Sacramento Bee critic Marcus Crowder compiles his favorite moments from Paul McCartney’s Golden 1 concert on Tuesday. McCartney is scheduled to perform a second show at Golden 1 on Wednesday.
Best Beatles song of the night: McCartney’s tribute to George Harrison.
Harrison’s famous composition “Something” began with McCartney solo on ukulele reminiscing how he and George used always mess around with the small stringed instruments. Midway through the song, the tune morphed into a more muscular version similar to the Beatles’ recording, one that included an electric guitar solo.
Best song of the night: “Maybe I’m Amazed.”
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At Golden 1, McCartney dedicated the song to his late wife Linda Eastman. It’s from his first solo album, and it has been always been one his best because while it’s very direct – like all of his love songs – it becomes soulful not sappy in its performance.
Best non-Beatles story of the night: A yarn about Jimi Hendrix’s guitar.
Following the Beatles song “I’ve Got A Feeling,” McCartney’s band launched into an instrumental jam based on the Hendrix tune “Foxy Lady.” After that tune, McCartney told the crowd it was his tribute to Jimi, “a beautiful man” who famously covered the Beatles “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” in his London club debut just days after it had been released. McCartney said at that performance, Hendrix ended with batch of trademark feedback from an out-of-tune guitar. Looking into into the audience, Hendrix spied Eric Clapton (everybody was there, McCartney said) and asked Clapton if he’d tune the guitar. Clapton just shook head and laughed: “Tune it yourself,” McCartney remembered him saying.
Best special effect: A floating “Blackbird.”
As McCartney was handed an acoustic guitar, he stepped out beyond the front of the stage and onto a small riser that mechanically elevated as he played Beatles’ song “Blackbird” and a bank of lights activated on the column beneath him.
Best Beatles story: Paul nervous about “Love.”
After playing “Love Me Do,” McCartney told the audience this tale: While rehearsing the song, producer George Martin asked him to sing the lines John Lennon was singing so Lennon could play the signature harmonica lines of the tune. McCartney said he was really quite nervous to do it, and still hears the trepidation in voice whenever he listens to the recording of the song. He then credited Martin for signing and recording the band.
Biggest surprise of the night: How rocking Wings songs truly are.
“Letting Go,” “Let Me Roll It,” “Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five” all feature chunky guitar riffs or a grabbing piano vamp. “Band On the Run” is a suite of memorable hooks, and so is the anthemic “Live And Let Die.”
Most unusual props: The yards of flying fabric.
Before the encore set started, band members came out carrying flags including a Union Jack, the Stars and Stripe, a California state flag and a rainbow coalition flag. They marched them back and forth across the stage. Flags? Really?
Best pyrotechnics: Exploding flash pots punctuating “Live And Let Die.”
They refused to let you forget how pleasingly bombastic the song actually is. The fiery explosions punched up the song’s already booming chords.