar for “Let Me Roll It,” which featured a snippet of Jimi Hendrix’s “Foxy Lady.”

McCartney followed by delivering an anecdote about Hendrix covering the title track from “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” and the late guitar hero asking Eric Clapton to tune his guitar during a show in a London club in 1967.

The first big surprise followed with McCartney rendering the Beatles classic “Getting Better,” which hasn’t been played since November 2005.

McCartney dusted off “Love Me Do,” which, of course, turned into a singalong with the crowd.

“That really takes me back,” he said.

McCartney reminisced about the early days of Beatlemania and even implored, “C’mon, girls, give me a Beatles scream.”

And they did.

McCartney also dialed it back with “Blackbird” atop a raise video stage.

Amid the Black Lives Matter movement, “Blackbird” is more poignant than ever.

McCartney pulled heart strings as he followed by strumming “If You Were Here Today,” which he penned after his childhood friend and songwriting partner, John Lennon, died.

“How many people tried to learn ‘Blackbird’ and you all got it wrong,” McCartney cracked. “How do kids know it?”

“Back in the USSR,” a live staple, was cut, which was not surprising. For the encore, McCartney emerged waving the Ukrainian flag and then launched into the Beatles classic “Birthday.”

It was a gesture befitting so much of McCartney’s career – celebratory, reflective, political and revolutionary.

It was an evening of endless highlights. There was the rhythmic “Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five,” the lovely “Maybe I’m Amazed,” a love song he wrote for Linda McCartney and a favorite on the wish list for many, including Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward.

He also played the urgent “Band on the Run” and a high-octane version of “Get Back” bolstered by Peter Jackson’s amazing clips from his extraordinary film of the same name.

It was a special moment regarding the relationship McCartney had with Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr. Jackson’s “Get Back” footage enabled a Lennon-McCartney duet to happen. And then there were incendiary versions of “Birthday” and “Helter Skelter.”

“Wow, is all I can say,” McCartney said. “You’ve been a fantastic audience for our opening night.”

It was evident that fans felt the show was worth the effort to score the tickets.

Tickets to the concert were released in waves in late February. Many fans struck out. Some went to the secondary market, often having to pay hundreds of dollars above ticket price.

And then this week, new batches of tickets were released for wanting fans after the stage configuration was finalized, allowing for more seats.

The audience, primarily comprised of Baby Boomers, shrieked, danced and exulted as McCartney performed. It’s as if the Beatle legend’s classics are a sonic fountain of youth.

Speaking of defying age, McCartney looked smashing in a blue blazer and blue jeans at 79 (he turns 80 on June 18).

The great Brit remains charming and humorous as he delivered songs from a canon that is unparalleled in terms of depth and quality. Who else has such range, brilliance and the ability to strike such a chord? McCartney finally played Spokane a mere 58 years after changing the world by performing on “The Ed Sullivan Show.”

The Beatles changed the world and McCartney changed Spokane. Fellow icon Bob Dylan will kick off his tour at Spokane Arena on May 28. Other significant recording artists will follow. And hopefully McCartney will return to Spokane sooner than later after giving us all fortunate enough to experience his 2 hour and 41 minute concert.

Perhaps McCartney will come back since the enthusiasm from the crowd, particularly during the encore, was so passionate and loud.

McCartney and Spokane impressed during a historic night.

“Maybe we’ll get back in the same room,” McCartney said.

Next up for Sir Paul: Two nights at Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle on Monday and Tuesday.