WRITTEN BY MICHAEL CHRISTOPHER
Not to be Debbie Downer here, but music fans need a bit of a reality check: You absolutely must see Paul McCartney when he comes to the Wells Fargo Center June 21, because there isn’t much time left to do so.
It’s not like Macca is on his deathbed — thankfully nowhere close — but a scant three days before the WFC gig, the ex-Beatle will turn 73. How much longer can he do those indefatigable three-hour-plus sets? No matter how many times fellow Brit Mick Jagger croons it, time is not on the Mop Top’s side.
Speaking from experience, and having seen Sir Paul at every opportunity since his inaugural solo tour in 1990, when just a wee lad with nary a glint of becoming your favorite music columnist in my eye, I can testify that he has not been more on top of his game than in recent years. From the Coachella Festival to Fenway Park in Boston, dude has hit a groove that musicians one-third his age only dream about.
But he’s not the Terminator. And if you are ho-hum on attending the Father’s Day gig, or maybe ambivalent about attending the Firefly Festival a few days prior in which he will be headlining on Friday night, it’s time to change that train of thought. This might not be “The End,” but is it worth risking it? No chance.
Last year, McCartney’s universally acclaimed “Out There” tour played 32 shows in 30 cities throughout South America, Central America and North America. Just this week, he confirmed June 23 at the John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville, Va., and June 25 at the Colonial Life Arena in Columbia, S.C., as the newest installments of the 2015 “Out There” tour.
And not only is he headlining the Firefly Music Festival June 19 in Dover, Del., he’s hooking up Chicago as well by taking the top-billed spot at Lollapalooza July 31. As always, the shows will feature music from the most beloved catalog in popular music, spanning McCartney’s entire career — as a solo artist, as a member of Wings and of course as a Beatle. The setlist also includes material from Paul’s most recent studio album, “NEW,” the 2013 release that is undoubtedly one of his most solid solo efforts.
The McCartney live experience is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: In just three hours, some of the greatest moments from the last 50 years of music are relived, music which for many has shaped the very soundtrack of people’s lives.
McCartney and his band have performed in a staggeringly impressive range of venues and locations, including outside the Coliseum in Rome, in Moscow’s Red Square, Buckingham Palace, at the White House, a free show in Mexico to more than 400,000 people, played the last show at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park, where The Beatles played their final concert, and even broadcast live into space.
Featuring Paul’s band of the last decade-plus — Paul “Wix” Wickens on keyboards, Brian Ray on bass, Rusty Anderson on guitar and Abe Laboriel Jr. on drums — the show never disappoints.
The tour also uses state-of-the-art technology and production to ensure the entire audience has the best possible experience. With massive screens, lasers, fireworks and unique video content, a Paul McCartney show is so much more than just an ordinary concert. His shows attract a multi-generational audience from different backgrounds all brought together by his music.
This year has already shown that he isn’t slowing down one bit. He appeared on the 57th annual Grammy Awards with Rihanna and Kanye West, performing their hit collaboration “FourFiveSeconds,” treated New York City to an intimate Valentine’s Day concert the night before appearing on the “Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special,” and more recently inducted Ringo Starr into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
With a sold-out tour of Japan and South Korea under way and the U.S., U.K. and Europe festival and arena engagements on the horizon, “Out There 2015” is sure to be another amazing chapter for a living legend who continues to make history with his every move.
But how much longer? Let’s hope it’s many, many years, but now is not the time for regrets. Run — don’t walk — to the computer and snag some tickets for June. You won’t be disappointed.
To contact music columnist Michael Christopher, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Also check out his blog at our sister publication www.delcotimes.com.