Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Clear Night 64° Clear
A&E >  Entertainment

Sir Paul amazed: McCartney makes his Spokane debut in a historic night at Spokane Arena

UPDATED: Mon., May 2, 2022

Toward the end of Sir Paul McCartney’s captivating, career-spanning concert Thursday evening at Spokane Arena, it was evident why the Beatles legend has dubbed the jaunt the Got Back tour.

“We’ve got something a bit special for you here,” McCartney said to the capacity crowd as his encore was about to commence. The image of his late partner in perpetuity, John Lennon, aptly larger than life, appeared on the screen behind McCartney.

Thanks to Oscar-winning director Peter Jackson, who crafted the fascinating 2021 documentary “The Beatles: Get Back,” which has fanned the flames of Beatlemania yet again, Lennon and McCartney reunited virtually for “I’ve Got a Feeling.”

“We can extract John’s voice, and he can sing with you,” McCartney said while detailing a text from Jackson. “I said, ‘Oh, yeah!’ ” It was a cute twist, not over the top like Natalie Cole and her legendary father Nat King Cole’s duet from beyond the grave.

Jackson’s footage gave new life to a high-octane version of “Get Back,” which was bolstered by moving scenes from more than a half-century ago in which McCartney and Lennon danced together and jammed with smiles on their faces with George Harrison and Ringo Starr.

McCartney, 79, looks and sounds terrific for a bloke on the edge of octogenarian status (he turns 80 on June 18). The charismatic vegan clad in a blue blazer and blue jeans is certainly fit. His voice, which has been belting out tunes for more than six decades, is in good shape at the very start of a tour.

There’s always a few new wrinkles during McCartney shows, and there were quite a few for those fortunate enough to score Got Back tickets.

After kicking off the 2-hour, 41-minute marathon with the soaring “Can’t Buy Me Love,” McCartney delighted the crowd with some seldom heard tunes. The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, two times over, dusted off “Getting Better,” which was last performed in 2005.

“Here’s an old one,” McCartney said as he and his crack band played the lovely “You Never Give Me Your Money,” the opener of the Abbey Road suite, which was rendered for the first time in nearly 20 years.

McCartney pleased diehards with the out-of-left-field “She Came in Through the Bathroom Window.”

The highlights were relentless. There was the rhythmic “Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five,” the gorgeous “Maybe I’m Amazed” and the urgent “Band on the Run.” There were incendiary versions of “Birthday” and “Helter Skelter.”

McCartney should be lauded for covering all the bases while never taking more than a two-minute break. The most prolific of the Fab Four reminisced about the early days of Beatlemania. “C’mon, girls, give me a Beatles scream.” They happily complied.

McCartney played the pre-Beatles, Quarryman-era deep cut “In Spite of All the Danger” and the 2007 single “Dance Tonight,” which was dedicated to his wife, Nancy. McCartney took the show up a notch by dialing it down with “Blackbird” atop a raised video set.

Considering Black Lives Matter, “Blackbird” is more poignant than ever. “How many people tried to learn ‘Blackbird,’ and you all got it wrong?” McCartney cracked. “How do kids know it?”

McCartney pulled heartstrings as he followed by strumming “Here Today,” which he penned after his partner in perpetuity, Lennon, who died 42 years ago. “Back in the USSR,” a live staple, was cut, which is hardly surprising.

McCartney returned to the stage just before delivering his encore waving a Ukrainian flag. The American flag, a Union Jack and the Washington state flag were on display, as well.

“Wow, is all I can say,” McCartney said. You’ve been a fantastic audience for our opening night. Maybe we’ll get back in the same room.” It was evident that the show was well worth the effort to score the much-sought-after tickets.

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

The great Brit impressed throughout the night by delivering 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 with the masses?

No one can make that claim but McCartney, and the lionized bard 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 latest tour leg at First Interstate Center for the Arts on May 28. Other significant recording artists will follow. And hopefully McCartney will return to Spokane sooner than later after giving locals and those who traveled from around the world an evening we’ll never forget.

Perhaps McCartney will come back since the enthusiasm from the crowd, particularly during the encore, was as passionate and loud as any McCartney show I ever experienced.

It’s got to be refreshing to perform in front of a raucous crowd bereft of the jaded. McCartney and Spokane impressed during a historic night.

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

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe to the Spokane7 email newsletter

Get the day’s top entertainment headlines delivered to your inbox every morning.